Speed skater Dan Jansen shows support for Romney - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Speed skater Dan Jansen shows support for Romney

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TAMPA (WKOW) -- Few Wisconsin athletes, or even personalities for that matter, are more beloved than Olympic gold medal speedskater Dan Jansen. 

He entered the political arena Thursday night, not in a speaking role, but appearing on stage with other former Olympic athletes in support of GOP Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney, who he calls a friend.

"I'm not a huge political person, I do believe, yes, I'm Republican and I'm a big, big backer of Mitt Romney, but, I know him personally, and his family as well and I got a great chance to get to know them over the last ten years probably and that's why I'm here," said Jansen.

Jansen's story is well known.  The West Allis native fell as a gold medal favorite in Calgary in 1988, on the same weekend his sister died.

He also failed to win in 1992 in Albertville, France, before finally winning gold in Lillehammer, Norway in 1994.

Jansen got to know Romney during the planning of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, and he sees that same kind of perseverance in the Republican nominee.

"He tried once, four years ago, he kind of got knocked down a little bit and he's back and he's fighting again and boy its, as anybody would note, just watching any of the politicians on either side in any of these elections, I don't personally know anyone who'd want to do it," said Jansen.

When asked what people should know about Mitt Romney, Jansen talked about his personal character.

"I would say that he's an amazing family man, he's funny, he's relaxed.  He truly is when he's around his family, his grandchildren...loves them to death, he's very easy to talk to," said Jansen.

Dan Jansen no longer lives in Wisconsin, but in another battleground state, North Carolina, where he owns a medical device distributing company. 

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