Vegan figure skater Larkyn Austman has quickly made an impact on her sport. At 20 she had already won medals in national and international competition.
She first competed as a junior and won Gold at the 2013 Canadian Championships. Since then she has progressed to senior level and in 2016 placed sixth at the Canadian Championships, following this with a fourth in 2017 – which qualified her for the national team. In February 2017 she won her first international medal – bronze at the International Challenge Cup in the Netherlands.
In the 2018 Canadian Championships she improved on her fourth of 2017 to take bronze.
Larkyn has been vegan since 2015, making the change shortly after her seventeenth birthday.
“I am 100% vegan, and have been since June 1st 2015!” she says. “Over the years I have also slowly transitioned into using vegan and cruelty free cosmetic products.”
“I watched the documentary ‘Food Inc’ in my grade 11 marketing class” Larkyn explained to us “and was horrified at what I saw. I went home and watched ‘Vegucated’ and then ‘Earthlings’. I went fully vegan in a period of about 3 days. I had never even thought of the connection between a real animal and the meat that was sitting on my plate. I realized there was no way I would ever eat my own dog, so why would I eat any other animal?”
“I think at first my parents were a little concerned about getting all the right nutrients. We consulted a nutritionist to help us put together all the right foods and I’ve never had any trouble since! I feel healthier, and I train better, so my coaches on and off the ice have never had any reason to question it.”
Larkyn has also got a vegan tattoo. “It’s the ‘V’ symbol with a leaf that you often find on vegan products to verify it. It’s on my stomach and I’m very proud of it.”
Now she eats a lot of grains, and the same smoothie almost every day “because I love it!”. She also eats Gardein’s products and Daiya cheese. She also likes eating at a fully vegan restaurant in Vancouver called ‘Chickpea and Meet’.
This certainly keeps he going as she as a demanding schedule.
Training for success
“Most of my training is on the ice because nothing off the ice will ever simulate the stamina it takes to run a long program with seven jump elements.” She also spends an hour with a personal trainer off the ice working on core, stability and strength – sometimes combining it all together.
Unlike some vegan athletes, Larkyn isn’t the first vegan in her niche as Canadian pairs skater Meagan Duhamel has been vegan since 2008 and won Winter Olympic medals and two world titles. However, Larkyn wasn’t aware that Meagan was vegan when she was deciding to make the change. She’s since found out more.
“Meagan has inspired so many of the other skaters in her own rink to go vegan and I hope I can do that as well!”
“I had the most amazing experience at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Games, and even the food in the dining hall was better than I expected!” she explains. “I will be training for the next four years with my sights on the 2022 Beijing Olympics. Hopefully by then, veganism will be even more mainstream and the dining hall will have even more options for vegans!”