This just in, Kobayashi Takeru is out of the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest!!
Regular readers of my blog will recall my post about the Kobayashi Takeru vs. Joey "Jaws" Chestnut on-going battle to be the hot dog eating champion of the world. At that time, I'd hinted that Kobayashi might not make it out to Coney Island due to the fact he was still mourning his mother's recent passing and might not be in the mental shape to compete.
Well this just in: Kobayashi is sitting out this year's championship-- but not for the reasons I predicted; but from a jaw injury. Read on:
Kobayashi: 'My jaw refused to fight'
The world's most famous competitive eater finally bit off more than he could chew.
Takeru "Tsunami" Kobayashi, who has won six straight Nathan's Famous hot dog eating contests, suffered a serious jaw injury while training for the July 4 event, according to Agence France-Presse.
The Japanese eating legend was diagnosed with jaw arthritis and can barely open his mouth. In an entry on his blog entitled "Occupational hazard,'' Kobayashi said: "My jaw refused to fight any more.'' "I feel ashamed that I couldn't notice the alarm bells set off by my own body,'' he said. "But with the goal to win another title with a new record, I couldn't stop my training so close to the competition. "I was continuing my training and bearing with the pain but finally I destroyed my jaw.''
Kobayashi, 29, set his first world record as a rookie in the Nathan's Famous contest in 2001. He ate 50 hot dogs in 12 minutes, nearly doubling the previous record. He upped the ante last year with 53¾.
Joey "Jaws" Chestnut of San Jose, Calif., recently broke that record by downing 59½ dogs in a Nathan's Famous regional qualifier, setting the stage for a showdown next month.
Kobayashi's injury puts his status in doubt, though he said on his blog that he wants to compete at Coney Island. "I want to be the pride of my mother,'' he said. Kobayashi's mother died earlier this year and he halted his competitive eating activities for several months while mourning.
A niche celebrity in Japan and America, Kobayashi still holds world records in many eating competitions, including hamburgers, bratwurst sausages, lobster rolls, cows' brains and rice balls. (link)
This must be a occupational injury but I look forward to Kobayashi speeding his way to good health so we can see the battle to end all battles (of eating) at some point soon. Godspeed!