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Spielman Shows Speed at Polar Plunge for Special Olympics

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Rick Spielman showed his support for Special Olympics Minnesota on Saturday afternoon.

The Vikings General Manager also flashed some quickness, too.

Participating in the 2016 Polar Bear Plunge at Riley Lake Park, Spielman splashed into the water and kept his feet moving to be in and out of the 32-degree water in roughly 20 seconds.

"I thought I set a world record in getting in and getting around that buoy and getting out," Spielman said. "There was no doubt I was going to be the first one out."

Although Spielman plunged for Special Olympics Minnesota for the second straight year, the 2016 version was a bit different.

Because of the recent warm weather, event organizers and law enforcement officials deemed it unsafe to partake in the traditional plunge of jumping off a sheet of ice into a lake.

Instead, participants waded into the water roughly 25 feet out to an orange buoy before heading back to shore.

Spielman, who was joined by Timberwolves President Chris Wright, Twins President Dave St. Peter, Wild Chief Operating Officer Matt Majka and Fox Sports North Senior Vice President/GM Mike Dimond, said the different style was a bit of a challenge.

"The weather coming out was a lot nicer than last year," Spielman said. "I think this is a little more challenging because you have to go in a little deeper and then you've got to go around the buoy and come back out."

Spielman still managed to impress everyone with his speed.

"Rick has been a great plunger the last few years," said Special Olympics Minnesota President David Dorn. "He ran right in … he was in game-time form, getting in and out faster than anybody else."

The event was one of 20 total plunges throughout the state from late January to mid-March.

Spielman, who has a daughter that participates in adaptive sports, said this is one of his favorite events of the year – even if the water is a little chilly.

"To raise funds for the Specials Olympics, you see the rewards of these kids out there," Spielman said. "For them to get an opportunity to go out there and compete at a high level, and to experience the same type of experiences that elite athletes experience, is something that I think is a great cause."

"I have a daughter, as you know, that is a Special Olympics athlete," Spielman added. "That motivates me a little bit as well."

Dorn said the Polar Plunge wouldn't nearly be as successful without the support of Spielman and executives of the four major Minnesota sports franchises.

"I can't tell you how much that means to us as an organization," Dorn said. "We're a sports organization at our core.

"Our athletes are all huge Vikings, Twins, Wild and Timberwolves fans," he added. "I think we're the only state where [leaders]s of all the sports teams get together and support our athletes."

Dorn said the Eden Prairie plunge had roughly 800 plungers and was expected to raise more than $200,000 through pledges and donations.

Moments after drying off from his foray into the icy waters, Spielman said he was already looking forward to next year's adventure.

"Hopefully it will be like this kind of weather," Spielman said. "I'm going to go recover, it'll take me a full year to recover and I'll be back next year, for sure."

Click here for more information about Special Olympics Minnesota.

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