Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Will Kobayashi Compete This Year?
Takeru "Tsunami" Kobayashi, the Nathan's Famous Hot dog Eating Champion, may be a no show at this year's July 4th, Coney Island competition organized by the International Federation Of Competitive Eating.
Yes IFOCE fans and competitors, the "Human Tsunami" claims to have over-trained, causing a temporary arthritic condition in his jaw. The reigning champion says that he can't even open wide enough to get a pinky between his lips.
To many fans of this borderline sport, Kobayashi is a legend. He's the one who put eating competitions on the sports map. Fans anticipate his annual July 4th, Coney Island visits with the giddiness of children waiting for Kris Kringle on December 24th. Imagine Santa being sidelined for the Xmas holidays with a sore back and having the Easter Bunny fill in for him. That's what it'll be like come fourth of july should Kobayashi not appear and some last year runner up walk away with the belt.
Speaking of runner-ups, one of Kobayashi's past victims, Joey "Jaws" Chestnut of San Jose, Calif., isn't happy at all about the champs purported condition. Jaws recently broke the champs 53 3/4 hot dog eating record of last year by downing 59½ dogs in a Nathan's Famous regional qualifier. And as the saying goes, "To Be The Champ, You Have To Beat The Champ." So Jaws isn't buying the case of the arthritic jaw and is continuing to train as if Kobayashi will show to defend his belt.
In the meantime, yes Virginia, there is still a Santa Claus, but the man from Japan wearing the big belt and yellow headband ain't him. That's Kobayashi, the "Human Tsunami."