An Olympic silver medalist from the 2012 London Games, 7-time U.S. National Champion, former world record holder and two-time Pan American gold medal winner, Dotsie Bausch has transitioned in full stride from professional athlete to influential advocate and a leading voice in sports technology, health, wellness and animal rights. In fact, Choose Veg recently named Bausch one of the “20 Badass Veg Women Who Are Making History.”
After spending 10 years as a member of the U.S. National Road Cycling Team, Bausch tried track cycling for the first time in 2007 and surprised by winning two national titles on the track that same year. Her success on the track continued as she was part of a world record-breaking ride along the way. In 2012, Bausch realized her dream of becoming an Olympian by competing on the track at the London Games where she won a silver medal in the team pursuit, a first for the United States.
(Press Officer) Gregston Van Pukeston: When did you first become involved with animal rights activism?
Dottie Bausch: If you desire to; I believe this story I wrote, called Fueled by Compassion, will be perfect for this question: http://www.compassion-champs.org/founder
GVP: How long have you been involved with the animal rights movement?
DB: About 2 years.
GVP: Was there a specific event you witnessed or experienced that inspired you to become vegan and an animal rights activist?
DB: Answer in my story above.
GVP: What is Silver Lining Animal Rescue and how are you involved?
DB: First off, we changed our name just a few weeks after we launched in February, as people were thinking we are an actual physical rescue, which we are not. Our new name is Compassion Champs.
Compassion Champs (www.compassion-champs.org) is a movement focused on education, advocacy and effective activism. Our goal is to be the “meat eaters” compassion “university,” if you will. There are many wonderful animal rights organizations out there doing incredible work. We do not want to re-invent the wheel. We want to offer a new, positive way for people to be introduced to plant based eating and saying no to cruelty. I feel some of the animal rights organizations are more of a vegan support group, but the horror of these animal videos and in your face approach turns off many meat eaters to hearing our message.
If we want to save animals, we have to present the information in a loving, supportive manner and allow people to take their own journey with the new information they have received. One of our first projects is using Champions in athletics, nutrition, medicine, physiology and disease prevention and creating a video series of these champs telling their unique, individual stories of going plant based. I believe that it is very powerful. l highlight personal stories that people can relate to, which eventually changes minds and open hearts.
GVP: Are you familiar with the Animal Liberation Front? If so, what is your opinion on what they do?
DB: Very brave, important, freedom fighters, liberators of all beings. I am big fan!
GVP: What is your opinion about animal rights activists who have been or are currently in prison for their actions?
DB: I am not big on judging anyone, but I very much respect what they stand for and really admire their conviction.
GVP: What is your opinion of the current animal rights movement and in what direction would you like to see the movement go ?
DB: I want it to rule the world in the very near future.
GVP: Have there been any projects that you have been a part of that focused on the animal rights issue that were really important to you in your work? If so, what would they be?
DB: YES, XMilk and our upcoming TV pilot. See below. Also, I am a speaker on behalf of the Humane League, where I speak at colleges across southern California on animal agriculture, health, environment and animal cruelty. I LOVE this volunteer work and feel like I am literally savings animals lives very directly, as I have many young people come up to me afterwards and say “I have always wanted to go veg and now I know its possible.”
Also, because of my background as a professional athlete and Olympian, I have young people come up and say to me “i have always wanted to be vegan, but I didn’t think it was possible because I am athlete.” This allows me to create one on one mentorships with these people and help guide them on their journey to becoming 100% plant based. Very exciting!
GVP: Is there anyone in the film, music, arts, politics, or sports, today that you either work with or admire in the movement?
DB: Ari Soloman, Jake Morton, Asher Brown to name a few. Ari has been integral in our Compassion Champs XMilk campaign. We are getting some great feedback and have had a few pro athletes step forward and are ready to go public denouncing their dairy sponsorships! Attached is our first letter and our third letter, if you want to share what XMilk is all about. Also, We are getting ready to film a TV pilot at Indraloka animal sanctuary with the very talented film maker, Asher Brown. Here it is: https://www.crowdrise.com/compassion-champs
GVP: How do you feel about the shuttering of the Ringling Brothers Circus, particularly the work of animal rights activists in helping accomplish this?
DB: Its about time and I worship these activists for their bravery and their steadfastness.
GVP: If someone wanted to become more involved in animal rights activism, what advice would you give them?
DB: Do your research, talk to people in the movement and make your own choices and decisions about what the best fit for you is. It is very important to match your personality type with the type of work you will do. Some of this work is not for the faint of heart, and you don’t want to go so deep into the horrors of it if you can’t quite handle that quite yet. Don’t be so hard on yourself in the beginning. Go leaflet with MFA or Humane League, come volunteer with us at Compassion Champs or start speaking up on social media.
It is ok if you need to ease yourself in. We are in the midst of a monumental animal holocaust and the reality of it all is staggeringly mind bending. The most important aspect is that you stay active for the long haul, so take it slow in the beginning if you need to and don’t berate yourself if you can’t handle some of the awfulness right away.
GVP: Is there anything else you would like to add?
DB: Yes, I would like to add how I feel on a plant based diet and how it got me to the Olympic Games just a few months shy of my 40th bday:-)
I often wish I could infuse the euphoric feeling and the vitality that us plant based eaters experience everyday, into others, so they could experience just for a fleeting moment this extraordinary state of being, because then they would never, ever go back to eating animals!
When I began my plant-based journey, I was already a professional athlete, about half way through my career in cycling. I came to cycling very late in the game, at the age of 26, so by the time I began leaving all animals and animal products off my plate, I was in my mid-thirties. To say I had to focus on premium, optimal recovery at that age is an understatement. Most of my competitors were in their early twenties and my teammates were too. As we age our cellular regeneration slows down, and the time it takes to repair from an injury, a workout session, or even a sunburn seems to take forever compared to what it used to. I was in a constant battle to recover as fast as my teammates so that I could be strong and ready for the next day’s training.
The #1 thing I noticed going plant based, almost immediately, was that my repair process, my recovery process sped up so abruptly, that I began to recover in half the time of some of teammates! It was jaw dropping the speed at which I would be ready for another pounding workout. Right before the Olympic Games, I was literally sitting on the track bored and yawning waiting for my team mates to recover in between intervals.
In 2012, at the age of 39½, I stood on the Olympic podium, the oldest competitor in history in my specific discipline.
Bausch’s hard fought journey to the Olympic Games is shared in the documentary film “Personal Gold” (www.personal-gold.com), which follows four underdog women who became America’s hope for a cycling medal following the withdraw of Lance Armstrong’s teammates from the London Games. The film premiered throughout 2015 at international film festivals worldwide and won numerous awards.
While Bausch has scored major victories on the bike, perhaps her greatest victory came from resurrecting her own life from the depths of severe eating disorders, which threatened to take her life 20 years ago after a promising modeling career in New York City. It was during her recovery that she discovered her passion for cycling. Bausch’s inspiring personal story has been chronicled in the media and she makes herself available to support women and men around the world in their battle to return to healthy eating and living habits through her free mentorship program. In 2012, Bausch was named the National Ambassador for NEDA (The National Eating Disorders Association). Additionally, she serves as a mentor for young women eyeing the professional ranks through the Network for Advancing Athletes and is an executive board member for the Women’s Cycling Association.
Bausch’s most proud passion is her staunch advocacy and tireless work on behalf of animal rights. As a vegetarian athlete, Bausch stood on top of the podium at the Olympic Games just five months shy of her 40th birthday, the oldest athlete ever in her discipline. Now as a vegan athlete, Bausch speaks around the world on the many health benefits of plant-based eating for athletes and anyone who wants to feel young and have endless energy and vitality. She is a vociferous supporter and volunteer at Mercy for Animals and is in the midst of creating an educational, adventure-based reality TV show that follows the anatomy of farm animal rescue. Bausch has a popular TEDx talk titled “Olympic Level Compassion,” which can be viewed on her website and has already garnered over 100,000 views. Bausch believes we create the world we want to live in every day by our choices. One of the most readily available choices we can make is with our daily food. We have the power to create a cruelty-free world by selecting vegan options. Bausch often talks about being vegan as an aspiration to live as kindly and compassionately as possible, and as an opportunity to live in alignment with our core values and beliefs.
In addition to her advocacy in cycling, eating disorders and animal rights, the Louisville, Kentucky native is also a color commentator on the NBC Sports Network and a motivational speaker. Alongside her husband, Kirk, she co-owns Bausch Haus Inc., a consultancy focused on sports technology market development, sales forecasting, data mining and analysis, and creating efficient growth solutions. Bausch resides in Irvine, California with her three dogs (two blind and one sited) Minnie, Yodi and Lola.