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As history will show, not all athletes get their protein from animal-based products. These athletes boast a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle to keep them in top shape. These are out ten famous vegan and vegetarian Olympians:
1. Charlene Wong
Wong is a four-time silver medalist at the Canadian Figyre Skating Championships, and has also competed in the 1988 Winter Olypics. Although she did not win any Olympic medals, she has gone on to coach other figure skaters such as Victoria Muniz, Amber Corwin, Mirai Nagasu, and Caroline Zhang.
2. Carl Lewis
Lewis is no stranger to the Olympic stage. He has won ten Olympic medals, nine of which were gold. He wrote an introduction for Jannequin Bennett's book, "Very Vegetarian." He says, "“It’s a myth that muscles, strength and endurance require the consumption of large quantities of animal-based foods. This myth began before anyone even talked about protein.”
Rousey was the first woman in the U.S. to win an Olympic medal in judo in 2008. She received some criticism from the vegan/vegetatian community when she stated that she put off being a vegan until after the Olympics. Some stated that she received pressure from her coach and from the tournament itself that hindered her from being vegan. After the Olympics, however, she did in fact turn away from animal-based products and even purchased a clean car.
4. Surya Bonaly
Bonaly participated in several Olympic tournaments for figure skating, but never won a medal. However, she has earned a three World Championship silver medals and she is a five-time European Champion and a nine-time French National Champion. Bonaly is a vegetarian and a PETA activists who has appeared in ads calling for an end to Canadian seal hunts and an end to the fur industry.
Campbell is not only a world champion wrestler, but was also a bronze medalist in the Olympics. He is a vegetarian and he is one of the oldest men,at 37, to win an Olympic medal. According to the Seattle Times, "He practices Zen and dabbles in poetry. He’s a vegetarian who likes nothing better than tofu stroganoff. He leg-presses 700 pounds, meditates, and quotes everything from The Sermon On the Mount to The Teachings of Budda.”
6. Hanna Teter
Snowboarder, Hannah Teter, is a gold and silver Olympic medalist and a vegetarian. In 2010, she told Huffington Post,“I feel stronger than I’ve ever been, mentally, physically, and emotionally. My plant-based diet has opened up more doors to being an athlete. It’s a whole other level that I’m elevating to. I stopped eating animals about a year ago, and it’s a new life. I feel like a new person, a new athlete.”
7. Bode Millar
Born a vegetarian, Millar has gone on to win five medals in the winter Olympics for different ski disciplines. He now owns his own organic farm, similar to the one he grew up on. He is an advocate from sustainable food, farming and living.
8. Edwin Moses
Moses won 2 gold medals in the 400m hurdles at the 1976 and 1983 Olympics. On top of that, he has set the world record in his event four times. He is also a vegetarian, humanitarian and advocate for peace.
9. Debbi Lawrence
The three-time Olympian holds the world record for the woman's 5K racewalk event. She was sponsored by Aim for Herbs, an all natural herbal supplement distributer. She attributes her success as an athlete to hardwork and her vegetarian diet.
10. Murray Rose
Before passing away at the age of 73 from leukemia, Murray is remembered as one of the world's most historic vegan athletes. The native Australian won six Olympic medals, including four golds, and set 15 world records in swimming. In 1958, he told radio host Groucho Marx that his gold medals could be attributed to his veganism.
Image courtesy of Creative Commons.
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