Dan Cnossen

Nordic Skiing

  • 2014

Sport: Nordic Skiing
Event: Cross-Country Skiing and Biathlon
Height: 5-10
Weight: 165
Classification: LW12, Sitting
Date of Birth: May 17, 1980
Birthplace: Topeka, Kan.
Hometown: Topeka, Kan.
Current Residence: Fraser, Colo.
High School: Shawnee Heights HS (Tecumseh, Kan.) ‘98
College: United States Naval Academy ‘02, English
Service Branch: United States Navy SEALs
Military Rank: Lieutenant Commander (LCDR)
Military Status: Active Duty
Coach: James Upham

Career Highlights

  • 2014: Paralympic Winter Games, 6th 1km sprint, 10th 15km biathlon, 10th 10km, 11th 12.5km biathlon, 13th 15km, 14th 7.5km biathlon; World Cup Final, Oberstdorf, Germany, 14th 15km, 19th 10km; U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing National Championships, three first-place finishes (7.5km biathlon, 15km and 10km cross-country)
  • 2013: World Cup Cable, Wis., 2nd 10km and 7.5km biathlon, 3rd 15km and 12.5km biathlon, 6th 1km, 8th 15km biathlon; World Cup Canmore, 9th 5km, 11th 1km; U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing National Championships, three first-place finishes (cross-country skiing), 2nd (biathlon)
  • 2012: IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup Final, Sochi, Russia, 7th 15km, 12th cross-country sprint; International Paralympic Committee Nordic Skiing World Championships, 6th 15km; World Cup Vuokatti, 5th 10km freestyle, 9th 10km classic, 16th 15km biathlon, 17th biathlon pursuit, 19th 7.5km biathlon 
  • 2011: Warrior Games, three gold medals (swimming), one bronze (800m, track & field)

Personal

Lt. Cmdr. Dan Cnossen was serving as the platoon commander for SEAL Team One in Afghanistan in September 2009 when he stepped on an IED (improvised explosive device) and was wounded in the explosion. The accident caused Cnossen to lose both his legs just above the knee. He went through rehabilitation first at the Bethesda National Naval Medical Center and later at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he learned to walk with his new prosthetics. Cnossen was awarded both a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star with Valor from the Secretary of the Navy for his service in combat. He is the only double-amputee Navy SEAL in history.

The United States Naval Academy graduate and Topeka, Kan., native found ways to be active again as soon as possible. Exactly one year from the date of his accident, Cnossen ran a mile with his prosthetics for the first time. Since then, he has gotten his 5-kilometer time down to under 18 minutes, completed the 2011 New York Marathon in 2:38 (handcycling 16 miles and running 10.2), and earned four Warrior Games medals. He also began cross-country skiing, something that he had never tried prior to his injury. Cnossen, who was an avid runner and triathlete during his college years, enjoyed the physical challenge of cross-country skiing and was a natural talent in the sport.    

In August 2011, Cnossen was transferred to Fort Carson in Colorado. There, he worked with the U.S. Army’s 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) and began training exclusively in cross-country skiing and biathlon the U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing National Team.

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