Thursday, July 05, 2007

The end of a hot dog-eating dynasty

People who know me are often surprised at my almost complete apathy to virtually all forms of spectator sports. That said, I must confess a virtually morbid fascination with the annual Fourth of July Nathan's Hot dog Competition.

I've long followed the magnificent exploits of Takeru Kobayashi, the six-time world champion of this august event. Kobayashi both dazzles and inspires. Although he's gained weight over the past few years, part of the miracle of his performances is his relatively diminutive size. The ease with which he consumes hot dog after hot dog (buns included) is breathtaking. I am almost moved to learn Japanese so as to ingest the words of his blog in the original.

This is not to say that his career has been unmarred by controversy. As in all elite athletic endeavors, allegations of "doping" have been raised. Why should hot dog-eating contests be free of such peccadillos?

It has been alleged, though to my knowledge never proven, that he has augmented his athletic prowess with the performance-enhancing drug Reglan, a gastric motility agent. Certainly my world-view would be shaken were incontrovertible evidence to this effect made public. Until such time however, my respect for this man is thus far undiminished.

Sadly, it now appears that his lengthy reign as hot dog-eating champion of the world has come to an end. Despite a blistering exhibition of 63 hot dogs consumed in a 12 minute period, Kobayashi was bested by one Joey Chestnut who, and I'm dizzy actually relating this, ate 69 hot dogs. Oh to have witnessed this event live! The rarefied air of Coney Island must have swelled with electricity as these titans worked their magic at the very threshold of human capacity:
The two gustatory gladiators quickly distanced themselves from the rest of the 17 competitors, processing more beef than a slaughterhouse within the first few minutes. The two had each downed 60 hot dogs with 60 seconds to go when Chestnut - the veins on his forehead extended - put away the final franks to end Kobayashi's reign.
The veins on my forehead are extended just imagining this. Perhaps I shall now have to engage Mr. Chestnut as my new model of athleticism yet it would be with great reluctance.

I can never so easily relinquish my regard for the great Takeru Kobayashi.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a sad day that was. Kobayashi was the man.

July 09, 2007 8:29 PM  

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