Takeru Kobayashi is now the Lance Armstrong of gluttony.
But somehow, winning the "Tour de Franks" at Coney Island six consecutive times just doesn't have the same ring of achievement about it.
Conquering the mountains and hairpin turns of France on a bicycle is an immense test of athleticism and determination, and a feat to be eternally proud of. It's all about human achievement.
Choking down 53 and three-quarters hot dogs in the span of 12 minutes is simply revolting. It's all about human depravity.
Yet, this annual Fourth of July ode to overeating is increasingly treated as a legitimate sport. It's broadcast live on ESPN and reported on in the nation's sports pages.
How wrong is that? And what kind of message are we sending to a nation whose children are already struggling with obesity - that stuffing your face in a most disgusting manner is somehow related to the wide world of sports?
Consider, too, the global backdrop of the spectacle: a world of 6 billion-plus people, many of whom do not get enough to eat.
This isn't your father's harmless county-fair pie-eating contest. We're way past that. This is glorifying gluttons in the name of sport.
This isn't a sport. It's a freak show which, if it only involved some other sort of perversion, would be worthy of Jerry Springer.
Pairing it with America's birthday only adds to the indigestion.
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