After finishing fourth at 500m in 1984, Jansen was one of the favourites in 1988. But on the morning of the 500m, his sister died of leukaemia. Jansen tried to race anyway, but fell. He fell again in the 1,000m. In 1992 he was again a favourite, but could do no better than fourth in the 500m and 26th in the 1,000m.
In Lillehammer, Jansen was the overwhelming favourite at 500m, but he slipped and finished eighth. Despite his great non-Olympic success, Jansen had never won an Olympic medal having competed in seven Olympic races over a ten-year period. His last chance was the 1,000m, a distance at which six of his opponents had better times. Jansen was on world record pace when he slipped during the penultimate turn. Fortunately, he steadied himself and powered on to set a new world record (1:12.43) and win an Olympic gold medal at last.