Mormon Paralympian Eric Bennett
Eric Bennett competed in the 2008 Beijing Paralympics as an archer. The Paralympics are held in the same country as the Olympics, in the following September. While they receive far less attention, the athletes are every bit as competitive and well-trained as their better-known counterparts.
Bennet began using a bow and arrow while learning to hunt with his father. When he was fifteen, he lost his arm in a car accident. He gave up archery, but his father encouraged him to return to the sport ten years later, and he is now competing at the highest possible level, Open Class Compound. His first international competition was in 2007, where he took fourth in the International Championships. Despite this late start, he easily qualified for the Paralympics.
Bennett has earned several gold medals in the past few years, including the 2007 California State Games, Chula Vista, Calif and the Endeavor Games, Edmond, Oklahoma, in 2007, where he also took a silver. In 2008, he again took gold in the Endeavor Games.
Bennett holds seven world records in his sport.
At the Beijing Olympics, he won several rounds, losing only when a competitor set a world record.
Bennett teaches physics at an Arizona high school and also coaches the tennis team there. He is married to Rachel and they have a young son. Eric Bennett’s wife maintained a blog during the Olympics, where you can read about their experiences in Beijing.
Bennett, 38, placed 11th in the men’s individual recurve standing ranking round at London 2012. He then bested three opponents and made it to the men’s individual recurve standing semifinals.
Bennett was fourth in the men’s individual recurve standing event in archery. He faced Timur Tuchinov of Russia in the semifinals, and then competed against Mikhall Oyun of Russia in the bronze medal match, missing the bronze. His wife kept track of his competition on her blog: www.aimingforgold.blogspot.com.