‘Taking the Plunge’ for charity

Mike Dimond, the senior vice president and general manager of FOX Sports North (pictured diving), plans to take part in each of this season's Polar Bear Plunges, which benefit Special Olympics Minnesota.

MINNEAPOLIS — The senior vice president and general manager of FOX Sports North could easily be deemed out of his mind.

His name is Mike Dimond. And, unlike most annual Polar Bear Plunge participants, one dunk into an icy-cold body of water in the name of charity isn’t enough for him.

Neither are two. Or nine. Or 23.

Dimond is currently in the midst of an unprecedented tour from frozen Minnesota town to frozen Minnesota town. By March 15, he plans to have participated in all 16 of Special Olympics Minnesota’s Polar Bear Plunges throughout the state of Minnesota — plunging a total of 24 times in the process.

"You tend to get more support for something like this," Dimond said, "because you’re crazy to do it in the first place."

"Freezin’ Beyond Reason", he’s dubbed the campaign.

Dimond kicked off his mission Jan. 18 at the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships at Lake Nokomis, as part of FOX Sports North’s Hockey Day Minnesota coverage. This one featured a dunk-tank and isn’t part of Special Olympics’ slate of plunges — call it a preseason exhibition.

He’s taken part in six plunges since then and has three more scheduled this weekend in Prior Lake, St. Cloud and Duluth.

So why shed the shirt and tie for a swimsuit weekly in the dead of one of Minnesota’s worst winters anyone alive remembers?

"I took a position that said ‘if it’s reasonable to do it once to raise money for a good cause, it would be even greater awareness if I did it at each location," Dimond said. Hence the name: "Freezin’ Beyond Reason."

So that’s what he plans to do.

It requires some logistical finagling when there are multiple plunges scheduled on the same day — either plunging the day before, or early before the offical plunge begins.

Through online pledges, Dimond hopes to raise money and awareness for Special Olympics Minnesota — a central FOX Sports Supports partner.

The Polar Bear Plunges already have raked in more than $1.4 million total this winter.

Some plungers traditionally slide into the water till they’re waste- or neck-deep. Not Dimond.

"I take the position it doesn’t count unless your head gets wet," Dimond said, "but that’s just for me; I make it a point to go all the way under."

Twins president Dave St. Peter, Timberwolves president Chris Wright and Wild chief operating officer Matt Majka plan to join Dimond for the Feb. 22 South Metro plunge at Crystal Beach in Burnsville. March 15, he’ll wrap up at Sugar Lake Lodge in Grand Rapids.

"I wanted to find a way to garner the most exposure for Special Olympics, so if there was something I could do in that respect to get more publicity for the cause and generate more fundraising, then that’s what I would do," Dimond said matter-of-factly. "So I committed to do every plunge in the state."

The FOX Sports North staff will join their fearless (or freezin’) leader at the March 1 plunge at Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis.

Talk about a leader who leads by example.

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