Daniel Cnossen is enjoying the best moment of his career, having recently taken his maiden Winter Paralympic title in the men’s biathlon long distance sitting at PyeongChang 2018. As a result, he became the first male US Nordic skier to seal Winter Paralympic gold.
He later added two biathlon silvers and two cross-country silvers and one bronze to his tally.
Cnossen extended his winning form into the new season, claiming four golds and two bronze at the first World Cup in Vuokatti, Finland, before sweeping all his cross-country and biathlon events at the Ostersund World Cup.
Prince George 2019 seems to be the perfect opportunity to add a world title to his Paralympic gold.
In September 2009 he was serving as a US Navy Seal in Kandahar, Afghanistan, when he was injured by an improvised explosive device and lost both his legs.
In 2016 he gained a master's degree in public administration from Harvard University. Cnossen then went on to take a master's degree in theological studies.
Further personal information
Sport specific information
His grandfather served in the US Army during World War II, and his father did three tours in the Vietnam War with the US Marines from 1965 to 1968. However, Cnossen says he did not feel pressure from his family to enlist in the military. He began his military career after graduating from the US Naval Academy in 2002 and was medically retired from the US Navy in 2015. "I was born and raised on a fifth generation farm in Kansas. As a younger child, I gravitated to reading books about life in the military or war, and this kind of thing interested me. When I was in high school I had heard stories from my father. He didn't talk a lot about the war, but he did talk about life in general in the military. It seemed natural for me to want to combine military service with going to college. I just gravitated to wanting to go to the US Naval Academy. I was always into sports as a kid, team sports, and I thought going into the military is kind of like a team sport, except the consequences can be certainly much more serious. Certainly in the military, you live a very disciplined existence and I found transitioning from the military into being an athlete, there are a lot of parallels. Instead of following orders, I now follow my coach's training plan." (teamusa.org, 01 Feb 2022, 10 Nov 2021; brownbears.com, 11 Jan 2021; US Olympic & Paralympic Museum Facebook page, 11 Nov 2020; militaryfamilies.com, 25 Aug 2020)
In 2016 he gained a master's degree in public administration from Harvard University in Cambridge, MA, United States of America. In 2018 he completed another master's degree in religion, ethics and politics at the same university. "I think what I really gravitate towards is challenge, and often those challenges tend to be physical. But I also gravitate to challenges that are academic or in other ways." (teamusa.org, 10 Nov 2021; LinkedIn profile, 01 Jan 2020; Athlete, 29 Mar 2018; humansofhds.tumblr.com, 10 Nov 2016; harvard.edu, 25 May 2016)
He began motivational speaking after competing at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang. "I definitely want to help people as best I can, coming to realise that leveraging my story can help people. I was a little reluctant to get into it in the beginning. After I competed in the Sochi [Paralympic Winter] Games in 2014, I wasn't approached by anybody, I wasn't a medallist. But, when you do well athletically, the way our society works, you can get these opportunities. Before, it was easy for me to say, 'I don't really feel comfortable getting up in front of people and telling my story'. I would rather just keep my military service quiet. But then you get these opportunities, which came from success. I went with it. I realised as I do more and more talks, it helps people." (brownbears.com, 11 Jan 2021)
He has taught indoor rock climbing to children with cancer through the US Navy SEALs One Summit programme. In 2018 he began working part-time as a resilience specialist at O2X Human Performance, a tactical training and education centre for athletes in the United States of America. (nbcolympics.com, 01 Mar 2022; o2x.com, 18 Jun 2021; LinkedIn profile, 01 Jan 2020)
|Men's Sprint - Classic Sitting||Final||2013-02-25||22|
|Men's Long Distance - Classic Sitting||Final||2013-02-26||6|
|Men's Short Distance Sitting||Final||2013-02-28||12|
|Men's Middle Distance Sitting||Final||2013-03-01||13|
|Men's Long Distance Sitting||Final||2013-03-03||12|
|Men's Middle Distance - Classic Sitting||Final||2013-03-05||12|
|Men's 7.5 km Sitting||Final Round||2014-03-08||14|
|Men's 15 km Sitting||Final Round||2014-03-09||13|
|Men's 12.5 km Sitting||Final Round||2014-03-11||11|
|Men's 1 km Sprint Sitting||Final Round||2014-03-12||6|
|Men's 15 km Sitting||Final Round||2014-03-14||10|
|Men's 10 km Sitting||Final Round||2014-03-16||10|
|Men's Short Distance Sitting||Race 1||2015-01-24||7|
|Men's Long Distance - Free Style Sitting||Race 1||2015-01-25||8|
|Men's Middle Distance Sitting||Race 1||2015-01-27||8|
|Men's Sprint - Classic Sitting||Race 1||2015-01-28||5|
|Men's Long Distance Sitting||Race 1||2015-01-30||5|
|Men's Middle Distance - Classic Sitting||Race 1||2015-01-31||6|
|Men's 7.5km Sitting||Final||2018-03-10||1|
|Men's 15km Sitting||Final||2018-03-11||2|
|Men's 12.5km Sitting||Final||2018-03-13||2|
|Men's 1.1km Sprint Sitting||Final||2018-03-14||3|
|Men's 15km Sitting||Final||2018-03-16||2|
|Men's 7.5km Sitting||Final||2018-03-17||2|
|Men's Middle Distance Sitting||Final||2019-02-16||6|
|Men's Middle Distance - Free Style Sitting||Final||2019-02-17||2|
|Men's Sprint - Free Style Sitting||Final||2019-02-18||2|
|Men's Sprint Sitting||Final||2019-02-20||9|
|Men's Long Distance Sitting||Final||2019-02-21||4|
|Men's Long Distance - Classic Sitting||Final||2019-02-24||4|