Team Hoyt is an inspirational story of a father and son who compete together in athletic events across the country. In fact, together they have competed in more than 1,000 marathons, duathlons, triathlons, bike races and other running races across the country. The subject of many media stories, Rick and Dick Hoyt have become popular motivational speakers and started The Hoyt Foundation, a non-profit that aspires to build the individual character, self-confidence and self-esteem of America’s disabled young people through inclusion in all facets of daily life; including in family and community activities, especially sports, at home, in schools and in the workplace.
The story began when Rick Hoyt was born with cerebral palsy. Parents Dick and Judy were advised to institutionalize him because there was no chance of him living a “normal life”. Dick and Judy quickly learned that Rick was very astute even though he could not speak or walk. They saw beyond his limitations and integrated him into the community. They took him on activities like swimming and sledding, and taught him the alphabet along with basic words, proving he could learn like anyone else. Eventually, the Hoyts found a way to help Rick communicate for himself. With the help of a specialized interactive commuter, Rick learned his first words, “Go Bruins!”
From the beginning it was clear that Rick loved sports. When he was 15 he told his Dad he wanted to complete a five mile run for a local charity. Despite a heart condition, Dick agreed to push Rick in his wheelchair and they came in second to last place. Rick fell in love with running and told Dick Hoyt that during a race, it felt as though he was not even in a wheelchair.
Since then, Team Hoyt has competed in 1077 events, including six Ironman Triathlons and a bike ride across the United States. If you’re curious about how they do it, on the swimming legs Dick will pull Rick in a boat with a bungee cord attached to a vest around his waist. For biking, Rick rides a special two-seater bicycle. While Running, Dick pushes Rick in a special racing wheelchair.
Team Hoyt’s story has been told in Rick Hoyt’s books including Devoted – The Story of a Father’s Love for his Son and One Letter at a Time. Their inspirational mission statement is “Yes You Can”. If Team Hoyt can, perhaps we can too.
For more information on Rick, Dick and Team Hoyt visit their website at teamhoyt.com.