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.
“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.
“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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
13 - Meagan Duhamel - Pairs Figure Skater
"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):