Often referred to as “Action Jackson,” Jack Benedick most likely earned that nicknamed because of his vigorous approach to both sports and the military. A double below-the knee amputee, Benedick lost his legs in 1969 during his second tour of duty in Vietnam. During his rehabilitation, Benedick discovered the sport of skiing.
In 1970, he returned to duty as the only double amputee in active service. While stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado, he became active in organizations dedicated to disabled sports. He was elected president of the Rocky Mountain Handicapped Sportsmen’s Association in 1973. From 1979 to 1986, he was a member of the U.S. Handicap Ski Team, winning medals in both the 1984 Paralympics and the 1986 World Championships.
When Benedick retired from the army in 1978, he became president of the National Handicapped Sports and Recreation Association, currently known as Disabled Sports USA. During his tenure, the organization saw dramatic increases in membership, sponsorship, budget and stature. He was determined to see that other individuals had at least a chance of knowing what sports can mean for people with disabilities.