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Book Review: One Letter At A Time

  • By Bethany Mavis
  • Published Jul 11, 2013
  • Updated Jul 16, 2013 at 6:30 PM UTC

For more than three decades, Team Hoyt, the father-son racing duo made up of Dick and Rick Hoyt, has inspired countless people around the globe as they’ve competed in more than 1,000 races, including six Ironmans and 30 Boston Marathons. Now Rick, who was born a nonverbal, spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy, recounts his story in One Letter at a Time (Mascot), the title referring to his tedious yet only means to communicate.

Through chapters written by Rick as well as family members and friends who have been positively impacted by his life, the book is a testament to Rick’s never-give-up attitude and indomitable spirit despite his physical limitations.

Rick lives his life by the motto, “Yes, you can,” and he jokes that he’s the “heart and soul” of the team, while his dad is the legs and arms. “Team Hoyt wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for Rick,” Dick writes. “He is the athlete. … It is his competitive spirit that gives me my strength and keeps me going.”

With the help of his family, Rick has broken down barriers and achieved incredible feats in his 51 years—he went to public school, he became the first nonverbal graduate of Boston University, he and his father became the Ironman Hall of Fame’s 26th and 27th inductees (respectively, “because, as you know, I always finish just ahead of my dad,” Rick writes). The book reveals the difficulties and joys of his childhood, his unconventional road to becoming an athlete, his unwavering sense of humor and how, through dedication and perseverance, no dream is out of reach.

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Bethany Mavis

Bethany Mavis

Bethany Mavis is the associate editor for Triathlete and Inside Triathlon magazines. She received her B.A. in journalism from Point Loma Nazarene University and is a multiple half-marathon finisher.

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