Do you think competitive eating would be considered a sport? Why or why not?

Do you think competitive eating would be considered a sport? Why or why not?

Case Study 1: What Does It Take to Be an Olympic Event?

The word sport is derived from an old French word desport, meaning leisure. Early use of the word sport during the 1300s meant amusement or diversion. The Cambridge online dictionary defines sport as “a game, competition, or activity needing or done according to rules, for enjoyment and/or as a job.”

The Tokyo Olympics plan to debut four new Olympic sports: surfing, sport climbing, skateboarding, and karate. While you might not be surprised by which ones made the cut and which ones did not, one still has to wonder: How do certain sports become Olympic events when others do not, and what is considered a sport under the IOC standards?

While these sports will debut at the Tokyo Games, it cannot be guaranteed that they will continue to be a part of future Olympiads. It is not uncommon for a sport to go away and then return. For instance, baseball officially made its Olympic debut in 1992, was removed after 2008, but will be back for the Tokyo Olympics. Sports like tennis, golf, skeleton, rugby, and curling have come and gone and then come back again. In fact, judo has left and come back to the Olympics a total of four times. To date, only four sports have consistently been a part of the modern Olympics since 1896: swimming, gymnastics, cycling, and fencing.

The Olympic charter states that in order to even be considered an Olympic event, the sport must be recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as a sport. The sport has to have an international federation that regulates the sport, and it must follow the rules set forth by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), as well as adhere to the Olympic Movement Code on the Prevention of Manipulation of Competitions. In addition, for men, the sport must be practiced, at minimum, by 75 countries and be played on at least 4 continents. For women, the sport has to be played by at least 40 countries and on 3 continents (International Olympic Committee n.d.).

Sometimes sports are brought on as exhibition sports for spectators to see before they are fully adopted to be Olympic events. Ultimately, the IOC executive board must recommend the sport to be included in the Olympic Games, and then the IOC session has to approve it.


  1. Based on the definition of sport, do you think competitive eating would be considered a sport. Why or why not?
  2. Which sports have been a part of the Olympics since 1896? What factors do you think contributed to their consistent efforts and existence in the Olympics?
  3. After reading the case study, do you think esports could potentially be included in future Olympiads? Why or why not?
  4. Chapter 2- Case Study: Tough Mudder, Spartan, and other Obstacle Course RacesIn February of 1978, naval officer John Collins, after lengthy debates with fellow colleagues about who was the most fit, was inspired to create the Ironman Triathlon. His solution was to create a race on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, that involved a 2.4-mile (3.86 km) rough-water swim, a 112-mile (180.25 km) bicycle ride, and a 26.22-mile (42.20 km or a marathon) run, raced in that order (Ironman 2020).The race garnered attention after a Sports Illustrated journalist, Barry McDermott, who was in Hawaii to cover a golf tournament, ended up covering the Ironman. In the next years, the competition went from 15 competitors to hundreds and then thousands. While the Ironman is acclaimed as one of the top endurance races in the world, there are alternatives for people who want to test their strength, endurance, and toughness without having to train for years to qualify for a race. These obstacle course races (OCRs) include the Tough Mudder and Spartan. OCRs are marketed to participants who are dedicated to health and fitness, are team oriented, and want to have fun. Participants do not need to dedicate their lives to training to be a part of the race (Dern 2018). Individuals can choose a weekend to go out and compete with friends or to make new friends during competitions. The races create an inclusive and participatory environment for all.While marathons and 5Ks are on the decline in the United States, some OCRs are attracting those who seek the intensity of the marathon, but not the monotony of running (Blom 2017). OCRs allow participants to have a thrilling experience, from crawling under barbed wire, to climbing a rope, to throwing a spear. No longer do you have the loneliness of running solo in a crowd, but you have the comradery of being lifted up (literally in some cases) and having the pleasure of participating with others who share a passion to push their physical limits (Fromm 2014). Accessibility, affordability, and camaraderie are what have helped brand this new wave of racing for future generations.Questions:
    1. Based on the case study, obstacle course races (OCRs) involve swimming, cycling, and running? True or False…. Regardless of the article content, what are your thoughts about including them as obstacle course races? What would be advantages and disadvantages?
    2. Endurance races are declining in participation, and obstacle course races are on the rise. Explain how the demographics of participants who are likely to compete in a triathlon, 5K or an obstacle race might be similar or different depending on factors like race, gender, age, education, profession, income level, etc. Find at least journal article or another credible source to support your response. After providing your response, be sure to list the source.


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