Food is fuel and this couldn’t be more important than within the elite circle of athletes called Olympians. Being the best in the world is no small feat and it comes with all encompassing commitment. For athletes it’s a commitment to making conscious choices toward healthful living and a growing list have chosen vegetarianism as a result.
1. Lizzie Armitstead
The Guardian reported that Lizzie Armitstead just won Olympic silver for Great Britain in an awe-inspiring 87 mile cycling race. She’s committed to racing and she’s also committed to a vegetarian diet. It all started 10 years ago when she told her parents that she was giving up meat.
It was after she had spent six months living and running in Kenya. The Kenyans that she stayed with were not vegetarians but they ate meat very rarely, mostly surviving on rice, beans, green vegetables, and ugali (a native dough). Their success in long distance running is second to none and when Lizzie got back home she ran a marathon in under 3 hours. That’s when she decided that meat was doing nothing but holding her back.
2. Murray Rose
They called him “Seaweed Streak.” He was a well known vegetarian when the term hardly existed. He wonfour Olympic gold medals and one silver medal in swimming between 1956 and 1960. Here he is in Sports Illustrated in 1961:
The guiding principle for everything Rose eats is that it be as close to its natural state as possible—preferably completely raw. Thus he avoids anything that has been sprayed with chemicals, as well as products made with processed flour or sugar. He often substitutes a dish of yoghurt and raw honey for milk, and drinks concentrated juices, such as apple, tomato, grape, pineapple and carrot.
3. Hannah Teter
She’s a vegetarian that’s also a gold and silver medalist in snow boarding. Here she is on Ecocrazzi:
I feel stronger than I’ve ever been, mentally, physically, and emotionally. My plant-based diet has opened up more doors to being an athlete. It’s a whole other level that I’m elevating to. I stopped eating animals about a year ago, and it’s a new life. I feel like a new person, a new athlete.
4. Carl Lewis
Though he wasn’t a vegetarian when he won four gold metals in the Olympics in 1984, he was a vegan when he struck gold in Los Angeles in 1991 at age 30.
5. Dylan Wykes
He’s amongst the fastest marathoners in Canada and he’s also a vegetarian for ethical reasons. He’ll be competing in the London Olympics and hopes for gold. He survives on tons of quinoa and lentils. “If you do it right it can be done as an athlete,” Wykes said to Huffington Post. “It helps you really pay attention to what you’re taking in each day.”
6. Charlene Wong
This Canadian figure skater missed a medal when she competed in the Olympics in 1988 but she won four silver medals at the Canadian Figure Skating Championships. According to Lifeskate:
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.
7. Bode Miller
He’s one of the greatest alpine skiers in history and he’s won five Olympic medals. He struck gold in the Vancouver games. Bode was raised as a vegetarian on an organic farm in New Hampshire.