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DAN JANSEN: Resident of suburban Milwaukee, Jansen finished 4th place in the 1984 Olympics in the 500 Meters Speed Skating. But four years later, he came rearing back and had proved himself to be the fastest skater in the world, having won the World Sprint Cup just one week earlier.

But as he was gearing up for the 500 meters, he had to do so with the heartache of knowing his best friend and sister Jane had just died of leukemia that morning. What happened during the race? For the first time in his history of skating in competition, he fell and lost.

A few days later, while leading the 1000 meters and racing at a world record speed, he did the unthinkable and fell a second time. In anguish, he picked himself up in disbelief and came home in tears. Believe it or not, 4 years later, despite being again the fastest skater in the world, he finished 4th again in the 500 meters.

But James 1:12 says to persevere! And persevere he did.

Finally, in the 1994 winter Olympics, Jansen won gold in the 1000 meters, his last chance for success. And for his victory lap, he skated slowly around the rink clutching his hands not around the gold medal, but around his...newborn baby girl...named Jane.

(From a sermon by Tom Papez, Chariots of Fire, 6/23/2010)

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