As entertaining and weird as eating contests are, the nastiness involved is always below the surface. Vomiting, gross faces, intestinal discomfort–but one thing that happily never happens often is death.
Unfortunately, that's not what happened this week in the Ukraine.
The European press is all over this tragedy, but the basic facts are such, at least according to the Guardian: 77-year-old Ivan Mendel had just eaten ten potato varenikis (Eastern European-style dumplings that originated from the Ukraine) in 30 seconds when he keeled over and died. A witness told newspapers that doctors on the scene said Mendel choked on his own vomit, a charge contest organizers strenuously deny.
And the prize Mendel had just claimed? A liter jar of sour cream–because sour cream and varenikis go as beautifully as tacos and salsa.