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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Jansen skates with heavy heart
By Larry Schwartz
Special to ESPN.com


February 14, 1988

It is the worst day in Dan Jansen's life. In the morning, he speaks to his older sister Jane, who is dying of leukemia back home in West Allis, Wis. A few hours later, the speed skater learns of her death. He spends the afternoon in a quiet room at the Olympic athlete's village in Calgary speaking on the phone to family members.

He decides to compete in the 500 meters, saying "that's what Jane would've wanted." He wants to win for Jane. But emotionally spent and physically tense, Jansen, one of the favorites, false-starts at the line, which he rarely does. This confuses him.

When he sprints from the gun, he catches his blade on the first turn and falls, spinning across the lanes and knocking down the skater paired with him.

"As soon as he fell, my heart sank," says teammate Eric Hendriksen. "I'm not used to seeing so many bad things happen in a short period of time."





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