Athletes who make it to the Olympics have inspiring stories of their own but it is often those that strike the heart and spirit that become legends. One such Olympic legend is Dan Jensen, a gifted speed skater who broke world records and persevered to get the gold despite his losses and struggles in life.
As early as age 16 Dan Jansen had already shown his talent in speed skating when he set a junior world record for a 500 meters race in an international competition. He became part of the US Olympic Team after two years and missed the Bronze by only a sixth of a second at the 1984 Winter Olympics. He continued to work on improving his results and became one of the most promising skaters in the 1988 Winter Olympics. Unfortunately, it was also one of the most trying times for Dan Jensen. A few hours before the 500 meter event, he was informed that his sister passed away due to cancer. Despite his loss, he still decided to compete for the 500 meter event. He fell on the first turn and lost his chance for the gold. Still dealing with his grief, he went on to the 1000 meter event where he set off with a great start. Just like his first race, he fell again.
He didn’t win any Olympic medals for skating that year but he was given the US Olympic Spirit Award for the valiant spirit that he showed amidst a heartbreaking loss in the family. He never stopped competing after that and even broke his own world record in 500 meter men skating from 1992 to 1994. He finally got the Olympic Gold medal, and broke a world record at the same time, for the 1000 meter speed skating event in the 1994 Winter Olympics.
Dan’s family and friends were there to support him and cheer him on in his times of struggle. This time, he is giving his support to fellow Olympians by being a part of Team Citi in the Citi Every Step of the Way campaign.
Dan supports the Olympians for Olympians Relief Fund Program which aims to help US Olympians get through tough times like battling an illness, dealing with an injury, or recovering from the effects of a Natural Disaster. You can help Dan champion for the Olympians who are struggling in life. Click on Team Dan at the Cit Every Step of the Way website and give your support to the Olympians for the Olympians Relief Fund.
This post was created in partnership with Citi®. All thoughts and opinions are my own.