I’ve never had much interest in winter sports. I live in a warm climate where it never snows and although I’ve always wanted to go skiing, I’ve never gotten around to it. And I don’t usually follow the Winter Olympics either.
This year, however, things are different since I have a representative on the US Olympic team – his name is Kris Freeman and he’s a type 1 diabetic. The truth is that he could be on any team and I would be cheering for him. Being a diabetic is a bit like being part of an ethnic minority. If you’re a part of such a minority, you feel a connection towards others of your ethnic group – especially when they do something exceptional.
When I read that Kris had a mishap with his blood sugar during the 30K race I was very upset. This morning, while running, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I’ve had a few lows while running and it feels terrible. And I can imagine the feeling of frustration Kris Freeman must have felt having it happen during an Olympic event.
I read his recap of the event – “On the fourth lap of the classic race, I had a blood sugar crash and I stopped and laid on the ground,” …“All of a sudden my body wasn’t working. I thought that was going to be it.”. I’m sure many people read these lines, but only a type 1 can fully understand the horrible feeling of a hypoglycemic episode, and the sense of failure and frustration that comes with it.
The amazing thing about Kris is that his hypo didn’t wipe him out. He got up and finished the race. I know most Americans wanted a gold medal or at least a bronze. And I’m sure Kris Freeman wanted one even more. I hope he still manages to get one, but to me -medal or no medal- he is the truest form of a champion.