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Polar Plunges raised $2.85 million

Polar Plunge events this year raised a record $2.85 million for Minnesota Special Olympics.

More than 14,000 people participated in 17 events and raised money by accepting the challenge to jump into ice cold lakes.

An event on Green Lake in Spicer raised $80,004.

The money was raised at 16 events in Minnesota and one at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait. The events are coordinated by law enforcement agencies to support Minnesota athletes. The average plunger raised about $200.

Polar Bear Plunge fundraisers help Special Olympics Minnesota offer year-round sports training and competition to more than 7,200 children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

The Plunge celebrated several firsts this year, including participation by Minnesota troops stationed overseas. The first plunges were held in Anoka County and at Mille Lacs. It was also the first time Pee-Wee Plungers were able to participate by jumping into an icy cold pool.

The mild winter also made it the first time a Plunge event was held in 60-degree weather.

In 2011, the Plunge events included more than 11,000 people and raised more than $2.2 million.