Kris Freeman is a 4th time Olympic Team Cross-Country Skier, 15-time U.S. National Champion, and also has type 1 diabetes. Kris was raised in Andover, New Hampshire and aspired to follow in his older brother Justin’s footsteps, who is a former member of the U.S. Ski Team. Kris received his diagnosis at the age of 19, just prior to his first Winter Olympic appearance. Upon diagnosis, Kris’ dreams to become an Olympian seemed a lot more challenging, with now having to learn how to manage his diabetes. However, he did not let the diagnosis slow him down; instead, it pushed Kris to train and work harder. With the help and support from his family, doctors, coaches, and friends Kris would go on to be one of the best cross-country skiers in the United States.
Aside from a very successful professional career, Kris spends a significant amount of his time as an advocate for diabetes. He spends his summers visiting various diabetes summer camps around the United States. Kris has even made an appearance at our Big Shots camp here at DYS! Kris shares his story and encourages kids that with proper diabetes management and care, dreams can come true. Kris says that being able to stay positive, maintaining his nutrition, and overall diabetes management has helped him out tremendously while he continues to compete. “A little bit of adversity isn’t a bad thing… There’s no reason that this disease has to stop you.”, explains Kris. Although Kris is now an Alumni of the Olympic Team, he still competes around the U.S. and most recently in the North American Cup.
It’s not just Olympic champions or famous people who accomplish great things while managing type 1 diabetes. Every kid can work to meet their personal goals AND diabetes goals. Keeping healthy and working hard for what you love is not just for people managing diabetes. It should be a goal for everyone. We know that diabetes can be frustrating and challenging, but we also know that every kid who manages diabetes is capable of overcoming any challenges and being successful. Remember — success is not only measured in gold medals, it is also measured in the little things that make you happy –playing soccer, singing in a choir, or competing in a spelling bee.
Be sure to catch the Winter Olympics, which are on February 7th through February 25th! Let us know how you can relate to Kris and his adventure with type 1 diabetes.