Vegan World Champions

Thirteen vegan athletes who set World Records or became World Champions

1 - David Meyer – Brazillian Jiu Jitsu

This martial art has traditionally been dominated by South Americans, but vegan David Meyer of the USA has won World Championship Gold twice.  He's also won a Gold in the American Cup twice and in the American National Championships - and Pan Am Games.

David continued to compete at the top level into his 50s. David also started a pet rescue website which helps 1500 animal shelters across North America find homes for animals.

“My motivation is entirely to not harm animals. I have experienced that it’s an extremely healthy way to eat, it gives me more energy, it’s better for the environment. I’m morally committed to not harming animals.”

 

2 - Mac Danzig – Mixed Martial Arts Cage Fighting

Winning the Lightweight King of the Cage Championship in 2005, Mac defended it four times to stay on the top of his sport. He fought at the top until retiring in 2014.  He fought 34 times with 21 wins, 12 losses and one draw.   Mac is also an acclaimed wildlife photographer.

"When I decided to go vegan, I was able to make the 155-pound weight class much easier, and I haven't lost an ounce of muscle. I'm leaner than I used to be, and I have much more energy than I used to."

 

3 - Scott Jurek – Ultramarathon Runner

The greatest ultramarathoner of the modern era, Scott has set at least eleven major course records including the 2189 mile Appalachian Trail. He won the prestigious Western States 100 mile race seven times, and was the first American to win the 246k Spartathon (he won it twice).  He's won at least 24 ultramarathon races.

“It was out of long-term health, and after I read Dr. Howard Lyman’s book, Mad Cowboy, it truly inspired me. If this third generation cattle rancher can go vegan, then so can a backwoods Minnesota guy like myself.”

 

4 - Heather Mills - Disability Winter Sports

During part of one year, Heather set no less than five World Records in various disability winter sports including bobsleigh, downhill skiing and ski jumping. She describes herself as the fastest disabled woman on earth following her 167km speed skiing record.

She is also known for her humanitarian work helping amputees, and has developed vegan recipies.  She owns and runs V-Bites which sells vegan food for home use and has vegan restaurants.

“I am in love with food; I always have been. Eating is such a huge pleasure in my life. In order to heal my infection all those years ago I embraced a living raw food diet which is rich in vitamins, minerals and proteins.”

 

5 - Austin Aries - Professional Wrestling

Known as ‘The Vascular Vegetarian’, wrestler Austin has been the longest reigning Ring of Honour (ROH) World Champion, ROH Tag Team World Champion, and TNA World Heavyweight Champion. He also won the TNA World Tag Team Championship, making him one of one five wrestlers to have won the Triple Crown.

“Take the power back, and put the nourishment of your body, mind, and soul back into your own hands. Every little step you make to eliminate animal products in your meals is a one step closer to the big leap we all could benefit from taking.”

 

6 - Alex Dargatz - Bodybuilding

Alex won the 2005 World Fitness Federation World Title in Bodybuilding after five years training on a vegan diet. Damn fine abs!

"There simply is no need for us to consume animal products and we cause a lot of harm by doing so; that is the definition of crime. I couldn't be anything else but vegan after understanding that."

 

 

 

7 - Patrik Baboumian - Strength Athlete

This German strongman has broken the world log lift record for athletes weighing under 105kg with a 190kg lift. He went on to set the world beer keg lifting record (all bodyweights) and the 20kg fronthold record. He’s also written a book about vegan training.

Making a comeback after this he broke his own yoke walk record, carrying 555kg for ten metres.

“There are plenty of plant-based protein sources and your body is going to thank you for stopping feeding it with dead-food. Go vegan and feel the power!”

 

8 - James Southwood - Savate

 

Savate is a popular sport in France, but a minority sport in Britain. James Southwood has been British champion in this kick-punch sport based on ballet and boxing, but the massive funding and prolific coching network in France meant he was unlikely to win a world title.

In 2014 James did just that, becoming the first British World Champion. He has also been European vice-Champion and had Silver and Bronze medals at the World Championships.

“It is very rare for someone in my sport to question my diet. My fitness and physique speak for themselves. Occasionally it will pique someone, but I leave them to their own troubles with it.”

 

9 - Carl Lewis - Track Athletics

With 9 Olympic Gold medals, Carl was one of the best-known athletes of the 1980s. He also set a world record for indoor long jump set in 1984 still stands. Carol adopted a vegan diet to assist him in sports and continued it into his retirement.

"I've found that a person does not need protein from meat to be a successful athlete. In fact, my best year of track competition was the first year I ate a vegan diet. Moreover, by continuing to eat a vegan diet, my weight is under control, I like the way I look."

 

10 - Cody Elkins - Racquetball

Cody won the World Outdoor Racquetball championship in 2015 in the ten and under category.

Born into a vegetarian family, he turned vegan aged 2 which he has enthusiastically embraced.

“My hopes for the future are that everyone will be vegan so we do not have to kill livestock and cause all that animal suffering.”

 

11 - Pat Reeves - Powerlifting

Pat was told he she had terminal cancer in 1977 aged 32. She decided to fight it using nutrition, and turned vegan. She has broken numerous age group world records in various age divisions as she has moved into different categories, breaking the world deadlift title repeatedly.

“I credit my current excellent health and phenomenal energy to this method of food preparation - and also my ability to stay on top of the genetically-fuelled cancer."

 

12 - Fiona Oakes - Marathon and Ultradistance Runner

A passionate vegan since childhood, Fiona has set records for the fastest aggregate time for a Grand Slam (a marathon on all continents plus the polar ice cap) and for a marathon on each continent. She’s since broken them. She also has run the fastest women’s marathon in the Arctic circle and set the course records for the North and South Pole marathons.

"I honestly believe that the most benefit to me being vegan is that I do not carry the burden of guilt that I would have to endure knowing that I abused others for my own 'benefit'. "

 

 

 

13 - Meagan Duhamel - Pairs Figure Skater

The Canadian pairs figure skater turned vegan in 2008 and was World Champion in both 2015 and 2016. She’s also broken Canadian national points records and has numerous international Golds.

"So many people tell me they could never be vegan. I just wish people would understand and realize that it's really not that difficult, and it's a choice that we make. I think that it is in everybody's grasp to be able to make a decision like switching to a vegan lifestyle. One of my proudest accomplishments has been going vegan."

 

We picked a selection - but this isn’t all of them.  Other vegans who were World Champions or World record holders include (click for more information):

 

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