Kris Freeman is an Olympic endurance athlete with Type 1 diabetes. He has visited over 150 summer camps over the years since he was diagnosed to speak to children with diabetes and inspire them to run with their dreams.
New Hampshire native and Olympic cross-country skier Kris Freeman is changing the face of Type 1 diabetes, one race at a time. At only 34 years old, Kris has an impressive number of accomplishments under his belt, including competing in the last four winter Olympics and winning 17 national championships.
On August 15, Kris participated in The Great Adventure Challenge at Pleasant Mountain in Bridgton, Maine. The triathlon involves 2.5 miles of kayaking, 16 miles of mountain biking and concludes with a 2-mile hike up and down Shawnee Peak, challenging participants to a grueling 1300-foot change in elevation. This year, Kris set a new course record, finishing in just over one hour and 49 minutes.
Kris’s love of and talent for skiing was apparent at a very young age – he was skiing before he could walk. His passion persisted and, at age 19, Kris decided to walk away from a full scholarship at the University of Vermont to pursue his dream of becoming an Olympic cross-country skier.
Two months into training, Kris’s life changed forever after a routine blood test revealed twice the normal level of glucose. He was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, and doctors insisted that his Olympic dream was over. No one with Type 1 diabetes had ever competed in an Olympic endurance sport.
However, Kris’s determination proved stronger than his disease, and two years later he made it to the Olympics.
Kris’s road to success has been facilitated in part by cutting-edge technology. Kris believes that this is by far the best time in history to live with diabetes, thanks to innovators like Dexcom that have empowered people to track and manage their disease. Kris uses the Dexcom continuous glucose monitoring system, an invaluable tool to track his blood glucose levels. This is crucial, as blood sugar can spike due to adrenaline and stress while training and competing.
An advocate for people living with Type 1 diabetes, Kris has visited over 150 summer camps to speak to children with diabetes and inspire them to run with their dreams. His goal is simple: “I want to talk to them about what they can do, which is anything, in my opinion.”