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Vegan Strong PlantBuilt Team Triumphs at the Mr. America Competition Scoring Record First Place Wins

By Susan Peters

Credit: Mr. America Competition

The Vegan Strong PlantBuilt Team of more than 20 vegan athletes from around the world recently competed in the 2022 Mr. America competition in Atlantic City and earned top honors in multiple sports. Scoring a total of 18 medals – eight first place, five second place, and five third place -- the vegan team battled against top athletes in Bodybuilding, Powerlifting, Kettlebell Sport, and CrossFit.

While the team expected to do well overall, the number of wins was a pleasant surprise. Having not competed before at this show, the founders felt the team had a great opportunity to have a tremendous impact. Even so, many competitors and the announcer seemed amazed that vegans could compete and win at this level.

“This is our 5th time competing together as the world’s largest team of vegan strength athletes. The Vegan Strong PlantBuilt team continues to take home most of the medals and break records,” said Giacomo Marchese, PlantBuilt co-founder, “Proving once again that plants have all the protein you need to be strong, healthy, and competitive at the highest levels.”

Credit: Mr. America Competition

Leading the wins was Australian Noah Hannibal, a gold medalist and national bench press record holder at the APU Australian National Masters Championship 2022, a gold medalist in the heavyweight division at the 2021 Oceana Championships, and a vegan for more than 30 years. Breaking the Australian masters bench press record, Noah Hannibal pressed a whopping 182.5Kg (402.34 lbs.) in the 125 kg Men’s Masters Bench Only Raw to take first place.

Americans Nick Squires and Ndem Nkem also won their respective divisions in the 100 kg and 140 kg Men’s Open Raw category squatting 584 lbs., benching 374 lbs., and deadlifting 634 lbs.

Credit: Vegan Strong PlantBuilt Team

Bodybuilding showcased the Vegan Strong PlantBuilt team strength with the athletes collecting the most medals. Nadege Corcoran succeeded in winning the title of Ms. America with two first places in both the Women’s Bikini Open and the Women’s Bikini Masters earning her Pro Card in multiple organizations.

Ed Bauer won 2nd in the Men's Physique Master while Tiffany Burich placed 2nd in Women's Figure Masters. PlantBuilt Founder Giacomo Marchese took home two bronze medals in Men's Bodybuilding Open and Men's Bodybuilding Masters.

Powerlifter Katya Gorbacheva earned 2nd in the 75.0 kg Women’s Open Raw with a final deadlift of 385 lbs. Brittany Billings also took 2nd in the 82.5 kg Women's Open Raw benching 165 lbs. Daniel Austin placed 3rd in the 82.5 kg Men's Open Raw with a total of 1302 pounds lifting at just 175 pounds of body weight.

Five-time Kettle Bell champion Scott Green racked up two first-place wins in the 5-minute long cycle and the 5-minute snatch. Kelly Green, Scott Green’s teammate, also won first in the 5-minute snatch.

Sally Anderson took first place in the women’s masters division of CrossFit. Sophie Brock took 2nd in the Women’s RX and Kody Kowalowski earned third in the Men’s RX in CrossFit.

As impressive as their athletic performances were, the athletes’ impact extended well beyond the competition floor. Healthy, strong athletes with formidable physiques wandered through the casino venue, Atilis gym, the Atlantic City Boardwalk, and anywhere there was vegan food. The athletes proudly wore shirts and sweatshirts adorned with the Vegan Strong PlantBuilt logos and “Vegan Strong Team” spanning their backs. This vegan show of force had many people reconsidering their beliefs about what vegans looked like.

George Matthews, CrossFit team captain remembers, “I was sitting outside with some of the powerlifters when a young man stopped and asked to take a picture with us. He told us that he was vegan, and people always gave him a hard time about vegans being weak. He wanted to take a picture with us to show everyone what strong vegans looked like. That was a moment I’ll always remember.”

Credit: Rafael Avcioglu

Those same powerlifters set impressive records while being announced as the “VeganStrong PlantBuilt team” every time they walked on stage in front of hundreds of live fans, and thousands more on the livestream. They were living proof that you can be competitive at the highest levels of sports by being a compassionate vegan.

Vegan Strong Plant Built 2022 Team

PlantBuilt was created in 2012 as a collective for vegan athletes desiring to educate their communities that you can be an elite athlete having strength, health, wellness, and compassion without harming animals. Teams have competed in national natural bodybuilding competitions from 2013-2017 when they took a hiatus. With the popularity of plant-based eating rising, the founders felt it was time to bring back PlantBuilt in conjunction with Vegan Strong, another team of athletes dedicated to educating fitness enthusiasts about the benefits of plant-based eating to meet fitness goals.

See action from the event on Instagram @VeganStrongTeam and @plantbuilt


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