(FAMOUS VEGETARIANS) Olympic athletes are known for having very interesting diets. What they put in their body is a very important component of their strategy for success. The stars of the Olympic games are a huge inspiration to many people so it’s great to know that a large number of them have chosen to be vegetarian and vegan. Read on to learn more about some amazing athletes who decided a cruelty-free diet was the best way to go. — Global Animal
The diet of athletes is changing. History is showing that those with a competitive spirit are not just meat-eaters but those who are “conscious eaters.” The Olympic games have a wide array of a personalities and with those personalities a wide array of eating habits. Many historic Olympians have chosen to keep a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle or they have chosen to change from a diet that included meats for protein into one that was rich in proteins found from vegetarian sources. These are our top 10 historic vegetarian and vegan Olympians:
Charlene Wong, a four-time silver medalist at the Canadian Figure Skating Championships, is a vegetarian athlete who also competed in the 1988 Winter Olympics. She didn’t win a medal at the Olympics but has gone on to coach other well known figure skaters including Victoria Muniz, Amber Corwin, Mirai Nagasu and Caroline Zhang.
LifeSkate asked her about being a vegetarian in 2008:
“You are a vegetarian. Were you a vegetarian from a young age or was this something that developed later on in life?
Wong: Although I am not as strict a vegetarian as I once was, I do continue to choose to eat more like a vegetarian than not. I would call myself a “conscious eater”. It all started with my desire to be as lean and healthy as possible as a teenager around 17-years-old. With more education, as well as trial and error, it also turned into an expression of my attempt to show compassion for all living things. Mostly, I try not to be a fanatic or push my ideas about this on other people, especially my students because everyone is on their personal journey regarding such things.”
Carl Lewis is probably the most well known, historic vegan Olympian in the world or at least the U.S. He won 10 Olympic medals, 9 of which were gold. His Olympic career ran from 1979 to 1996. He wrote an introduction for Jannequin Bennett in her book “Very Vegetarian” saying, “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.” He ended his introduction with, “Your body is your temple. If you nourish it properly, it will be good to you and you will increase its longevity.”
Ronda Rousey was the first U.S. woman to earn an Olympic medal in judo in 2008. After winning the bronze medal she was asked what she was going to do now. She replied, “As of right now I am a vegan. I put that off until after I was done with this tournament.”
Rousey’s decision to not be a vegan before the Olympics has come under some criticism from the vegan/vegetarian community. Some believe that she may have had issues from her coach and other tournament pressures that hindered her from being able to eat a vegan diet. After winning in judo, she decided she wanted to drive a clean car, learn how to surf, and eat a healthy meat and dairy free diet.
She became an MMA fighter in August of 2010 and is currently the Strikeforce women’s bantemweight champion and #1 ranked 135-pound female MMA fighter in the world.
Surya Bonaly is another competitive spirit who has participated in the Olympic events on numerous occasions but has never one an Olympic medal. She has, however, been a three-time World Championship silver medalist, a five-time European Champion, and a nine-time French National Champion for professional figure skating.
She is a vegetarian and PETA activist. She has participated in both English and French PETA ads calling for an end to Canadian seal hunts and an end to the fur industry.
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