Gary Hall Jr.
Claim to Fame: Gold medal Olympic swimmer
DOB: September 26, 1974
Diabetes Type: 1
Gary Hall Jr. was born on September 26, 1974 in Cincinnati, Ohio. His successful career in swimming began by the influence of his father, Gary Hall Sr., uncle Charles Keating Ill, and maternal grandfather, Charles Keating Jr., all of whom competed and won medals in the Olympic games. Hall's career evolved after he graduated from Brophy College Preparatory in Phoenix, Arizona where he was a "swimming powerhouse."
Hall went on to compete in the 1996, 2000, and 2004 Olympic Games and won a total of 10 medals. Hall entered his first Olympic games in 1996 at age 21 with only six years of swimming experience. He was determined and eager to walk away with a medal. His perseverance and dedication to the team led Hall to win 2 silver medals and two team relay gold medals. He also helped in reaching world records in both the 400-meter freestyle and medley relays. Hall continued to win a gold medal in the individual 50-meter freestyle, the bronze in the 100-meter freestyle, and gold and silver in the team relays in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. His success continued in 2004 at the Athens Olympic Games where he walked away with another gold medal in the 50-meter freestyle, and a bronze medal for competing in the preliminary heat of the men's 400-meter freestyle relay.
Throughout all of Hall's success in swimming he has had to struggle with keeping up with his disease: type 1 diabetes. Hall was diagnosed in 1999 and was faced with a decision whether or not to give up his career. Hall knew the effects of the disease could be life threatening but he did not let that take away from his dreams. Although Hall did stop swimming for a short while after being diagnosed, he quickly came back to the game to break a world record in the men's 50-mtere freestyle race with a time of 21.76 at the 2000 Olympic Games. In November 2008, Hall announced his retirement from swimming to turn his focus on helping those with diabetes lead long, productive lives.
Hall's advice and inspiration to the millions of people living with diabetes is, "Learn all you can about how to manage diabetes and check your blood sugar level often. Testing three or four times a day may seem like a nuisance, but it's nothing compared to losing your sight, your feet, or the use of your kidneys."
Read Gary Hall Jr.'s expert columns here.
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