Life-size Rick and Dick Hoyt statue unveiled at Center School

A large crowd gathered outside Center School Monday morning, just before the unveiling of the newest addition to Hopkinton – a life-size, bronze statue of Boston Marathon legends Rick and Dick Hoyt.

AR-304099553.jpg&MaxW=650Allan Jung/for Daily News and Wicked Local

Dick Hoyt pats his son’s bronze outstretched fist during the Dick and Rick Hoyt statue unveiling ceremony in front of the Center School in Hopkinton.

 

A large crowd gathered outside Center School Monday morning, just before the unveiling of the newest addition to Hopkinton – a life-size, bronze statue of Boston Marathon legends Rick and Dick Hoyt.

In a spirit of celebration, hundreds of people filled Ash Street between the common and the elementary school, that stretch of road having been closed for the event. Big band music blared over speakers, and 400 young Center School students lined the sidewalk and lawn. A high school senior sang the National Anthem, and state and U.S. dignitaries spoke to an eager audience.

“The marathon means so much to so many people, but there are two exceptional athletes who have captured the hearts of people around the world,” John Hancock spokeman Jim Gallagher said. John Hancock, the chief sponsor of the Boston Marathon, commissioned the statue and donated it to Hopkinton.

“Dick and Rick Hoyt are, quite simply, an inspiration,” Gallagher added. “We couldn’t think of a better place for this statue than Hopkinton.”

This is the 31st year the Hoyts will participate in the Boston Marathon, which begins Monday, April 15, a stone’s throw from the new statue. Dick Hoyt pushes his son – who has cerebral palsy and is wheelchair-bound – through many athletic events per year, but the Hoyts’ story is more than racing. Early in his son’s life, Dick Hoyt realized his son’s physical paralysis did not affect his mind, and despite a lack of encouragement from doctors and others, worked to find ways to let Rick speak, obtain college degrees, and even author books.

“It’s a very special event for the town,” Hopkinton resident Michelle Hallenbeck said. “Just to honor (the Hoyts). I think it’s phenomenal.”

“It’s just a really humbling experience to be with two great Hopkinton legends,” said high school senior Joshua Perez, after he spoke at the unveiling.

The Hoyts have often voiced feeling a connection to Hopkinton, and have given many presentations to Hopkinton students, including one last week at the middle school.

“Today is a special because Hopkinton is a permanent reminder of everything Dad and I stand for,” Rick Hoyt told a hushed audience, through a computerized voice at Monday’s unveiling. Referring to the slogan printed on the plaque at the foot of the new statue, he continued, “Hopefully, we have demonstrated to the world, that, no matter what, ‘Yes, you can.'”

John Hancock officials will not disclose the price of the statue, sculpted by Texan artist Mike Tabor.

“People will ask me, ‘what was your inspiration?’ Well, the Hoyts,” chuckled Tabor Monday. “If you can’t be inspired by them, well …”

The statue wasn’t supposed to be placed until next year, Tabor added, but he pushed forward his own deadline to get the art ready sooner.