Living with diabetes blog

Olympian sets example for those with diabetes

By Nancy Klobassa Davidson, R.N. and Peggy Moreland, R.N., C.D.E. February 26, 2010

The Olympic athlete is an icon of superior physical, mental, spiritual fitness, and discipline. Kris Freeman, 2010 U.S. Olympic cross-country skier, best exemplifies this type of athletic persona. Exercise and type 1 diabetes is a balancing act for the Olympic and non-Olympic athlete that can never be perfected. The feat is challenging for any athlete, let alone an individual with type 1 diabetes.

Long endurance sports such as cross-country skiing, distance cycling, and marathon running can deplete the muscle stores of glucose that may take up to 18-24 hours for the body to replace. If the muscles lose the glucose stores the energy is gone and the race is over (also called hitting the wall). Kris Freeman has trained intensely through trial and error using multiple variables to best determine any situation he may confront and how to balance his diabetes management to pursue the best outcome.

My hat is off to Kris and the many other Olympic and non-Olympic athletes that have pursued how to balance exercise and type 1 diabetes. I have two posters in my office that say:

  • Perseverance: Our greatest glory lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.
  • Success: There is no greater reward for a job well done than the personal satisfaction of having done it.

Thank you, Kris Freeman, for demonstrating these attributes, and for your example to all people and especially those with diabetes; that anything is possible with planning, knowledge and perseverance.

Have a good week,


Feb. 26, 2010