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Daniel Cnossen  

6-Time Paralympic Medalist, Bilateral Above-Knee Amputee & Former U.S. Navy Seal Lt. Commander

Daniel "Dan" Cnossen is a Paralympic biathlete, cross-country skier, and former Navy SEAL platoon commander. A true patriot raised on the farmlands of Kansas, Cnossen knew early on he wanted to serve his country. Upon graduating high school, he was accepted at the U.S. Naval Academy and spent the next four years relentlessly pursuing selection for SEAL training. One of only 16 members of his class given the opportunity to enter Basic Underwater Demolition / SEAL training as officers, Cnossen successfully completed the grueling process in the fall of 2003.

Over the next six years, Cnossen was deployed multiple times to Iraq and Afghanistan and rose in rank to become the officer-in-charge of an 18-man SEAL platoon. In 2009, while deployed into an area of heavy combat in Afghanistan, he stepped on an IED, losing both legs in the blast. He would later be awarded a Purple Heart and Bronze Star with Valor. Cnossen fought for his life for two years, enduring over 40 surgeries, while readjusting to civilian life. It was during this time, as part of his rehab, that he was introduced to the sports of cross-country skiing and biathlon. Never one to shy from a challenge, he eventually earned a spot on the 2014 U.S. Paralympic Team.

In 2015, Cnossen returned to graduate school, earning two degrees from Harvard University. At the 2018 Paralympic Games, he stole the show, remarkably winning one gold, four silver, and one bronze medal over a period of eight days earning the honor of Best Male Athlete of The Games.

Cnossen has shared his remarkable story and the inspiring insights he has uncovered along the way, to corporations, military audiences, professional organizations, charities, and countless schools across the country. With captivating stories from his time in SEAL training, his numerous military deployments, and his pursuit of athletic excellence at the Paralympic Games, Cnossen leaves his audience in awe of one man’s will and inspired to take on any personal or business challenge in their own life.

Speech Topics

Overcoming Adversity



Work-Life Balance

Elite Performance

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