Nordic Nation: The Dan Cnossen Interview

Jason AlbertSeptember 7, 2018

In this episode of Nordic Nation, we spoke with Dan Cnossen, who, at 38, has much to celebrate. This past winter, he raked in six medals (one for every race he competed in) at the Winter Paralympics — three in biathlon, three in cross-country — in PyeongChang, South Korea. But as he discusses in this podcast, the winning does not define him. Raised on a fifth-generation family farm outside Topeka, Kanasa, Cnossen went on to graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy and now holds masters degrees in public administration and theological studies — both from Harvard.

Biathlon gold medalist Dan Cnossen of the U.S. celebrates his win in the men’s sitting 7.5 k biathlon sprint on March 10, the opening day of competition at the 2018 Winter Paralympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. (Photo: U.S. Paralympics/Mark Reis)

On his path to the Paralympics, Cnossen served as a Navy SEAL platoon leader. He lost both his legs in an explosion in 2009 while on patrol in Afghanistan, and became a recipient of both a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star with Valor.

In the 42 minutes we have with Cnossen, we learn about perseverance and how a curious mind meshed athletics with theology.

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Jason Albert

Jason lives in Bend, Ore., and can often be seen chasing his two boys around town. He’s a self-proclaimed audio geek. That all started back in the early 1990s when he convinced a naive public radio editor he should report a story from Alaska’s, Ruth Gorge. Now, Jason’s common companion is his field-recording gear.

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