Legendary track and field athlete Carl Lewis announced that he’s been fueled by a mostly plant-based diet for more than two decades now. The Olympic gold medalist claims that his plant-based diet has helped his performance for the last 25 years, providing him with enough protein to keep up a rigorous athletic lifestyle. In his epic track career, Lewis was a nine-time Olympic gold medalist and won 10 World Championships, ranking him as one of the top athletes of the century. Anyone who watched him run was left in awe.

The announcement accompanies Lewis’s upcoming partnership with Silk. He will act as one of Silk’s spokespeople, featuring on Original and Unsweet cartons of soymilk nationwide. The partnership showcases Lewis’s love for plant-based eating and helping him share a message about the connection between plant-based health and physical wellness.

“I’m excited to join Silk Team Protein! I’ve been eating a mostly plant-based diet for over 25 years, which supported me on the track over the years and now my lifestyle,” Lewis told Plant Based News. “Plus, it helps support the planet. I get high quality and complete protein from soymilk, which is a great fuel source after I have an intense workout (especially as I’m training for 300 at 60!).”

Vegan athletes continue to break down stereotypes about how to get enough protein on a plant-based diet, as The Game Changers documentary showed back in September of 2019. As the Tokyo Games get closer, a group of vegan  Team USA athletes is petitioning the Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) to stop promoting dairy through the international event.

Silver medalist Olympian Dotsie Bausch, the oldest ever cyclist to podium in her sport, at age 39 and a half, sent an open letter to USOPC attempting to persuade the organization to reconsider its championing of dairy products. Bausch goes on to say that the USOPC ‘failed to take seriously the health concerns’ that she highlighted last year, hoping that her letter will draw the health issues into the international spotlight.

“In October 2020, a total of nine Team USA athletes sent you a letter regarding unhealthy cow’s milk’s prominent role in Team USA culture,” Bausch’s letter states. “That letter included National Institute of Health lactose intolerance and malabsorption statistics. Those statistics highlight that up to 95 percent of [people of color] are disproportionately affected by lactose intolerance. This puts them at high risk for suffering from painful and debilitating symptoms. That letter also included numerous scientific research studies about the deleterious effects of cow’s milk. Instead of considering the statistics and science that we presented, you quickly dismissed it as ‘opinion.’ With all due respect, science is a fact, not an opinion.”

The athletic world is becoming more plant-based every year, showing sports fans globally that ditching meat will not jeopardize your health, wellness, or athleticism. From surfer Tia Blanco to football superstar Tom Brady, athletes across the board are displaying the potential of plant-based eating. With more Olympians using their platform to promote a healthy, plant-based diet, the way our world looks at food and strength is rapidly changing.