Dan was born June 17, 1965. From 1983 through 1994, he was one of the top speed skaters in the world. In the Junior World Speed Skating Championship of 1983 he won the gold medal in the 500 m. In the World Sprint Championships from 1985-1994 he won five gold, five silver, and five bronze medals. He achieved the title of World Sprint Champion in 1988 and 1994. Dan was also the five time World record holder in the 500 and 1000m. Dan held a position as an Olympic team member on the teams of 1984, 1988, 1992, and 1994. He won an Olympic gold medal in the 1000m at the 1994 games while also setting an Olympic record. He holds over forty individual World Cup victories and seven overall World Cup titles.
By the time of the Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer in 1994 Dan Jansen had won seven overall World Cup titles and set seven world records. However at the Olympic Games he had experienced nothing but disappointment.
After finishing fourth at 500m in 1984, Jansen was one of the favourites in 1988. But on the morning of the 500m, his sister died of leukaemia. Jansen tried to race anyway, but fell. He fell again in the 1,000m. In 1992 he was again a favourite, but could do no better than fourth in the 500m and 26th in the 1,000m.
In Lillehammer, Jansen was the overwhelming favourite at 500m, but he slipped and finished eighth. Despite his great non-Olympic success, Jansen had never won an Olympic medal having competed in seven Olympic races over a ten-year period. His last chance was the 1,000m, a distance at which six of his opponents had better times. Jansen was on world record pace when he slipped during the penultimate turn. Fortunately, he steadied himself and powered on to set a new world record (1:12.43) and win an Olympic gold medal at last.