After opening the few 2008 Topps Allen & Ginter cards I'll be buying this year, I was pleasantly surprised to receive the following card.
2008 Topps Allen & Ginter #92 Dan Jansen
It was nice to see Topps pick Dan as one of this year's non-baseball athletes. The image used for the card is one familiar to me, Jansen with his hood removed and suit partially unzipped, hands held to his head in disbelief of his world record time in the 1,000 meters. As a Wisconsin resident, news of his victory spread through my high school within minutes, so I didn't get to see the race live. If I remember correctly, Jansen was not the favorite at this distance, and at the time portrayed by this picture, he didn't have the gold medal yet. His finals heat was one of the earlier ones, and he had to wait for several other pairs to finish before he could truly claim gold.
To accompany this card is one of my favorite pieces of sports memorabilia, an Olympic issue of Sports Illustrated that Dan Jansen and Bonnie Blair both personally signed for me. I'm not sure of the year, but my family went to the Vince Lombardi Classic, a pro-am golf tournament that allows fans to have access to celebrities and athletes as they come off the greens and walk to the next hole. As a teenager, I demonstrated unprecedented foresight by bringing the magazine along. I had gotten into a war of words with the SI subscription department, who had decided willy-nilly to add the Golf Plus feature to my issues, which explains the ugly green circle on an otherwise pristine cover. Despite that cover blemish, this remains one of my most treasured items.
Signing Factoid: When Dan Jansen was signing my magazine, the Sharpie I had brought with me had begun to run a little low. Therefore, the one sentence he spoke to me was, "You're gonna need a new Sharpie there, buddy." Awesome.
Enjoy this video (in Norwegian?) of his 1994 gold medal race and his delightfully tacky Carolina Panthers hat.