Alexey Voyevoda, a Russian bobsledder who garnered gold at this year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, talked about the benefits of veganism in an interview with People for the Ethical Treatment. Voyevoda notes that he first eliminated meat from his dinner plate for health reasons three-and-a-half years ago, but he came to recognize the ethical upside of his diet. “I love happy, living animals,” he says. The bobsledder, who is also a world-champion arm wrestler, says that a plant-based diet keeps him light, flexible, and healthy. “My body has become lighter, so to say ‘clearer,’” he says, “[Also] in my profession, flexibility and elasticity are incredibly important, and I increased both of these. And…now I almost never suffer from a cold or flu.” Voyevoda is not the only vegan athlete to take home a medal from the 2014 winter games. Cruelty-free Canadian Meagan Duhamel won silver in the team figure skating event earlier this month.