Gary Hall, Jr.: Medaling in Diabetes
Gary speaks out on his diagnosis, swimming in Athens, and more.
This is my first dLife column and I should start it by introducing myself. My name is Gary Hall Jr. I have competed in the last three Olympic Games and I have won a total of ten Olympic medals. I also have type 1 diabetes.
The Athens Olympics came to a close about three-and-a-half months ago, and the schedule that I have been trying to keep is hectic. It's more often than not that I don't know which way is up. After the first two Olympics and the subsequent whirlwind, you might think that I would be better prepared for this. There are so many opportunities that come our way and a very finite amount of time to capitalize. We do as much as we possibly can and this is where I find myself now.
What is dLife? How did I get involved? To me, dLife is an effort to offer vital information to the diabetes community through the web and television on how to better manage diabetes, enabling those of us touched by this disease to live a healthy life. This is something that is greatly needed. Too many of us do not have access to the finest doctors, educators, nutritionists, and support systems to manage diabetes properly. Without finding the best doctors I would have been left with the devastating news that came with my diagnosis: "Your competitive swimming career is over." This is what I was told nearly six years ago.
With the right information from the right team of specialists I was able to learn how to manage diabetes in a way that would enable me to continue swimming competitively. Not only that, but I found that I was able to swim faster than I ever had without diabetes. Six years and six Olympic medals later, I am still swimming and looking forward to competing in the next Olympic Games—winning more medals for the United States and for those of us living with diabetes. With the right tools and information, anything is possible.
So, when I was approached to get involved with dLife and share this message with others I jumped at the opportunity. I will be writing this monthly column at dLife.com, and when dLifeTV begins in March 2005, I will be a health and fitness correspondent on the show as well.
It's a busy time for me but this is important stuff. If knowledge is power, then this dLife idea is going to empower millions of people!
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Years before I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, The Other Half came out of a doctor's appointment with a diagnosis of "borderline diabetes" and an ADA exchange diet sheet. His health insurance agency followed up on the diagnosis with a glucometer and test strips. After a year or so of trying to follow the diet plan and test his glucose levels, things appeared to be back in "normal" range, and stood there until a couple of years after my own diagnosis. Shortly...