Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Down Goes Kobayashi! Down Goes Kobayashi!

It's beinng touted as "a great day" for America. Over 30,000 people crammed a few city blocks in New York City to watch participants stuff hot dogs and buns down their throats in the 92nd annual Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest. Joey Chestnut finally defeated Japan's Takeru Kobayashi, ending Kobayashi's six year reign in the competition, and bringing the title back to America.

Both athletes shattered Chestnut's previous world record of 59 and 1/3 - and the competition's record of 53 and 3/4. Chestnut finished with an incredible 66 hot dogs in 12 minutes, and Kobayashi finished at 63. And I thought 73 home runs was an accomplishment.

Making Kobayashi's total more impressive is his struggles with his jaw: Only a few days ago he allegedly could only open his mouth wide enough to fit two fingers inside. Nonetheless, he performed with the spirit of a champion. Down the stretch run it appeared he make have a Jordanesque performance - think the 1998 NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz - but ultimately he fell short to Chestnut.

The partisan crowd erupted when Chestnut was handed the Mustard Belt, but I'm more than a little upset. Kobayashi put the contest on the map - and ESPN - but it seemed nationalist feelings swept up the fans' hearts this July 4th. Without Kobayashi, I wouldn't have watched this contest the last four years. I only hope that "The Tsunami" comes back with a vengeance next year. Is 70 a possibility? Who knows.

But I'll definitely be watching.

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