Wednesday, July 05, 2006
IFOCE Champion Defends Title at Coney Island
So what is the IFOCE Competition and how does it grab sports headlines over a world cup double overtime match between Italy and Germany?
I guess only us red blooded Americans would choose to ignore the sport of soccer, football to the rest of the world, in order to tune into the International Federation of Competitive Eating Contest. The contest is still held where it began some 87 years ago at Coney Island and it's still held on America's Independence Day of July 4th. However, the tiger woods of the contest the past six years has been a citizen of Japan who sports yellow-dyed hair, yellow Nathan's head band and weighs in at a mere 160 pounds (compared to competitor Eric “Badlands” Booker's 425 pounds.
Takeru Kobayashi won the contest for the sixth straight time by downing 53 3/4 Nathan's Hot Dogs in just twelve minutes setting a new world record. As with all reigning champions controversy "dogged" the event. Mild mannered competitor Joey Chestnut, 6-foot-1, 230lbs from San Jose,Ca., was the thorn in Kobayashi's side leading by as many as two hot dogs early in the competition.
Nearing the 50 hot dog mark is where the controversial snake reared its head. At that point in the competition Kobayashi suddenly appeared to regurgitate, a move that can result in automatic disqualification. Judge, Gersh Kuntzman, ruled in favor of Kobayashi with this "tuck rule-like" explanation:
"The effluvia never touched the table. When the hot dog came up, and some of it came out his nose, Kobayashi sucked it back down. To me, that's the testament of a champion and great athlete."
Welcome to the Raider Nation Joey. We understand what its like to have an official screw you out of a chance at a championship. Whether it be a "Tuck Rule" or "Effluvia", when you have to look up the rule in a book you know you've just been had, bamboozled, hood-winked.
For what it's worth, Joey Chestnut's 52 hotdogs was more than any American had eaten in previous competitions. No need to hang your head Joey, you did your best against an eating machine with a judges edge and media popularity.
As for that eating machine Kobayashi, you've gotta respect his dominating performance over the years. I'd like to someday see Kobayashi attend a Raiders game dressed in silver and black. He's shown pride and poise under pressure, committed to excellence and all he seems to do is "Win Baby."
Congratulations to Takeru Kobayshi, still International Federation of Competitive Eating Champion.
Tale of the Tapeworm
Takeru Kobayashi's hot dog-eating totals during his six-year July 4 winning streak:
2006 53 3/4
2004 53 1/2
2003 44 1/2
2002 50 1/2