Who Is Dan Cnossen? Barack Obama Congratulates Paralympian Veteran on Gold Medal

Former President Barack Obama on Monday tweeted his support for Lieutenant Commander Dan Cnossen, Navy SEAL, who took home silver and gold medals at the 2018 Winter Paralympics in PyeongChang for his performance in the biathlon and cross-country skiing events.

Cnossen, already the recipient of a Bronze Star of Valor and a Purple Heart from the Navy, won a gold medal for Team USA for his performance in the 7.5 kilometer sitting during the biathlon competition on Saturday. On Sunday, the Nordic skier collected a silver medal for cross-country skiing.

Cnossen, who grew up in Kansas, is the only double-amputee in Navy SEAL history, according to TeamUSA.org. While serving as a platoon commander in 2009 for SEAL Team One in Afghanistan, the 37-year-old stepped on an improvised explosive device and was seriously wounded in the explosion, losing both of his legs just above the knee. Four months later, he was honored by then–first lady Michelle Obama at a dinner for military leaders—a meeting she recounted when it came time to honor the 2014 Olympians and Paralympians.

"Dan lost both of his legs in the explosion, but he never lost that fighting spirit. I will always remember Dan, because just four months after that explosion, he finished a half-marathon in a wheelchair," Michelle Obama said.

After years of training and rehabilitation, Cnossen was able to compete in the Sochi 2014 Paralympics with the assistance of prosthetics. He didn't place that year, but he discovered that the competition reinvigorated his team spirit.

"I love being part of a team in the military, and when I became injured I was looking to seek that out again," Cnossen said Saturday at the games. "The Paralympic team has been the most perfect fit for me."

The athlete, who grew up on a farm, is pursuing dual master's degrees in public health and philosophy from Harvard University. In his free time, he enjoys running, traveling and surfing, according to TeamUSA.org.

Who Is Dan Cnossen? Barack Obama Congratulates Paralympian Veteran on Gold Medal | Sports