It’s a common misconception that athletes must include meat to succeed. However, Plant-based diets, including fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds, provide everything the body needs. It is even said to have some advantages. Ask any competitive female vegan athletes listed below to prove it.
Heather Mills | Skier
Heather Mills is one of the leading winter sports competitors in the world. Four Gold medals were awarded to Heather at the 2012 US Adaptive Alpine Skiing National Championships, and in 2015, she broke five world records in three months. The amputee has also assisted in the availability of prosthetic limbs and owns a vegan food brand that includes restaurants. Overcoming physical challenges makes her a role model among female vegan athletes.
Leilani Münter | Race Car Driver
Leilani Munter is a professional race car driver passionate about breaking records. The self-described ‘vegan hippie in a racecar’ finished 4th in the Texas Motor Speedway, breaking the record of the fastest time for a female driver. She also advocated for ethical and environmental concerns and became vegan four years ago for sustainability. “Everyone is focused on fossil fuels, but more greenhouse gas emissions come from raising animals for food than all of the planes, trains, cars, trucks, ships, and all forms of fossil fuel-based transportation.”
Tia Blanco | Surfer
Tia Blanco is a 23-year-old pro surfer. She placed 3rd overall in the 2014 World Junior Surfing Championships and won the NSSA Southwest Women’s Under 18’s season. Her vegan diet has greatly improved her life. Tia feels “more energized than ever before. I am rarely ever sore after my workouts. I also find myself reaching a higher athletic level.”
Catra Corbett | Ultramarathon Runner
Catra Corbett has run over 250 ultra marathons. She holds the overall record (for men and women) for completing the John Muir Trail twice, adding up to a total of 424 miles. The runner has the second-best all-time record for a woman running one way (212 miles). The vegan athlete has also overcome drug addiction, and running was a tool that helped her do it.
Venus Williams | Tennis Player
Tennis champion Venus Williams is the holder of 7 Grand Slam titles. She is credited with her sister, Serena, for opening up a new era of women’s tennis. Serena also suffers from Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease. A plant-based diet and becoming a vegan athlete have helped manage symptoms.
Serena Williams | Tennis Player
Serena Williams, a champion tennis player and sister to Venus, went Vegan in 2012. She’s the proud owner of 23 Grand Slam Singles titles and is ranked number 11 today. Serena took on the lifestyle to support her sister and ease joint pain and fatigue that needed improvement.
Meagan Duhamal | Figure Skater
Canadian pair figure skater Meagan Duhamel decided to go vegan to prepare for the 2014 Winter Olympics. After great results, however, she decided to make it a permanent lifestyle change, citing data on the health benefits of veganism. The vegan athlete has since won a Gold and Bronze medal at the 2018 Olympics and two world championships.
Fiona Oakes | Marathon Runner
A marathon runner from the UK, Fiona Oakes has won marathons at the North Pole Marathon and the Antarctic Ice Marathon. All without a kneecap (she lost it to illness at age 17) and while vegan. Oakes has been vegan since age six. Today, she holds three world marathon titles and has run in over 40 marathons.
Morgan Mitchell | Sprinter
Morgan Mitchell is an Australian sprinter specializing in the 400-meter dash. She competed in the 4 × 400-meter relay event at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing. The sprinter also represented Australia in the Women’s 400-meter and Women’s 4 × 400-meter Relay at the 2016 Summer Olympics. Morgan raves about more energy and her faster recovery from going vegan.
Laura Dennis | Professional Wrestler
Canadian professional wrestler Laura Dennis, aka Allie, has been vegan since age 14. The accomplished vegan athlete has had more than seven title runs in her career, including the Impact Knockouts Championship. Dennis was recently signed to All Elite Wrestling, a new American wrestling league.
Molly Cameron | Cyclo-Cross Racer
Molly Cameron is an American trans-female vegan athlete who competes in cyclocross racing. She is the only trans athlete to have competed in a UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup. Additionally, she is a powerful plant-based lifestyle advocate. Furthermore, Cameron founded her vegan bike shop way back in 2001. Vegan protein stigma? Gender stereotypes? Molly is living proof that both are irrelevant.
Kara Lang | Soccer Player
Kara Lang is a Canadian soccer player and sports analyst. In 2002, she joined the Canadian National Team and became vegan shortly after. Lang has represented her country in two FIFA World Cups and the Olympic Games. She also played club soccer for the Vancouver Whitecaps. Kara believes that many people need more education on veganism. Stating that learning how vitamins and minerals bodies interact with plants alone makes the transition simple.
Regardless of the sport or competition, vegan athletes are just as competitive as meat and dairy-consuming athletes. Though the debate will likely continue, it’s beneficial to explore different dietary options, athlete or not.