For American cross-country skier Kris Freeman, Sochi represents his fourth career Olympics. He’ll not only be representing the United State but also diabetic athletes everywhere. The New Hampshire native talks about how someone with his condition can take on such a physically taxing sport.
In his first race at the Vancouver Olympics, he was 6 seconds off the lead when his blood sugar bottomed out. He collapsed mid-race, eventually finishing 45th and failed to finish his second race.
“I’ve only had two races affected by low blood sugar and unfortunately you know it happened on the world’s biggest stage,” Freeman said.
Race day strategy begins not only by checking equipment, but also his blood sugar.
“I have a sensor implanted, into my side. I wear my insulin pump full time as well. I’m unique in that I wear it on my chest,” he said.
He said monitoring his health is vital in racing to his full potential.
“Success for me here is just coming out and racing to my highest potential. I don’t feel like I was able to show what I could really do at the last Olympics. I just want to come out and race representatively and know feel good about the results,” Freeman said.
The insulin Freeman uses to manage his diabetes is considered a banned substance in international competition. Freeman receives what’s called a therapeutic use exemption, which allows him to keep his body in shape and legally compete at the Games.