Wednesday, January 7, 2009 9:59 AM CST
WHITE BEAR LAKE — When her friends, family and pro-wrestling fans learn she’s jumping into White Bear Lake, the response is often “you must have landed on your head a few too many times,” said Nora Greenwald, aka Molly Holly.
The former pro-wrestler will be among the hundreds of brave souls taking the White Bear Lake Polar Bear Plunge Jan. 31.
Now in its 12th year, the event is a fundraiser for Special Olympics Minnesota. In exchange for their bone-chilling dip into the lake, participants collect pledges. On White Bear Lake last year, 433 plungers raised more than $84,000 for Special Olympics.
Each plunger must raise a minimum of $75. Greenwald, a White Bear Lake resident, hopes to raise at least $1,000. Along with support from friends and family, Greenwald is posting requests on wrestling Websites in hopes her fans also will chip in.
Greenwald was a two-time World Wrestling Entertainment women’s champion before retiring from the ring in 2005. She now works at Minnesota Teen Challenge, a faith-based drug treatment program.
“I always thought ‘I’ll never do that, that’s crazy,’” she said of the plunge, “ … then God put it on my heart.”
She had the privilege of meeting many Special Olympians during her wrestling days, she said.
“I love their enthusiasm and positive spirit,” Greenwald said. “They’ve always been a real inspiration to me.”
She was unsuccessful in convincing anyone to join her, so she’ll take the icy dip alone, dressed in a Super Girl costume.
Greenwald is most worried not about the plunge itself, but getting out of the water and having to brave the brisk winds in soggy attire. But it will be well worth it, she said, because of the “fun atmosphere while supporting a great cause in a unique way.”
The Polar Bear Plunge is noon Saturday, Jan. 31 at the White Bear Lake VFW, Post 1782, 4496 Lake Ave. S. Parking is at Eagle Brook Church, 2401 Buffalo St. A shuttle bus will take plungers and supporters to the VFW.
Participants can plunge on their own or in groups. A $75 minimum pledge is required. Costumes are welcome.
“It will be an experience of a lifetime,” she said.