In 1992 Johann Koss spent the day of the Opening Ceremony in a hospital bed with an inflamed pancreas. After passing a gallstone, he travelled to Albertville.
From patient to champion
He finished only seventh at 5,000m, an event in which he held the world record, but a week after leaving the hospital he won a gold medal in the 1,500m and then added a silver one at 10,000m.
Breaking world records, writing Olympic history
At the Lillehammer Games, Koss dominated the speed skating events. First he broke his own world record in the 5,000m. Then he defended his 1,500m title, setting another world record. Finally he won the 10,000m, bettering his own world record by 12.99 seconds and winning the event by 18.70 seconds - the second largest margin of victory in Olympic history. As a symbol of respect, the Dutch team presented Koss with a golden butterfly, an honour normally reserved for gold medal winners from their own country.
An IOC Member
An active supporter of the humanitarian Olympic Aid project, Koss was chosen in 1999 to be a member of the International Olympic Committee. During the 2002 Session in Salt Lake City he announced his departure from the Athletes' Commission.