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When three-time Olympian and reigning 50-kilometer national champion Kris Freeman failed to make the cut for automatic funding on this season’s US Ski Team, Waterville Valley stepped up to hire the 33-year-old New Hampshire native as a Nordic racing instructor, allowing Freeman to fund his own training and keep his health-care benefits intact in preparation for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
Health insurance is an expensive component of Freeman’s training because he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2000. He competes wearing an insulin pump to control his blood sugar level, and for a typical two-hour race must calibrate it according to the altitude, snow conditions, and his likely pace. The Wall Street Journal called Freeman “a science experiment on skis.”