|Men's speed skating|
|Representing the United States|
|Gold||1994 Lillehammer||1000 m|
Daniel ("Dan") Erwin Jansen born June 17, 1965, in West Allis, Wisconsin, is a retired American speed skater. A multiple world champion in sprint and perennial favorite at the Winter Olympics, he won a gold medal in his final race (1000 meters) in the 1994 Winter Olympics, at the end of his career.
Jansen, the youngest of nine children born to Harry Jansen (a police officer) and Geraldine (Grajek) Jansen, a part-time nurse, graduated from West Allis Central High School, Wisconsin. Inspired by his sister Jane, he took up speed skating while growing up. He set a junior world record in the 500 meter race at age sixteen, and finished sixteenth in the 1000 meters and fourth in the 500 meters at the 1984 Winter Olympics.
Jansen's competitive results improved in the years after the 1984 Olympics, and he overcame a case of mononucleosis in 1987.
In 1988, he became the World Sprint Champion, then he was off to the 1988 Winter Olympics where he was a favorite for the 500 and 1000 meter races. In the early hours of February 14, the day of the 500 meter event, Jansen was informed that his 27-year-old sister Jane Beres was dying of leukemia. Jansen spoke to her on the phone but was unable to receive a response. A few hours later, Jansen was notified of his sister's passing. He went on to compete in the 500 meter race that afternoon but fell in the first turn. Four days later in the 1000 meter event, he began with record-breaking speed but fell again, just past the 800 meter mark. Jansen left the 1988 Olympics with no medals but became the recipient of the U.S. Olympic Spirit Award for his valiant efforts through tragedy.
In the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, he finished fourth in the 500 meters and twenty-sixth in the 1000 meters, and left the games with no medals. In 1993, Jansen set a world record in the 500 meters event and was cast as a favorite to win the gold medal in the event at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer.
Between the 1992 and 1994 Olympics, Jansen was the only skater to break 36 seconds in the 500 meters, doing so four times. In 1994, Jansen won his second World Sprint Championships title, and he arrived at the 1994 Winter Olympics for one final attempt at an Olympic medal. In the 500 meter event, he finished eighth. In preparation for the 1000 meter event, he was coached by Peter Mueller, who won the same event in the 1976 Winter Olympics. Jansen defied expectations and finished first, winning his first and only Olympic medal of his career, while setting a new world record in the process. He dedicated the gold medal to his late sister, then took one final victory lap around the rink with his one-year-old daughter, Jane. For his efforts, Jansen received the 1994 James E. Sullivan Award and was chosen by his fellow Olympians to bear the U.S. flag at the closing ceremony of the 1994 Winter Olympics. He was elected to the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995.
Jansen was inducted into the United States Olympic Hall of Fame in 2004. Today, Jansen is a speed skating commentator for NBC and from 2005 to 2007 he was the skating coach for the Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey League.
Over the course of his career, Jansen set eight world records in speed skating:
|500 m||0.36,41||January 25, 1992||Davos|
|500 m||36.41||March 19, 1993||Calgary|
|500 m||36.02||March 20, 1993||Calgary|
|Sprint combination||145.580||March 20, 1993||Calgary|
|500 m||35.92||December 4, 1993||Hamar|
|500 m||35.76||January 30, 1994||Calgary|
|Sprint combination||144.815||January 30, 1994||Calgary|
|1000 m||1.12,43||February 18, 1994||Hamar|
|500 m||35.76||January 30, 1994||Calgary|
|1000 m||1:12.43||February 18, 1994||Hamar|
|1500 m||1:55.62||March 14, 1993||Heerenveen|
|3000 m||4:25.63||March 5, 1983||Sarajevo|
|5000 m||7:50.22||February 7, 1982||Inzell|
- Dan Jansen at SpeedSkatingStats.com
- Personal records from The Skatebase
- Biography from ESPN Classic
- The Dan Jansen Foundation
- Dan Jansens official website
- Dan Jansen's U.S. Olympic Team bio
- Dan Jansen Skates into Second Season as Chicago Skating Coach at NHL.com. September 28, 2006.