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Dan Jansen (b. 1965)

West Allis, Wisconsin

Dan Jansen

Dan Jansen, the youngest of nine children, grew up in a speed skating family. By the age of sixteen he had become a serious competitor, setting a junior world record in the 500 meters at his first international competition.

For the next twelve years he dominated speed skating everywhere except at the Olympics. He competed in the 1984 Olympics and just missed a bronze medal. In the 1988 Olympics, hopes were high for him, but he fell in both his races after learning that his sister had died of leukemia just hours before the 500-meter event. At the 1992 Olympics, his coach Peter Mueller predicted he would take home a gold, but though Dan finished both races he did not medal.

At the 1994 Olympics, everything came together for him physically and mentally, and in the last race of his career Dan won a gold medal and set a new world record.

After that, Dan became a motivational speaker and television commentator for speed skating events, including the 2006 Olympics.

Olympic Career

1984, Sarajevo, Yugoslavia
500 meters: 4th
1000 meters: 16th

1988, Calgary, Canada
500 meters: Did not finish
1000 meters: Did not finish

1992, Albertville, France
500 meters: 4th
1000 meters: 26th

1994, Lillehammer, Norway
500 meters: 8th
1000 meters: GOLD MEDAL

Warm-up jacket worn by Dan Jansen during the 1984 Olympics.

Donated by Dan Jansen.

Wisconsin Historical Museum object #2005.179.1