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Shelley Osterloh ReportingThousands of Utah athletes gathered in Provo today for one of the largest sporting events in the state. While the competition is fierce, winning is not necessarily the most important thing. We met one Special Olympian who is a champion at heart.
Sixteen-year old Joseph Hasting loves to run.
Joseph Hasting, Special Olympic Competitor: "It just brings so much happiness and it's so fun. It doesn't matter if you mess up or whatever, everybody still cheers for you and is proud of you."
Joseph's family has a lot to cheer about. He is competing in the 2005 Utah Special Olympics.
Jean Hasting: "Something like this doesn't come overnight. He has been practicing every day and sometimes he runs 5-10 miles a day and, I've never been able to catch up to him."
Joseph's mom, who is also his coach, says after completing a race, Joseph often goes back to run with those he passed.
Joseph Hasting: "I push people and they push me. We all have different disabilities, different minds, different likes, different interests. But we all help each other out."
15-hundred athletes participate in the three-day event, competing in soccer, softball, track and field. More than five-thousand volunteers make these games possible. Many college students took time away from class to help out. The BYU football team came out to offer support, from one athlete to another.
Cameron Jensen, BYU Linebacker: "I hope they learn to have fun, just to enjoy it, and how fun it is to compete."
Here it's personal accomplishment that matters most.
Joseph Hasting: "I hope to mostly achieve something in my heart."
For Joseph and the other Olympians, victory comes through courage and determination. Events continue tomorrow. Closing ceremonies are at 4:00 p.m.