Who has been the greatest vegan athlete of 2013? Nominations are in and we are pleased to reveal our five finalists. Now it’s over to you, we want your votes to decide who deserves the title. All five of our vegan greats have made a massive impact on their sport, but there can only be one winner. Please read their summaries and pick your winner at the bottom of the page. One vote per person, and feel free to share this page.
Last year Patrik Baboumian rounded off a successful year with the first ever title of Vegan Athlete of the Year. The Iranian-born, German-based strongman has been competing with the world’s best in a strongman events and has shown amazing strength and set world records.
This year he competed at FIBO, Europe’s largest fair dedicated to fitness and strength. Patrik was among the invitation-only competitors who included athletes placed second and third in World's Strongest Man and some of the biggest names in the sport.
His performance beat all other Germans. He won the crucifix hold, and scored an impressive eight repetitions of the overhead lift of a 140kg log.
Patrik has been vegetarian since 2005 and vegan since 2011. This year he also attended Toronto Vegan Festival where he put on a world record attempt. It involved a Yoke Walk, carrying a frame of enormous weight across the shoulders and walking. The weight of 550kg (over half a tonne) was carried 10 metres to set a Guinness recognised world record.
Having set the record Patrik said:
“This is a message to all those out there who think that you need animal products to be fit and strong. Almost two years after becoming vegan I am stronger than ever before and I am still improving day by day...Go vegan and feel the power!”
Have a look at Patrik's Profile
Cam Awesome has had another great year. The amateur boxer is captain of the American team and has also been among the most active.
2013 started off with Cam, a 6’ 3” superheavyweight weighing in at 99kg winning the US men’s national competition and then the national Golden Gloves tournament. He competed in Puerto Rico and won two Golds and won a tournament in the Ukraine as well as a Silver in Canada.
His performance in the World Tournament pitted him against the world’s best. Having beaten the Argentinean national champion he faced the world no 1 and lost on a decision. The performance was said to be excellent and the scores were close. This lifted Cam to a ranking of 9th in the world.
He’s also been invited to train in Italy and Kazakhstan. Cam has now won more medals than any other in American amateur boxing history.
Cam is enthusiastic and outspoken in support of the vegan diet he adopted since June 2012 and his website is http://plantbasedboxer.com
He told us of the influence of his trainer Bill Mackey and Bill’s wife Ami, and their interest in the Engine 2 diet.
“They taught me the importance of eating right and how it can benefit my boxing career. I went vegan ‘cold Toforkey’. Bill and Ami came to my house every Sunday for ‘vegan cookathon day’. We made about 7 plant based Engine 2 compliant dishes that would last me all week.”
Just before the Continental Championships he told us: “since being plant based, I am 23-0, winning 3 International Golds and 2 National tournaments and can thank my new lifestyle.”
He already has his sights set on the 2016 Olympics.
Have a look at Cam's Profile
Canadian pairs figure skater Meagan Duhamel has added to her collection of achievements this year following more achievements on the ice.
Meagan and her pairs partner Eric Radford won national Gold last year and successfully defended their title – the sixth time in six years Meagan had won a medal at the Canadian nationals. In doing so they scored over 200 points, the goal of all top level pairs skaters – and recorded the highest score in Canadian history. Their performance was well received and earned them a standing ovation from the spectators.
Soon afterwards the pair competed internationally against the best from North America, Australasia, Africa and Asia to parallel to European Championships. Meagan told GVA that the vegan catering in Japan had been excellent and maybe this helped them towards their Gold. Amazingly the pair were not entirely satisfied with their performance, and they felt they could improve on it, although they were pleased with the result and their place at the World Championships
Canada had failed to win a pairs medal at the World Championships since 2008. Meagan and Eric put together a difficult routine which was well executed, and their performance drew the comments of “does it get any better than that?” from TV coverage and a score of 204.56 from the judges. There was some controversy in that the German team achieved a high score despite some errors, although Meagan was delighted with their Bronze medal.
Later in the year they returned to Skate Canada, an international event where they won Silver in 2012. Meagan injured a shoulder three weeks before the event and as a result the routine was changed with little notice. This was linked to some uncharacteristic technical errors, although they still won Bronze.
The impressive haul of medals has made it a great year, and we hope to see more from Vegan Meagan next year!
Have a look at Megan's Profile
Jake Shields has had a tough year and has shown the resilience and determination required to excel in the harsh world of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Cage Fighting.
Jake was brought up as a vegetarian and has never eaten meat. He changed to a vegan diet in 2011, saying "I definitely prefer the vegetarian and vegan lifestyle , I don't eat meat and I feel extremely healthy this way and I'm not a big fan of how they run the slaughter yards and slaughter houses."
In June he was matched against Tyron Woodley and tipped to lose: Woodley is known for devastating grappling skills and had won ten of eleven professional fights, including a 35 second knock out.
Jake put together an effective strategy, and commentators noted his punching power, cardiovascular condition and perseverance. He evaded eleven attempts in the first two rounds to take him down and force grappling. The fight lasted the distance and Jake won the decision, concluding that it was close.
While it was a brave decision to fight Woodley, Jake’s next decision took him to Brazil where he fought a Brazilian, Demian Maia. The passionate nature of Brazilian MMA fans is often too much for visiting fighters who have been previously overwhelmed. Maia had won his last three fights, was favourite to win, and is known as a submission specialist; Shields has never submitted.
Maia gave him an extremely hard fight including an early takedown, although Jake also showed growing confidence and formidable grappling skills. Again the fight went the distance and Jake got the decision. He said it was one of the toughest fights of his career.
Before the fight both fighters had been talked about in relation to a shot at the world Welterweight title, which may be the next step for Jake. Aside from this Jake remains one of the most respected fighters in his weight division.
Have a look at Jake's Profile
Nominated last year for the title of Vegan Athlete of the Year, marathon runner Fiona Oakes has had a year most of us can barely comprehend.
The 43 year old runs a sanctuary for 400 animals and has been vegan for over 20 years.
Her exploits started this year at the North Pole marathon, which had only been completed by 255 runners before and is was -28 C at the start. She won the race in 4 hours 53 and smashed the course record by 45 minutes.
She then took on the Isle of Man marathon and finished in 3:12, ten minutes ahead of the second woman. Next was Adelaide (second female) and in was Siberia she finished in 3:11.
The races were part of a plan to run a marathon on each continent (plus the North Pole) in record times.
Atlantic City USA she finished in 3:10, and in the Casablanca marathon 3:15.
Chile has the highest altitude marathon in the world, which Fiona described as the toughest of her career. Altitude sickness, headaches and swelling was inevitable and the extreme terrain made speed impossible. She finished as the second woman before heading out to the last leg – Antarctica.
Extreme cold, heavy cloud and winds were integral, and again Fiona won the women’s race. The time of 4:20:02 was a new course record by over six minutes.
It was also the quickest that anyone has achieved the Grand Slam of a marathon on all seven continents plus the Polar Ice cap. She also set a record for the fastest aggregate time for the achievement.
Fiona was clear from the start that this massive undertaking was done only to prove what vegans can do. With such an amazing achievement she has surely impressed a large number of people.
Have a look at Fiona's Profile