Daybreak delivered a great start to the workweek on Monday, as Special Olympics Alaska took to the couch to discuss inclusiveness and striving for personal bests.

Anchorage's Ayesha Abdul-Jillil and Fairbanks' Demiko Colbert will be giving it everything they have, as they get set to represent Alaska and the United States at the upcoming 2019 Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi. Abdul-Jillil called it a huge honor to represent her nation when the announcement was made in late October.

"I'm very excited," Abdul-Jillil told Daybreak's John Thompson. "I'm looking forward to traveling a long ways from Alaska with my teammates."

She'll be taking part in the 100-meter, 4x100 meter relay, and the shot put. The World Games event is expected to be the largest of its kind -- with 7,500 athletes from 176 countries aiming to be their best in 24 Olympic-type sports.

Abdul-Jillil added, "I'm going to go down there to Abu Dhabi and try to bring home another gold."

She hopes to continue the streak of success that started at the Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle this past summer.

"I crushed it like ice down there in Seattle," said Abdul-Jillil in reference to winning gold, silver and bronze while competing against the best in the nation.


With the World Games coming in 2019, Special Olympics Alaska is hyper-focused on next month's Polar Plunge.

Everyone will be "Freezin' for a Reason" at Goose Lake on December 15. Special Olympics President Nicolle Egan says fundraising is already in full swing for the event celebrating it's 10-year anniversary, as people jump in the frozen lake to support Special Olympics and the amazing athletes.

"We are going to have a theme this year. Jim Balamaci always wanted to have a beach party," said Egan of the former Special Olympics Alaska president who passed away in February.

"So the theme this year is beach party," Egan said. "You'll see it all over the place. We're just going to have a great time celebrating people with intellectual disabilities, celebrate Alaskans coming together, and celebrate a true Alaskan event."

A group of jumpers takes the Polar Plunge into Anchorage's Goose Lake on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017. (Joe Vigil/KTVA)


For more information about the 10th annual Polar Plunge, click here.