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Olympic athletes turn to diabetes tech in pursuit of medals

Olympians including Dutch marathon runner Abdi Nageeye are using a new tool they hope will boost their medal chances this summer: tiny monitors that attach to the skin to track blood glucose levels.

Continuous glucose monitors or CGMs, were developed for use by diabetes patients but their makers, led by Abbott and Dexcom, also spy opportunities in sports and wellness.

The Paris Olympics, which start on July 26, are an opportunity to showcase the technology - even though there is as yet no proof it can boost athletic performance.

"I do see a day where CGM is certainly going to be used outside of diabetes in a big way," said Dexcom's Chief Operating Officer Jacob Leach.

Diabetes patients remain the CGM specialist's commercial focus, he told Reuters, but Dexcom is also working with researchers on future use to optimise athletic performance. He would not disclose details.

The CGM market is already worth billions of dollars thanks to demand from diabetes patients, who use the coin-sized adhesive skin patches with a Bluetooth link to a smartphone instead of drawing blood through a finger stick. The readings help determine whether they need an insulin dose.

In March, Dexcom's Stelo device, targeting people with early-stage diabetes who are not on insulin, became the first CGM to win U.S. approval for purchase without a prescription. Launch is planned for this summer.

Abbott introduced a CGM product for amateur and elite sports users without diabetes in Europe as early as 2020 and has sponsored Kenyan marathon great Eliud Kipchoge and his team since 2021. Top athletes and their support staff have been using CGMs to optimise calorie intake and workout intensity as they prepare for sport events.

Abbott said it is targeting the