American Madness

Intelligent Criticism in the Service of a Better Nation

Competitive Eating Scandal

Posted by Matt Cipriano | No Comments

It’s that time of year again, tomorrow is the Fourth of July, meaning it is also time for Nathan’s Famous 4th of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest. As per usual it will be at Coney Island and airing on ESPN, both at Noon.

The contestants for this year are a line up of the usual suspects including Joey Chestnut (the reigning champ), Tim ‘Eater X’ Janus, Sonya ‘The Black Widow’ Thomas, Crazy Legs Conti, and Takeru ‘The Tsunami’ Kobayashi.

Now here is the scandal that is rocking the competitive eating world right now: To qualify for the competition you must win a regional qualifier (unless you are the reigning champ, Joey Chestnut got a bye). Despite his impressive 6 first place finishes (from 2001-2006) and his second place finish last year, Kobayashi has not actually participated in a contest since October and has not competed in any of the regional qualifiers for the event.

Nathan’s has given him a ‘Sponsor’s Exemption,’ which, apparently, is not unheard of (the last one they gave was in 1929 to Stan Libnitz). The question remains, wil Kobayashi be a real competitor this year. After suffering from ‘Jawthritis’ last year, he still has not fully recovered and possibly made the condition worse during the turkey eating competition he was part of back in October.

For more on this check out the article in the Brooklyn Paper, which also includes some quotes from Georgre Shea, Chairman of Major LEague Eating and the announcer for the competition. Some of his better quotes are:

-”They say that competitive eating is the battleground upon which God and Lucifer wage war for men’s souls”

-”He is a man who understands nuance in a line like, ‘I shot the sheriff, but I didn’t shoot the deputy.’ What does that mean? You shot the sheriff, so does it really matter what you didn’t do to the deputy?”

-“He has eaten 46 hot dogs — one hot dog for every hot dog in 46 hot dogs.”


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