FOX 5 DC CARES: Special Olympics DC to host Polar Plunge at Nationals Park

Special Olympics DC is hosting a Polar Plunge at Nationals Park next month to raise money for programs to help kids with disabilities.

The Polar Plunge will be the first ever to be held inside the ballpark.

FOX 5's Mike Thomas visited Fort Dupont Ice Arena on Wednesday where over one hundred students with special needs were practicing speed skating and were also getting ready for the Plunge.

"Special Olympics DC is the sole provider of sports programs for people with intellectual disabilities," said CEO Nicole Preston. She said practicing on the ice will be a good way to prepare for the Plunge on February 11.

Preston said several pools will be set up at the park and that warm drinks will be provided to help participants get rid of the chill.

Special Olympian speed skater Cornell Gray was with Preston at the rink an will represent the United States at this year's Special Olympics Winter Games. He says he got into skating to try something new. "It feels good coming to practice every day," Gray told Thomas. "It feels good helping kids."

Three-time Olympic speed skater Nathaniel Mills helps coach Cornell and other kids at Fort Dupont. He says the self-esteem that the children gain by learning to skate is unmatched. "You can see it on their faces when they're out here," he said. He says Cornell's main goal at the Special Olympics will be to beat his own personal best time.

You can join in on the fun at the Freezin' for a Reason with Special Olympics DC at Nationals Park on Saturday, February 11, 2017 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.