Vegan athlete Lisa Gawthorne, representing the Great Britain duathlon team, took gold in the European Championships in Venice last month.
In her last major competition, the World Championships in Romania in 2022, Gawthorne maxed out at bronze medal. But this year’s win comes as Gawthorne reached another important milestone: 20 years as a vegan.
Aptly, Gawthorne completed the race – which consisted of a 4.7km run, a 23km cycle, and a final 2.8km run – in a uniform reading “go vegan.”
The power of plants
Crediting her plant-based diet as playing a “significant part” in her gold medal victory, she revealed why veganism and athleticism go hand-in-hand.
“I am so happy! I’ve worked so hard with my run and bike coaches for this and it’s just the most amazing feeling and the best-ever reward,” Gawthorne, also a nutritionist and author, told Plant Based News.
“I love that it’s sparked so many stories and communications with me about veganism too – it’s my 20th veganniversary so what better way to celebrate that than with a European win to prove that veganism has a very valid place for supporting peak performance in sport, fitness, and athletics.”
Gawthorne announced her gold medal win on Instagram, making sure to include “vegan,” “vegan strong,” and “vegan athlete” hashtags.
Influencing teammates to try plant-based
Having noted improvements in her own performance and health, Gawthorne has encouraged her teammates to try a plant-based diet for themselves. Offering advice and access to easily digestible information, she claims that many have transitioned to veganism.
In a further bid to make plant-based nutrition accessible, Gawthorne runs vegan food company Bravura Foods.
Gold medal performances from vegan athletes
Gawthorne is not alone in delivering inspiring sporting performances on a plant-based diet.
From bodybuilders to tennis players, racing drivers and almost every sport in between, vegan athletes are becoming increasingly mainstream. So much so that Japan faced calls to make catering options in the 2021 Tokyo Olympian Village all plant-based. The move was requested to give sports people access to “clean” protein sources.