Jack Benedick's life flashed before his eyes during a 1969 land-mine explosion that claimed his legs. A soldier on his second tour of duty in Vietnam, he tried to imagine what things his future would hold. Being inducted into the U.S. Ski Hall of Fame 41 years later was not one of them.
Benedick learned to ski at Arapahoe Basin in the 70s as part of the veterans' rehab program at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center, and within a decade was named to the U.S. Adaptive Ski Team. He competed in the Paralympics in 1980 and again in 1984, winning a silver medal, and went on to help bring adaptive skiing under the banner of both the U.S. Ski Team and the International Ski Federation. Benedick served as director of the U.S. program and chairperson of alpine skiing for the International Paralympic Committee, and was on the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association board of directors.
As the Ski Hall's induction notes put it, "As a soldier, skier, athlete, pioneer and leader, Jack Benedick made a difference. As a Paralympic medalist, he showed his athletic ability. And his nearly three decades of fighting on behalf of adaptive athletes showed the world their truly remarkable athletic abilities."
Benedick takes the stage tonight at Beaver Creek's Gerald R. Ford Hall as one of eight 2010 Hall of Fame inductees, including two other Coloradans: Paralympic skier Sarah Will and ski jumper Ansten Samuelstuen. Tickets are $250 per person or $450 per couple, and benefit the Ski Hall of Fame and the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Museum. For more info, visit www.SkiHall.com.
Fri., April 9, 2010