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The 2013 ESPYS to Honor Team Hoyt with Jimmy V Perseverance Award

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Father and son running team from Massachusetts exemplify determination

Dick and Rick Hoyt, a father and son team who have been participating in races together for more than 30 years, will be presented the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at The 2013 ESPYS presented by Capital One on July 17. Rick, now 51, was born with cerebral palsy and though unable to use his hands or legs he and his 73-year-old father have run in more than 1,000 endurance events—including triathlons and marathons—with Dick pushing his son in a custom-made running chair.

Team Hoyt began running together in 1977, finishing a challenging five mile benefit run in second-to-last place. After that first race Rick told his father, “When I’m running, I feel like I’m not handicapped.”  That statement has fueled Dick, a retired Air National Guard lieutenant colonel, to run hundreds of races with his son over the past three decades.

This spring, Team Hoyt was honored with a bronze statue in Hopkinton, Mass., and  they also announced that next April will be the last time they run the Boston Marathon - which will be their 32nd time at the starting line of this world famous event. This past event was to be their last marathon but Dick and Rick were one mile away from finishing when tragedy struck so they have vowed to run again next year, further demonstrating their determination in the face of adversity.

“Throughout their lives, Dick and Rick Hoyt have exemplified dedication and persistence, living out Jim Valvano’s famous words about perseverance,” said Maura Mandt, executive producer of The ESPYS. “The Hoyts’ serve as a symbol of their hometown as they consistently display strength and resilience – just like the city of Boston did in the aftermath of the marathon tragedy.  Their numerous accomplishments have served as a true inspiration to many people and we’re proud to honor them with the Jimmy V Perseverance Award.”

“Rick and I are grateful to be receiving this award, and learning that Jimmy Valvano’s motto was “Don’t Give Up…Don’t Ever Give Up” is amazing as we have always said that there is no such word as “can’t” in the Hoyt vocabulary,” said Dick Hoyt.  “Our motto is “Yes You Can” and we strive to always persevere even when others tell you that it cannot be done.  We want to thank The V Foundation and the ESPYS for honoring us with this award.”

The Jimmy V Perseverance Award was named after, and inspired by, the late Jimmy Valvano who became the award’s raison d’être at the 1993 ESPYS. While battling cancer, Valvano gave an emotional acceptance speech that included his famous words “Don’t Give Up . . . Don’t Ever Give Up!”®. Valvano passed away less than two months later, but his words were never forgotten.

The Jimmy V Award is given to a deserving member of the sporting world who has overcome great obstacles through perseverance and determination. In 2007, Women’s College basketball coach Kay Yow became the very first recipient of the Jimmy V award. Past recipients include Eric LeGrand, Anthony Robles and George Karl.

The 2013 ESPYS, hosted by Jon Hamm, will be televised live Wednesday, July 17, at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN from Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles. 

The ESPYS

The ESPYS gather top celebrities from sports and entertainment to commemorate the past year in sports by recognizing major sports achievements, reliving unforgettable moments and saluting the leading performers and performances. The 2013 ESPYS marks the shows 21st telecast and will recognize both sport-specific achievements, such as “Best MLB Player” and “Best WNBA Player,” and best-in-sport winners, such as “Best Team” or “Best Female Athlete” that pit nominees from different sports against each other.  The ESPYS honor ESPN’s commitment to The V Foundation for Cancer Research, a partnership launched with the late Jim Valvano at the inaugural ESPYS in 1993. 

This year, sports fans will determine the winners in all ESPYS categories, except the Arthur Ashe Courage Award and other special awards. Fans can vote before and during the live show as follows: 

-       June 28th through July 17th at 9 p.m. ET: Voting will be open for all categories online at ESPN.com/ESPYS 

-       During the show on July 17th (starting at 9 p.m. ET): Voting for Best Team will be open only on Twitter. Fans can vote during the show using hashtag #ESPYSBestTeam and the team name. 

For additional ESPYS news and information, please follow the official ESPYS Twitter handle: @ESPYS.

Tickets to The 2013 ESPYS are available for public purchase at AXS.com.