Written by Lydia Robledo Saturday, 07 September 2013 00:00
Professional cross-skier and Olympian Kris Freeman is coming to Westbury to talk to children and parents about his remarkable success story and record-setting victories in spite of his struggle living with type 1 diabetes.
“I love getting involved in community events. I do a lot of events in conjunction with diabetes. It’s a great way to talk to kids and parents about the struggles of living with diabetes,” Freeman said.
Born and raised in Andover, New Hampshire, the 32-year-old athlete is the number one cross-skier in the United States with a ten time national champion record, competing in tournaments around the world including the World Championship, World Cup and the 2002 and 2010 Olympics. “I started skiing as soon as I could walk, and before that, I was pulled by my parents in a sled,” Freeman stated, “It’s just a very freeing feeling being out on the snow.”
After being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 19, Freeman was forced to make major adjustments in his lifestyle and diet in order to maintain his physically demanding regimen as an athlete.
By 2002, Freeman’s worldwide victories earned him international recognition as well as acceptance into the U.S. Ski Team at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics at just 21 years old. As if facing diabetes and competing were no difficult task, he gained two top-25 finishes and finished fifth place in the 4x10 km team relay, helping the U.S. to garner a fifth place position, the best in the Olympic U.S. cross-country ski team history.
At the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, when Freeman collapsed on the course during the 30K race because of low blood sugar, he was faced with a major wake-up call. “I learned that many different things can affect your blood sugar, such as stress and being under pressure. Because of my stress, I miscalculated how much insulin I needed,” Freeman said.
Since then, Freeman has rededicated himself into adopting a low-stress mental state and promoting a message of hope and perseverance that with modern knowledge and modern insulin, kids do not have to shy away from their dreams and goals just because they live with diabetes.
Undergoing a rigorous training schedule which he documents on his blog (blogs.fasterskier.com/krisfreeman), Freeman has his eyes on the gold medal for the 2014 Olympic games in Sochi, Russia. “I’m going to come in more relaxed and keep my stress level down. I’ve come a long way since then as a person and I hope to make my best-ever performance,” Freeman said.
The entire community is encouraged to come and take part in the event with Kris Freeman which will take place at September 12 7:30 p.m. at Dave & Busters located at 1504 Old Country Road in Westbury. The free program is sponsored by Eli Lilly and Company and presented by Winthrop-University Hospital Diabetes Education Center’s Kindred Spirits Parent Support group and the Kids Interested in Diabetes program.