Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Polar Bear Swimming Competition at Haeundae Beach

The Polar Bear Swimming Competition
Sure, the temperature outside is bone-chilling. But the action in the water is about to heat up.
The Polar Bear Swimming Competition , which confronts the freezing chill of winter head on, would be held at Haeundae Beach on Jan. 23.

This year’s event, now in its 24th year, would be hosted by the Busan Ilbo and the Haeundae Culture Tourism Organization.

The contest is one of Busan’s main winter sporting events, allowing participants to show off their machismo and mental toughness by jumping into an icy cold winter sea wearing nothing but swimming suits.

The first Polar Bear Swimming Competition was held way back in 1988 and has been held in Busan every year since then. The number of foreign participants has grown steadily as well, with more than 1,000 expected to attend the event next month. Everyone can participate, including local citizens, foreigners and tourists.

This year’s contest would feature a handful of side events, including a sand festival, costume play, quiz, face-painting booths and other activities.

Participants start the day at 9 and would be received a free souvenir, followed by aerobics to warm up their bodies. The contest starts at 11:41 a.m., when it’s time to jump into the freezing water. There would also be a fin swimming contest at noon. After swimming you could use the hot spring water and receive hot food and drinks to warm up.

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