SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -

Hundreds of athletes played their hearts out today at the 14th Annual Santa Barbara Special Olympics Basketball Tournament at the UCSB Thunderdome.

Four teams from Santa Barbara were joined by 35 other teams from up and down the coast, including San Luis Obispo, Santa Maria, Lompoc, Conejo Valley, Simi Valley, Ventura, and Santa Clarita.

Players of all ages participated. Awards were handed out to the first, second and third place teams. But, the event is not all about winning.  Special Olympics representative, Michelle Duke said, "They love winning it means everything to them. But, in another sense they love the camaraderie of the event. They love being here with their team and coming here with their coaches.  Athlete Steven Felix of Santa Barbara said, "My strength is to rebound the ball, to make free throws, play hard and have fun."

Special Olympics Santa Barbara County serves over 400 children and adults with intellectual disabilities through year-round sports training and competition opportunities in eleven sports.

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