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Arizona math teacher wins big in world archery championship — with just one arm

Eric Bennett, an Arizona teacher who recently won the archery competition at the Para World Championships with one arm. (Photo:

SURPRISE, Ariz. — With only one arm, an Arizona math teacher has snagged a gold medal in archery.

Eric Bennett of Surprise returned from Germany, where he recently won the archery event in the Para World Championships.

Bennett isn’t done yet: His next stop is Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Paralympic Games.

“It’s a big confidence booster,” he said of an earlier win in an interview with And now heading into Rio, “the ultimate goal is the gold medal.”

This isn’t the first Olympic go-around for the math teacher; In 2012, Bennett finished fourth at the Paralympic Games in London.

When Bennett was 15-years-old, his vehicle was hit by a drunk driver and his right arm was crushed as it rolled.

Bennett uses an improvised tab controlled by his teeth to release his arrows. He said in an interview with the Associated Press that the prospect at first seemed dangerous, but he decided to continue pursuing archery anyway.

“If you’d asked me six months, a year ago, I would have said, that’s not the best approach,” he said in an interview with “In a different way, it helped me focus. For me, that was a definitely a different mental approach. And now, I’ve got a year to continue working on that.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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