ALTHOUGH U.S. SPEED SKATER Dan Jansen’s agonizing medal drought ended with his golden moment at Lillehammer four years ago, it seems his Olympic jinx hasn’t. This past week, when Jansen, now a CBS Sports analyst, was questioning the current crop of U.S. skaters about their showing in Nagano, he was also trying to deflect questions about his own performance as a husband and father.
Putting him on the spot were allegations in court papers filed Jan. 22 in North Carolina by his estranged wife, Robin, 39, whom he sued for divorce last year. Robin now accuses Jansen, 32, of abandonment and of adultery with Christine Rosa, 35, manager of athlete relations for SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, whom he met at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Contending that Jansen, a popular motivational speaker, lost interest in both her and the couple’s two children—Jane, 4½, and Olivia, 2—after he “attained celebrity status,” Robin claims even Olivia’s birth was induced to suit his schedule.
“I think Robin’s main point is getting him to take responsibility for what he’s done,” says her twin sister, Renée Cerwin, of the suit, in which Robin seeks primary custody of the girls, though she is said to want them to continue to see their father. “Dan basically met someone else and walked out.” And by filing in North Carolina, where she now lives, Robin stands to receive more favorable alimony terms than in Jansen’s no-fault home state of Wisconsin, where he began the proceedings.
Not that Jansen admits there is any fault to find. “These allegations aren’t true,” says the former skating star, who believes his wife’s suit was timed to embarrass him at the Olympics. Although Rosa’s name surfaced when he filed for divorce a year ago, Jansen claims they’ve been dating for only five months. “My biggest fear is that someday my girls will see or hear these things that are not true,” says Jansen. “It just hurts everyone involved.”
In fact there seems no shortage of pain, whichever account of the split may be accurate. “Robin’s still hurt,” says her sister. “She cannot go on with her life until this is over.”