Tuesday, December 6, 2022


Foremost Ambassador to the Sport—Dan Brodsky-Chenfeld, D-8424, Receives the 2022 USPA Gold Medal for Meritorious Service
Homepage USPA | Nov 04, 2022
Foremost Ambassador to the Sport—Dan Brodsky-Chenfeld, D-8424, Receives the 2022 USPA Gold Medal for Meritorious Service

Chris Wagner

He says it was 1983 when we first met; I thought it was 1985. The memories and details of our history may change with the passing of time, but the sum of his contributions to skydiving has exponentially increased. What I do recall conclusively was that at the 1986 USPA National Skydiving Championships at Muskogee, Oklahoma, our respective teams were tied for the silver medal (after two jump-off rounds!) in 4-way formation skydiving after the completion of scheduled competition. The lack of remaining daylight on that last day left us forever co-silver medalists.

I was the team captain for the Golden Knights Black in the open class of 4-way FS; he was the same for Greene County Fusion. Since that oven-hot and windy day in the flatlands of eastern Oklahoma, Dan Brodsky-Chenfeld, D-8424, became a static-line, AFF and tandem instructor; earned a PRO rating; co-founded legendary FS team Arizona Airspeed (and won countless U.S. national and world gold medals with the team); set world records in 4- and 8-way FS, as well as large-formation FS; authored the best-selling book “Above All Else: A World Champion Skydiver’s Story of Survival and What It Taught Him About Fear, Adversity and Success;” became a highly respected DZ manager at Skydive Perris in California; wrote many articles and produced dozens of videos advocating for skydiving safety … and he accomplished most of this after narrowly surviving and then recovering from a Twin Otter crash in 1992!

On October 13, more than 200 of Brodsky-Chenfeld’s friends had gathered at Skydive Perris for the 150-way total-break world record attempts that he had helped organize. At an informal dinner on the DZ that evening, USPA honored him with the presentation of its Gold Medal for Meritorious Service. The Skydiver’s Information Manual spells out the criteria for receiving this award, which honors “outstanding USPA members who, by their efforts over a period of years, have made significant contributions to the skydiving community.” When the Membership Services Committee reviewed Brodsky-Chenfeld’s nomination for the honor, it not only flew through the approval process but was also perceived as long overdue!

The USPA Board of Directors selected me to present the award since I had known him for so long, and I was honored to do so. A crowd of admirers—including Northeast Regional Director Jim Rees and Western Regional Director Josh Hall, former board members Marylou Laughlin and Scott Smith, and previous USPA Gold Medal recipients Kate Cooper-Jensen and Norman Kent—attended the ceremony to express their gratitude to Brodsky-Chenfeld on behalf of all USPA members.

The inscription on Brodsky-Chenfeld’s award reads: “For inspiring fellow skydivers and the general public as a multi-time world and national champion competitor, record organizer, mentor, DZ manager, educator, motivational speaker and author, and for generously sharing his time, advocating for safety and being one of the foremost ambassadors of the sport for more than 40 years.”

Following the presentation, Skydive Perris owners Melanie and Pat Conaster spoke words of praise for Brodsky-Chenfled and recounted the moment in the mid-1980s when he, a derelict young skydiver, showed up at their DZ in a conversion van, hoping for gainful employment. I’d say that their decision that day turned out to be a win-win for everyone!


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