Babe Ruth. OJ Simpson. Jesse Owens. Takeru Kobayashi. Michael Spitz.
All of these are great athletes, but one is not like the others. OJ Simpson, he’s locked up.
Each of these athletes had a period of dominance that was unparalleled in their sport, and became an icon in pop culture. I write this because I was lucky enough to meet Takeru Kobayashi a few days ago when he was in Southern California to partake in a taco eating contest. Of course he dominated, downing 81 in 10 minutes to smash the world record.
While competitive eating is not as popular a sport as baseball, football, track and field, or swimming, it is arguably even more impressive to dominate, since only a small portion of the population participates in each of those, while every human being on the planet eats. Except Roger Ebert, but he used to. So Kobayashi is dominant at an activity that 5 billion people do. That is simply amazing.
If you have the chance, go check him out. He’s the most dominant athlete of my lifetime, and the only one currently competing.
Oh yeah, he may look gay in that photo, but he’s not, he’s just foreign.