From 2 May 2006 – Competitive Eating

Published July 28, 2010 by tootingtrumpet

This piece was written for sports journalism students asking them to think about what is and what isn’t sport.

But is it sport?

The article linked at http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200605/competitive-eating stops just short of sneering at the rednecks and is (thus) a fine piece of feature writing. (If the link doesn’t work because it’s my subscription, e-mail me).
It does raise the question about what can be defined as sport (see this quote – “Eventually, said Rich, he and his brother hoped to convert eating from a hobby into a professional sport, like bass fishing. “That’s sort of the curve we’re looking at,” Rich said. He didn’t mention it, but in 2001 the bass-fishing league was sold to ESPN for a purported $35 million. “)

Sport can’t be defined as that which does you good (think boxing, weightlifting, “women’s” gymnastics, motor racing etc), nor that which has a physical dimension (think snooker, curling, darts etc), nor that which is sanctioned as sport (what of new sports like snowboarding etc?) I can’t believe competitive eating can be a sport (that would be too much to … er… swallow), but I would not be surprised. After all, the winner is a bit more obviously the winner than the best pair in the ice dancing.

Find out more at http://www.ifoce.com/ and for the record have your prejudices challenged by reading about the world ranked numbers one and two at http://www.ifoce.com/eaters.php?action=detail&sn=22 and http://www.ifoce.com/eaters.php?action=detail&sn=20

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