Wendy Gabbe - Basketball
Hometown: Eugene, OR
Current Residence: Portland, OR
Pro/Elite since: 1999
Date of Birth: 1/11/81
Favorite fruit: grapes, bananas and cherries
Favorite veggie: snap peas, cherry tomatoes and cucumbers straight from the garden
Hobbies/Other sports: Soccer, hiking, biking, running, cooking and traveling
1.When and why did you choose to stop eating animal products?
I made the decision straight from the womb. Actually, my parents decided to become vegetarians about 30 years ago and raised my older brother and me in that way. When I was 5 or 6 years old my family went all vegan and I've lived that lifestyle ever since. My dad was always cooking up yummy vegan dishes and so my friends always wanted to come over to my house to eat!
2.What has been your experience as a vegan athlete? Have you noticed any performance or health benefits or problems?
The only problem I encountered was finding vegan food while on the road with my college basketball team. I never knew which steak house we'd visit pre-game or what fast food we'd pick up after the game. So, I'd have to travel prepared. My bag was usually the heaviest on the team's because it was full of home-made power bars, granola and fruit. In terms of performance, I found I had more energy and endurance than my meat-eating teammates. Who would've thought a pre-game steak might make ya sluggish?
3.Have teammates and other athletes been supportive or critical?
The majority of my teammates didn't understand why I was 'torturing' myself by not consuming the foods they feasted on. But I saw this as a challenge to stay the course and feel great about it! One of my teammates, also my best friend, became a vegetarian as well.
4. A brief history of your athletic career.
I grew up playing a lot of different sports, but fell in love with basketball at a very early age. It was so fun playing high school ball that I couldn't wait to take my game to the next level. Towards the end of my high school career I signed with NCAA Division 1 UC Irvine and played for the women's basketball team for four years and was a starter 3 ' of those years. After graduating I got involved with running and biking and now love to compete in duathlons.
5. Most memorable results or achievements
1st team NCAA Big West Conference, CA (2002-03)
1st place state of Oregon Championship basketball team (1999)
4th place Mid-summer duathlon, Portland, OR (2006)
Top Ten all-time women's basketball scorers, UC Irvine ('99-'03)
6. Why did you join OA's PRO-Activist team?
After reading about the organization and the phenomenal athletes involved (and that they were all vegan too!), I knew I had to be a part of it. I love the idea of promoting a vegan lifestyle through athletic pursuits.