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Polar Plunge to benefit Northwest Tennessee Special Olympics

TAKING THE PLUNGE – Athlete of the Year Garrett Dinning of Martin takes the annual plunge to benefit Special Olympics in Northwest Tennessee each year. Dinning is pictured at the 2022 event at Aloha Pools and Spas.

SPECIAL ATHLETES – Thanks to fundraising events like the annual Polar Plunge, Martin athletes Luke Ivy and Garrett Dinning have an opportunity to participate in the Olympics each year. Dinning earned a spot on Team Tennessee and spent time in Orlando, Florida, at the USA games last summer.

By Sabrina Bates

MVP Regional News Editor


The 12th annual Polar Plunge is an event hosted by Special Olympics Upper West Tennessee to benefit more than 300 athletes in Lake, Obion, Weakley, Henry and Carroll counties. Dubbed as “freezin’ for a reason,” this annual event helps raise money and awareness for Special Olympians across Northwest Tennessee. Plungers jump into the historically-cold waters of an in-ground swimming pool, courtesy of main-event sponsor, Aloha Pools and Spas in Union City.

This year’s event is set to be held on Saturday, February 11.

Participants can register for the in-person event at Aloha Pools and Spas in Union City, better yet, they can join a group of friends to form a plunge team. Each participant is asked to raise a minimum of $50 to receive the official 2023 Polar Plunge T-shirt and bragging rights for being the coolest person in Northwest Tennessee. The more money raised means more prizes and incentives. Those wanting to take the plunge can go to, click Union City, to register. Registration begins at 11 a.m. and the plunge starts at noon. There is a $10 registration fee, which is added to the total funds raised for each plunger.

Costumes are encouraged and prizes will be awarded to plungers based on their costumes and total funds raised for the event. Prizes include insulated totes, long-sleeved T-shirts, wireless chargers and Yeti coolers. Event organizers are still seeking prize sponsors. Anyone interested in donating awards for participants can visit

Can’t make it to the plunge? You can still make a financial donation at Click Union City and then donate. This year’s goal is $20,000. As of Jan. 26, $1,300 has been raised for the event.

The mission of Special Olympics of Upper West Tennessee is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. The experience gives participants continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community. Full participation is granted to every athlete regardless of his or her economic circumstances. The ultimate goal of Special Olympics is to help persons with intellectual disabilities participate as productive and respected members of society at large by offering them a fair opportunity to develop and demonstrate their skills and talents through sports training and competition.

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