From Olympic glory to smashing records, these sporting heroes proved that you can not only survive on a vegan diet - but thrive.
Here's a round-up of some of the top sports stories from the year.
1. The year started out with former World Champion figure skater Meagan Duhamel winning her seventh and last National figure skating title in her retirement season.
2. Julia Hubbard released her guide to cookery The Strong Vegan. The personal trainer has inspired many of her clients to try veganism, and hopes this book will assist them. The cook she worked with turned vegan as a result of the project too.
3. Australian track athlete Morgan Mitchell won the Hunter Classic 400m for a fourth time and remains the leading runner in her nation over the distance.
4. Pro Wrestler Austin Aries took the Impact Wrestling Heavyweight Global Champion title to add to his collection of belts. Last year he wrote a book about food so knows his nutrition.
5. Another successful fighter was British martial artists and former World Savate Champion James Southwood, who won the Budapest Open for a third time. Many of his students took titles in this sport often dominated by the French.
6. American runner Yassine DIboun entered the incredibly tough Hurt 100 mile race. The massive height gain and hostile terrain meant many failed to finish - Dlboun did, taking sixth. He crossed 20 streams and the height gain was over 7400 meters.
7. 13-year-old racquetball player and former World Champion Cody Elkins won the California State Junior doubles title. Elkins has been vegan since age two and is also a formidable table tennis player.
8. Figure skater Meagan Duhamel helped the Canadian team win Gold at the Winter Olympics in her last competition before retiring from an amazing career. She went on to take a Bronze in the individual doubles. She now has an Olympic medal of each colour.
9. Vegan strength athletes also had a great year. Powerlifter Yolanda Presswood set California State records for squat, bench and competition total - and took the US national record in squat.
10. Hulda B Waage was the highest ranked powerlifter at the Icelandic nationals - which is not easy in a nation where strength sports are so popular. She didn't rest on her success and the next day broke the national record for bench press.
11. Runner Vlad Ixel took course records over 22k and 25km before, despite inexperience in cycling and swimming, qualifying for the World Half Ironman Championships.
12. Fighter Austin Aries -aka 'The Vascular Vegetarian' - won the Impact Grand Championship to become only the fifth man to win the Grand Slam.
13. American Brazilian Jui Jitsu veteran David Meyer scooped his eighth world title when he won Gold in the World Championships this year.
14. Vlad Ixel continued his remarkable transition from running to triathlon as he won his age category at the Davao Half Ironman.
15. Vegan ultramarathon runner Catra Corbett ran 192 miles in three days to win the 72 hour Beyond Limits ultra, running much further than she planned to.
16. Bodybuilder Julia Hubbard was invited to appear at the prestigious Bodypower Expo and was named as a Bodypower athlete.
17. Hulda B Waage had a tricky competition at the European Championships, although she increased her own national records for squat, deadlift and competition total even further.
18. Vegan Surfer Tia Blanco turned 21 and celebrated with wins in the Corona Extra Pro Surfing Circuit O’Neill Series and then in the Rip Curl.
19. Freerunner Tim Shieff hit the UK primetime TV screens as he amazed everyone with his skills on UK Ninja Warrior. He finished as series winner - again.
20. Runner Fiona Oakes added to her existing entries in the Guinness book of Records as she took on a night run in Norway and achieved the fastest Half Marathon in fancy dress (she was wearing a cow costume).
21. Vegan Olympic weightlifter Ramona Cadogan won the Pan American Championships, qualifying her for the World Championships.
22. Catra Corbett was out on the trails she loves again - breaking a course record for a 310 mile trail across California, accompanied partway by her dog Truman.
23. Canadian vegan Antoine Jolicoer Desroches finished fourth in his second race at the full Ironman distance, at Ironman Mont-Tremblant.
24. Julia Trezise-Conroy broke all four national powerlifting records as she finished top woman lifter at the New Zealand nationals.
25. Aussie Vlad Ixel's limited time competing in triathlon doesn't seem to have held him back as he reached #1 ranking in the world for his age group over the Half Ironman distance. This is despite minimal training on the bike.
26. Bodybuilder Julia Hubbard returned to the UNBA Universe where she won Gold for the second time. Two years ago she won gold in the amateur category.
27. Veteran Powerlifter Pat Reeves is continuing to compete, train and referee. This year, vegan for over 40 years, she broke her own world deadlift record in the 70-74 category.
28. Hulda B Waage competed in Europe and broke all four of her own powerlifting records – yet again.
29. Ariel Rosenfeld completed the 246 km Spartathlon for the third time and overcame terrible weather to complete the event in a strong time.
30. Italian cyclist Paolo Barbon brought veganism to the streets as he completed an epic cycle trip from Rome to Turin to raise awareness.
31. An incredible statistic revealed itself as runner Catra Corbett closed in on her 100,000th mile in training and competition, enabling many to reflect on the scale of this achievement, achieved since Corbett swapped a life of alcohol and drugs for veganism and running. She's now passed the epic milestone.
32. Runner Fiona Oakes completed the Atacama crossing which she described as the toughest challenge yet with challenges in the form of hostile terrain, subzero temperatures, extreme heat and sand dunes. She won one of the stages.
33. Trail runner Alister Gardner completed an astonishing run to break the course record at Mont Bromont Ultra in one of the most impressive runs of his incredible career.
34. Australian veteran Powerlifter Glenda Presutti overcame several injuries to break three powerlfting records in a single meet. She competed against much younger women and amazed them all with her vegan strength.
35. Vegan duathlete Lisa Gawthorne competed in the European Championships and finished fifth in her age group.
36. Hulda B Waage competed in Europe and broke her own records yet again.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are prepared in the author's capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Plant Based News itself.Reuse this content
Great Vegan Athletes was set up to celebrate the incredible achievements of elite vegan athletes, and highlight that a vegan diet is in no way a hindrance to athletic excellence. The writers profile more than 100 top level athletes - including world champions and world record holders across a range of sports, as well as spreading news of their success. The site can be found at www.greatveganathletes.com and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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