Team Hoyt is an inspirational story of a father, Dick Hoyt and a son, Rick, who compete together in triathlons, marathons, half marathons, across the country in an effort to help those whom are physically or mentally disabled. If you haven’t heard of these two yet, well then you’re in for a truly amazing story of the love between father and son. It’s a story of love, family, dedication, technology enablement and completely captures what it means to be a good father.
Rick Hoyt was born in 1962 to parents, Dick and Judy Hoyt. At time of birth, Rick’s umbilical cord was wrapped tightly around his neck cutting off all oxygen to his brain thus preventing his brain to communicating with his muscles. As a result, Rick was diagnosed as a spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy. He would never walk, talk without assistance ever again. In fact, doctors recommended he be institutionalized. However, Dick and Judy thought otherwise. They fought to integrate him into the public school system, forcing school administrators to see beyond the physical limitations. They would drive Rick to Children’s Hospital in Boston every week where they finally met a doctor who encouraged them to treat Rick like any other child. Rick’s mother, Judy would spend countless hours everyday teaching him the alphabet by using posted notes all over the house. Eventually, Rick learned the alphabet.
In 1972, and with only $5,000, a group of engineers from Tufts University built an interactive computer which combined both the use of a cursor to highlight every letter in the alphabet with a sensor attached to his wheelchair. When the letter Rick wanted was highlighted, he would select it by a simple tap of his head against the sensor attached to his wheelchair. It was these group of engineers and a love for technology that allowed Rick to speak his first words, “Go Bruins!” Spoken like a true Bostonian, Rick loved his sports!
In the spring of 1977, Rick told his father he wanted to participate in a benefit run for a lacrosse player who had been paralyzed in an accident. Over 40 years old and having never run further than a mile in his life, Dick Hoyt agreed and later pushed his son in a wheelchair completing the 5 mile benefit. It was after this race where Rick told his father; “Dad, when I’m running, it feels like i’m not handicapped.”
It was these words that would later create “Team Hoyt,” a partnership that would lead to over 1,000 races completed including 247 triathlons, 7 half marathons, 22 Duathlons, 70 marathons (30 Boston marathons), and a bond of love that would never be unbroken.
In a triathalon, Dick will pull Rick in a boat using a bungee cord attached to a vest around his waist and to the front of the boat for the swimming obstacle. For the running stage, Dick would push Rick in a special wheelchair and for the biking stage Dick would ride a special two-seat bicycle.
Today, team Hoyt is an inspiration for all by providing hope by spreading their universal message, “Yes You Can!”
Team Hoyt Awards Include:
• Ironman Triathlon Hall of Fame / Kona, Hawaii
• B.A.A. Patriot’s Award / Boston, MA
• FREDDIE Award (Public Service) / International Health & Medical Media Awards
• Spirit of Independence Award / PetroSun Independence Bowl
• Living Legends Sports Award / Sports Museum of New England
• Lifetime Achievement Award / Western New England College
• Kodak Champions / Parade Magazine
• George Washington Honor Medal / Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge
• Certificate of Achievement / President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports
• The Crews Choise Award / Ironman Canada
• Champion Sports Award / Lombardi Foundation, Washington, D.C.
• Father and Son of the Year Award / Holland, MA
• EL Club Triathlon Special Award / Santa Anna, El Salvador
• Reach for the Star Image Award / Morgan Memorial Goodwill Indusdries
• World Triathlon Strength and Courage Award / Montreal Mondial
• Parenting Award / Army National Guard of MA.
• Exemplary Father Award / Office of the Mayor, Dayton OH
• Sheriffs Special Award / Middlesex County, MA
• Certificate of Excellence: Bud Light Ironman / Kona, HI
• Special Achievement Award / Falmouth Annual Road Race
• Jaycess Fitness Leader Award / Long Beach, CA
• Humanitarian Service Award / Commonwealth of Massachusetts
• Certificate of Completion: Trek Across America / Governor Weld, Boston, MA
• Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree / Western New England College
• Sports Personality Award / Boston Press Photographers Association
• Superlative Performance for Courage Arete
• Boston Proclamation: Dick & Rick Hoyt Day / Mayor Flynn, Boston, MA
• True Ironman Award / Waltham Police Dept., Waltham, MA
• Great Seal of the Commonwealth / Governor Dukakis, Massachusetts
• Recognition Proclamation / Lambertville, NJ Office of the Mayor, Lambertville, NJ