BUSAN, South Korea — The Polar Bear Swimming Competition takes place every January at Haeundae Beach. Next year, it is scheduled on January 20. By attracting more participants compared to 2012 and preparing various programs, it will become one of Busan’s unique winter sports.
The Polar Bear Swimming Competition starts with participants warming up at Haeundae Beach. After the warm-up exercise is done, the participants will jump into the icy cold water and swim some 80 meters (262 feet) before coming back on shore. The first to return is the winner.
Other events include Challenge Polar Bear, Survival Polar Bear Dream Team and Harmony Tug-of-war to boost up the festive mood. There are also games such as standing on ice the longest, eating icicles, obstacle relay race and more to beat the cold weather. The competition first started to celebrate the 1988 Seoul Olympics and was held for 25 times and this year some 2,000 participated. Including some 200 foreigners, people from various cities in Korea gathered in Busan and jumped in the water for this unique experience. The Polar Bear Swimming Competition was chosen as one of the unique winter sports in the world by BBC in 2010.
Registration for 2013 competition started in mid-December on the Polar Bear Swimming Competition Web site (http://bear.busan.com). (Tel. 051-461-4437)
Source: Busan City News