Four years later at Albertville, he returned with hope renewed as the World Cup champion.
While his past failure meant he was not considered as big a favorite as he had been in Canada, Jansen believed he could still bring home a medal in France.
But a stumble during the 500m meant he finished fourth, while he could only muster a 26th-place finish in the 1,000m.
The opportunity had gone -- but Jansen refused to give up.
After another dismal showing in the 500m race at Lillehammer '94, Jansen was left with one final chance.
The 1,000m had never been his favorite event but it was all that was left -- and he skated as if he knew that.
Nobody was going to catch him -- even when he made a brief stutter and the world held its breath, he just kept on going -- racing to victory to take gold and set a new world record.
He celebrated in front of a roaring crowd and then lifted up his baby daughter Jane, named after his sister.
It was an achievement that was thought to be impossible.
When British pair Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean took to the ice at Sarajevo '84, they stood on the cusp of greatness.
Dancing to Ravel's "Bolero," they produced not only a flawless routine but a dance worthy of figure skating's first perfect score -- scoring the maximum possible of nine sixes for artistic impression.
The crowd went wild, throwing roses onto the ice and even Britain's Queen Elizabeth sent the duo a message of congratulations.
"Tonight we reached the pinnacle. I don't remember the performance at all. It just happened," Dean said after the routine.
"But I think it was the most emotional performance we have ever given. What just happened out there -- getting the medals -- that is what we've worked for so hard for so long."
Austria held its breath -- this was the one the people wanted more than any other.
The 1976 Innsbruck games gave downhill star Franz Klammer the opportunity to shine in front of his home fans and add to his burgeoning reputation as the world's top skier.
After winning three World Cup races going into the Olympics and eight out of nine the previous year, the 22-year-old was a huge favorite to win gold.
But following the draw, which left him 15th out of 15 to ski, Klammer was left facing a course with much of the snow pushed aside by previous competitors.
Bernhard Russi, Switzerland's defending champion, had set the time to beat after going out third in 1:46:06.
Klammer knew he needed to do something special to pull off a victory -- and he did just that.
After his 1,000m split was recorded as just outside Russi's time, Klammer took every single risk he could to catch up and somehow managed to fly over the finish line 0.33 hundredths of a second faster.
He had given the crowd what they wanted.