Dave Steen became interested in track and field at an early age through his father, a coach, and a former decathlete. Attending Burnaby Central High School, Steen excelled in track and field, winning the Sport BC High School Athlete of the Year award in 1977.

Due to a lack of indoor training facilities in BC, Steen moved, first to California and later to Toronto, to train full time. The gruelling training regime demanded a commitment of six to seven hours every day to hone the key areas of strength, flexibility, and endurance.

In 1979, his dedication began to produce results. Steen set his first Canadian senior record for the decathlon when he won gold at the Mount Sac Invitational. Before he retired, he would set the record ten more times.

At the 1982 Commonwealth Games, while winning a silver medal, Steen broke the 8000 point barrier. A feat that had so far eluded any Canadian decathlete!

Between 1983-86, Steen won a gold at the World University Games, a gold at the Pan American Games, a gold at the Pan Pacific Games and silver at the Commonwealth Games for the decathlon. In addition, he set three world records in the Pentathlon in 1983, 1984, and 1986.

Steen reached the pinnacle of his career in 1988 when he achieved his personal best point total during a European Tour event with a score of 8415 points. Two months later, he won a bronze medal at the Olympic Games in Seoul, Korea. This was the first time a Canadian had ever won a medal in decathlon.

Throughout his career, Steen made a personal decision not to use performance-enhancing drugs and in the years immediately following the Olympics, Steen became involved in promoting the anti-drug campaign. He was asked to be an ‘Athlete Ambassador’ for the ‘National Commission for Fair Play’; he worked with the Ontario Police Force to produce an ‘Anti-Drug’ poster campaign aimed at school aged children; and he contributed to the nationally distributed, Athlete and Coaches Anti-Doping Handbook.

Steen made the decision to retire from competitive sports shortly after the Olympics, although he continued to do colour commentating on track and field events for CTV. Steen was later recognized for all his achievements subsequent to the Olympics with the Order of Canada.