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Tributes paid to triathlon and IRONMAN legend Rick Hoyt

Death announced of Rick Hoyt, who "inspired millions of people with disabilities to believe in themselves and accomplish extraordinary things".

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The triathlon world has lost a legend of the sport with the news that Rick Hoyt has passed away, aged 61.

Rick’s family announced this week that Hoyt died of complications with his respiratory system, with a statement on the Hoyt Foundation Facebook page reading: “It is with profound sadness that the Hoyt Family announce the passing of our beloved brother and uncle, Rick Hoyt

“As so many knew, Rick along with our father, Dick, were icons in the road race and triathlon worlds for over 40 years and inspired millions of people with disabilities to believe in themselves, set goals and accomplish extraordinary things.

“Rick was also a pioneer in education. His mother Judy Hoyt changed the laws allowing her son to be educated alongside his non-disabled peers. His family is heartbroken and requests time to grieve and will share details as they become available.”

IRONMAN tribute to ‘Team Hoyt’

Rick and his father Dick, who died in 2021, were globally known as ‘Team Hoyt’ and they participated in hundreds of triathlon events as well as many more road running races.

Rick had cerebral palsy, which left him a quadriplegic, but said he felt like his “disability disappears” when his father pushed his wheelchair. The pair broke down many barriers together in terms of inclusion and sport for all.

In 1989 they became the first wheelchair team to race the IRONMAN World Championship, the sport’s most celebrated long-distance event.

[Photo credit on feature image to this article: IRONMAN]

IRONMAN reacted to the sad news on their social media channels, with a statement which read: “We are saddened to hear one of our legends and friends, Rick Hoyt, has passed away. It is a loss for the entire triathlon and running community, but we are comforted by knowing Team Hoyt is together once again.

“Despite the incredible challenges that came with having cerebral palsy, Rick made up his mind about what was possible and how he could live a more fulfilled life, and in doing so, opened the doors for so many to follow. We are all better for having Rick a part of our lives.

“We are forever grateful for their sharing Rick and Dick with us.”

They finished the statement with a quote, Team Hoyt having been inducted into the Ironman Hall of Fame in 2008: “I may be disabled but I live a very fulfilling life. And if someone takes the time to get to know me, they will realize that I am no different than anyone else.” – IRONMAN Hall of Famer, Rick Hoyt .”

‘Iconic figures’

Fellow Hall of Famer Bob Babbitt, whose Challenged Athletes Foundation has done so much to transform lives, paid his own tribute by saying: Rest in Peace to the incredible Rick Hoyt.

“Dick and his son Rick are iconic figures, racing together, with dad pushing Rick in his chair, through some of the most brutal endurance events around.

“Yet while there may be a statue of them in Hopkinton now, it wasn’t always so easy for Dick and Rick to be accepted as athletes. But Dick and Rick are not two ordinary people, and the lives they have changed are unmeasurable!”

‘Team Hoyt’ also became a fixture at the Boston Marathon, completing the race an astonishing 32 times.

Jonathan Turner
Written by
Jonathan Turner
Jonathan Turner is News Director for both TRI247 and RUN247, and is accustomed to big-name interviews, breaking news stories and providing unrivalled coverage for endurance sports.  

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