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[SPORTS] Takeru Kobayashi of Japans wins Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest

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  • madchinaman
    Hot dog eating record shattered http://www.cnn.com/2001/US/07/04/hotdog.contest/ CONEY ISLAND, New York (CNN) -- Nearly doubling the world record, Takeru
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 5, 2003
      Hot dog eating record shattered
      http://www.cnn.com/2001/US/07/04/hotdog.contest/

      CONEY ISLAND, New York (CNN) -- Nearly doubling the world record,
      Takeru Kobayashi of Japan consumed 50 hot dogs in 12 minutes to win
      the 86th annual Nathan's Famous Fourth of July hot dog eating
      contest.

      Kobayashi, of Nagano, Japan -- 23 years old and weighing in at 131
      pounds -- defeated fellow Japanese competitor Arai Saitama, who
      placed second by eating 31 hot dogs, also breaking the record he set
      last year of 25 1/8.

      "For the Japanese it is a day of extraordinary success," declared
      moderator George Shea.

      Kobayashi competed against 19 others from the United States, Japan,
      Germany, Canada and England. All were required to qualify through a
      series of regional contests.

      "The hot dog eating contest is not only a beautiful display of
      athleticism, it is a fundamental way for citizens of all nations to
      display patriotism," said Wayne Norbitz, president of Nathan's
      Famous.

      Kobayashi will receive a trophy, a year's supply of Nathan's hot
      dogs, and the coveted mustard yellow international belt.

      The Fourth of July hot dog eating contest has been held at Nathan's
      Famous on the corner of Surf and Stillwell avenues in Coney Island
      each year since 1916, when Nathan Handwerker took the advice of
      Eddie Cantor and Jimmy Durante and invested $300 to open a hot dog
      restaurant.

      ==============

      TAKERU KOBAYASHI • Speed Eater
      http://www.who2.com/takerukobayashi.html

      Kobayashi is the three-time winner of the Nathan's Famous
      frankfurter eating contest held each 4th of July at Coney Island in
      New York. In 2001, his first year in the competition, Kobayashi ate
      50 hot dogs in 12 minutes, shattering the existing record of 25 hot
      dogs set the previous year by his countryman Kazutoyo Arai.
      (Kobayashi, 5'7" and 131 pounds, gained eight pounds in the 12
      minutes of the competition.) Kobayashi won again in 2002 (50 and one-
      half dogs) and in 2003 (44 and one-half dogs). His startling chow
      prowess made Kobayashi an international celebrity; in 2002 he won a
      made-for-TV eating competition called Glutton Bowl #1, and in 2003
      lost a hot dog-eating contest to a Kodiak bear on the show Man vs.
      Beast.

      Extra credit: Kobayashi's special technique has been called
      the "Solomon method" -- breaking each hot dog in two, then stuffing
      both halves in his mouth... Kobayashi's opponents at the 2003
      Nathan's competition included former NFL star William "The
      Refrigerator" Perry, who dropped out after eating a mere four hot
      dogs.

      ==================

      Hotdog Eating Contest World Champion Takeru Kobayashi
      http://www.kidzworld.com/site/p1015.htm

      Hotdogs may have been invented in America - but when it comes to
      eating them, the Japanese are the best on the planet. At the 2001
      World Hotdog Eating Championships on July 4th, Takeru Kobayashi
      pounded 50 hotdogs in just 12 minutes to set a new world record!
      That's more than one dog every 15 seconds!
      What's even more amazing is that Takeru Kobayashi isn't some big fat
      slob like Homer Simpson. Takeru is a lean, mean, 131 pound, eating-
      machine who had to beat out 19 other hard core eaters from around
      the globe. His nearest opponent was Arai Saitama (also of Japan) who
      wolfed down 31 hotdogs in 12 minutes. For being the world champion,
      Takeru Kobayashi picked up a trophy, the championship belt and most
      importantly a years supply of hotdogs.

      =============

      Move over, Tiger
      By Darren Rovell
      ESPN.com
      http://espn.go.com/page2/s/rovell/020705.html

      BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- At 8:01 a.m. Thursday, Megumi Suzuki and her six
      friends were the first to nudge the barricades set up at the corner
      of Surf and Stillwell to keep the crowd from getting too close to
      the competitors at Coney Island. Despite the fact the event was not
      scheduled to take place for four hours, the action was
      understandable, given that they had traveled more than 6,500 miles,
      with their video cameras in tow, primarily to see this.


      Takeru Kobayashi dons the coveted Mustard Yellow Championship belt.
      "We call him 'Prince,' " said Suzuki, of the man they came to see.
      They know he already has a girlfriend, but they giggle at the
      mention of his name just like the girls who scream and dream for
      Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.

      Their heartthrob is Takeru Kobayashi, a svelte-looking professional
      competitive eater from Japan who won his second consecutive Nathan's
      Famous international hot dog eating contest and the coveted Mustard
      Yellow Championship belt on Thursday afternoon. In the process, he
      surpassed his incredible record of 50 hot dogs and buns -- set last
      year -- by a half a wiener, and made his nearest competitor,
      Eric "Badlands" Booker, who only ate 26 hot dogs and buns, look like
      an anorectic.

      Last year, when Kobayashi doubled the previous record held by
      countryman and three-time champ Kazutoyo Arai, the event's promoters
      had to scribble along with each hot dog he ate, since they only made
      numbers -- which are flashed to the crowd -- through 30. This year,
      finally realizing that they were dealing with one of the most
      dominant athletes of all time, the numbers went into the high 60s.

      "I myself compared him to Tiger Woods last year," said Rich Shea,
      president of the International Federation of Competitive Eating
      (IFOCE), which sanctions 50 events each year. "I've often heard
      people say he's the Michael Jordan of eating. But I think to
      associate Michael Jordan with Kobayashi is a slight against
      Kobayashi ... if you look at the margins with which this guy wins."

      In the first three minutes of this year's competition, Kobayashi ate
      18 hot dogs. A minute and half later, he was beating Booker by 18. A
      little more than five minutes in, he beat Booker's U.S. record of
      28, freshly established a month ago. He then proceeded to eat 3.3
      hot dogs a minute for the final six minutes, a pace that no
      competitor could keep up with after the first three minutes of
      eating.

      "You don't see Jordan always scoring twice as much as the next
      closest scorer," said Mike Gross, a 28-year-old from Hoboken, N.J.,
      who was holding a sign with "Kobe" written on it.

      "I'm a huge Boston Celtics fan and last night I went back and
      watched the tape of Kobayashi last year from the Fourth of July,"
      said Crazy Legs Conti, who holds the record for oyster eating (168
      in 10 minutes), but could only muster 18 hot dogs at Coney
      Island. "Then I watched Larry Bird in the 1986 playoff series and at
      the end of the night, (it was obvious who is better)."

      Many who qualified for the contest and witnessed Kobayashi's act
      last year knew they were just coming for the free trip and free
      food. But Booker says he believes that Kobayashi can be beaten.
      Booker changed eating methods after seeing the way Kobayashi broke
      the hot dogs in half and shoved them into his mouth last year. His
      next step, he says, is to look more like Kobayashi.

      That won't be easy. He weighed 430 pounds three months ago, but
      claimed -- before the contest -- that he was down to 400. "What I
      plan on doing after this contest is to lose as much as Kobe weighs,
      and I'm going to be so awesome, I'm going to be unbelievable," said
      the 35-year-old who holds the world egg-eating title, having
      devoured 38 hard-boiled eggs in eight minutes.

      Kobayashi's not sweating anything Booker tries. Although he says
      that he's worried another Japanese eater might eventually take his
      title, there's no American who has even come close. Edward "Cookie"
      Jarvis, the IFOCE 2001 Rookie of the Year, ate a 72-ounce steak and
      sides in 20 minutes. But the 6-foot-6, 400-something-pounder only
      finished 17 hot dogs at the competition.

      Don Schaefer, an executive chef from Myrtle Beach, S.C., quit his
      job to train 24 hours a day for the event last September after
      seeing Kobayashi last year. He dropped 105 pounds and then gained 45
      back by eating 25 hot dogs a day for three months. Despite going
      through all the trouble of expanding his stomach and having
      precautionary blood work done every two weeks, he only managed to
      devour 12. Kobayashi swallowed 12 in two minutes and 40 seconds.

      Although there's plenty of momentum stateside for the 6-year-old
      International Federation of Competitive Eating (IFOCE), the sport is
      much bigger in Japan, where cooking and eating shows are among the
      highest-rated television programs.

      "I'm so glad that some people even consider that I am the top
      athlete in this field," said Kobayashi, through his translator
      Hiroshi Kumatani. "I never met Ichiro before, but he is one of my
      role models and I'm aiming to be like him."

      Kobayashi reportedly makes between $150,000 and $250,000 a year.
      Four things make Kobayashi the champion that he is: youth, body
      makeup, strategy and confidence.

      Being the second youngest competitor in the contest at 24 is the
      easy part. And having the gift of a swift tongue or esophagus -- or
      whatever makes his internal plumbing function so efficiently -- is
      strictly a matter of genetics.

      As far as strategy goes, others have mimicked his "Solomon" method --
      where he breaks the hot dog in half -- but none of them do it as
      well as he does. He also seems to have the skinny thing down pat.
      Despite gaining almost seven pounds in 12 minutes from the contest,
      he said he's never weighed more than 148 pounds.

      "I eat a lot only for the competitions, not in daily life,"
      Kobayashi said. "That's how I manage my weight. A month before the
      contest, I begin to expand my stomach by eating and drinking more
      than usual. Right before the contest, I don't eat anything."

      Mentally, Kobayashi is No. 1.

      He was the last competitor to leave his hotel room in the morning
      for the bus trip from Manhattan to Coney Island. Alone in his hotel
      room, he says, he practices image training -- focusing on images of
      himself succeeding.

      It must work. As Kobayashi finished his final chews and held back
      his "winning meal" long enough so as not to regurgitate and get
      disqualified, a realization seemed to come over him -- much like a
      red-shirted Tiger while walking up the green on the 18th on a Sunday
      on his way to another Grand Slam victory. And just like Tiger, he
      could finally allow himself to enjoy it.

      Tiger already has his stable of super fans. But if no challenger
      comes along soon on the competitive eating circuit, Megumi Suzuki
      and her friends will have to show up a bit earlier each year.

      Darren Rovell, who covers sports business for ESPN.com, can be
      reached at darren.rovell@....

      -----

      Takeru Kobayashi
      nutritional info
      According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, the average
      American eats 70 hot dogs a year. Takeru Kobayashi ate 50½ hot dogs
      in 12 minutes. The following are estimates based on average hot dog
      statistics.

      Hot dogs: 180 calories X 50½ = 9,090 calories

      Buns: 140 calories X 50½ = 7,070 calories

      Total calories: 16,160 (percentage of daily allowance: 708)

      Fat from hot dogs: 13 grams X 50½ = 656½ grams (percentage of daily
      allowance: 895)

      Fat from buns: 2½ grams of fat X 50½ = 126¼ (191.3 percent)

      Sodium: 450 milligrams X 50½ = 22¾ grams (percentage of daily
      allowance: 848)

      =================

      Kobayashi's speedy gluttony rattles foes
      Associated Press
      http://espn.go.com/gen/news/2001/0704/1222429.html


      Hot dog No. 48 barely slowed Takeru Kobayashi's remarkable pace.

      NEW YORK -- A man inhaled a record 50 hot dogs in just 12 minutes
      Wednesday to destroy his stunned competition in the annual Nathan's
      frankfurter eating contest.

      Takeru Kobayashi of Japan, in his first-ever attempt at the contest,
      left competitors with their jaws agape as he knocked back more than
      four dozen franks with obvious relish.

      The 5-foot-7, 131-pound Kobayashi surpassed the old record of 25 in
      just 5 minutes, 13 seconds. Kobayashi didn't stop until he had
      doubled that number, complete with the buns.

      Eyewitnesses said it was by far the most amazing performance since
      the annual Fourth of July contest began in 1916.

      "I have never seen anything like this before," said Tom Maher, a
      spokesman for the Nathan's-sponsored International Federation of
      Competitive Eating. "He has truly redefined the sport."

      Kobayashi, 23, employed a technique dubbed "the Solomon method" --
      snapping the hot dogs in half, then shoving both pieces into his
      mouth. By the end of the 12-minute event, the rest of the 19-member
      field had stopped eating to watch Kobayashi.

      The runner-up was last year's winner, Kazutoyo Arai of Japan, who
      knocked down 31 hot dogs. Arai had set the record of 25 during last
      year's contest.

      For dessert, Kobayashi ate two more hot dogs while posing for
      pictures and camera crews at the Coney Island event. Through an
      interpreter, the new champion bragged that he could knock off
      another twenty hot dogs.

      Thankfully, no one took him up on the offer.

      ============

      Takeru Kobayashi
      From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
      http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Takeru_Kobayashi

      Takeru Kobayashi (born 1978) is a Japanese man who holds the world
      record for hotdog eating. On July 4, 2001, he ate 50 of them in 12
      minutes at the Nathan's Coney Island eating challenge, shattering
      the previous record of 25. The following year, he broke his own
      record by eating 50 and a half. Nobody else has come close to his
      record.

      ==============

      Japanese champ keeps hot-dog title
      Kobayashi retains the coveted mustard-colored belt
      http://www.cnn.com/2002/US/07/04/hotdog.fourth/

      CONEY ISLAND, New York (CNN) -- Japanese champion Takeru Kobayashi
      retained his title Thursday in Nathan's Famous Fourth of July
      International Hot Dog Eating Contest, downing 50-and-a-half hot dogs
      in 12 minutes. (More Fourth of July events around the country)

      He bested his own 2001 world record of 50 dogs in 12 minutes.

      "Feels good," he said.

      Finishing second, Eric "Badlands" Booker of Copaigue, New York, who
      ate 26 hot dogs.

      The 24-year-old Kobayashi of Nagano, Japan, led a field of
      contenders representing the United States, Canada, Germany and
      Thailand.

      Kobayashi, who weighed in Wednesday at 113 pounds with the coveted
      mustard yellow belt, credits his success to months of training.

      He was the odds-on favorite going into the race, and is to receive a
      trophy, a year's supply of Nathan's hot dogs and retain the mustard-
      yellow belt.

      This was Nathan's Famous' 87th annual contest. It has been held at
      the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues each year since 1916, when
      Nathan Handwerker took the advice of Eddie Cantor and Jimmy Durante
      and invested $300 to open his famous hot dog restaurant

      ==========

      HE'S TOP DOG
      By GERSH KUNTZMAN
      http://www.nypost.com/seven/06302003/commentary/2025.htm

      June 30, 2003 -- THE world's greatest athlete is back, and he's
      going for history.
      I'm talking, of course, of Takeru Kobayashi. On Friday, this
      diminutive Japanese phenom will seize the Holy Grail of sport: the
      first- ever "three-peat" at the Nathan's hot dog eating contest at
      Coney Island.

      How can I be so sure?

      Kobayashi burst onto the scene on July 4, 2001 by downing 50 hot
      dogs and buns in a mere 12 minutes.

      In doing so, he doubled (doubled!) a world record that many
      frankophiles thought could never be broken. And last year, the 5-
      foot-7, 131-pound speed-eater did it again - going a half-dog
      further!

      "Last year's repeat shut up the dim-witted detractors of
      denigration," said George Shea, president of the International
      Federation of Competitive Eating, the sport's governing body.

      "Now pretty much everyone acknowledges that Takeru Kobayashi is the
      greatest athlete on the planet."



      Indeed: 50 1/2 hot dogs and buns! That's not just Secretariat
      winning the 1973 Belmont by 31 lengths - it's Secretariat winning
      the Belmont and then taking another lap before anyone else finishes.

      The Belmont metaphor is fitting. Earlier this summer, at that
      hallowed horseman's paradise, Eric "Badlands" Booker qualified for
      Friday's competition by eating 30 dogs and buns. Booker's been a
      rising star for years, and many believe that this is his year.

      Such people are no doubt recalling 1999, when a newcomer named
      Steve "Ralph" Keiner beat then world record-holder (and two-time
      Coney legend) Hirofumi Nakajima and interrupted - for one year -
      Japanese domination of the sport. But Keiner's personal best going
      into the July 4 contest was just four dogs shy of Nakajima, not the
      yawning 201/2-dog gap between Kobayashi and Booker.

      Notoriously large ex-football star William "the Refrigerator" Perry
      is a darkhorse entry, but he only downed a dozen dogs in the recent
      qualifying round.

      Can Booker upset Kobayashi? Yes. Will he? Independence Day will be
      Eric Booker Day only if Kobayashi falters. I mean really falters.
      OK, I mean gets kidnapped by aliens midway through the contest. The
      only person who can beat Kobayashi is Kobayashi himself.

      "Booker's best hope is that Kobayashi is so intent on pushing
      himself for a new record that he overstuffs himself and experiences
      reflexes contrary to swallowing," Shea said.

      "Koby is the kind of athlete who won't just cruise for a three-peat.
      He wants 60. That's not hubris, it's his mandate as the world's
      greatest athlete. He knows he has to do this for the fans."

      Prediction: He will.

      ==========

      How many hot dogs can the Fridge hold?
      ASSOCIATED PRESS
      http://www1.gotriad.com/article/articleview/4141/1/16/

      NEW YORK- For most of the last 87 years, the Fourth of July hot-dog
      eating contest in Coney Island was typically an all-American feast:
      Oversized, born-in-the-U.S.A. guys, clad in XXL T-shirts, gobbling
      all-beef franks as the world watched in revulsion.

      Say sayonara to those days.

      There's a new world order in competitive eating. For five of the
      last six years, when the smoke from the grill cleared at the
      landmark Nathan's wiener stand, the winner was ... a diminutive
      Japanese man.

      Led by two-time defending champion Takeru Kobayashi, a mere 5-foot-7
      and 130 pounds with a 30-inch waist, Japanese eaters are dominating
      the holiday contest. With the Japanese media providing extensive
      coverage of Kobayashi, the Fourth of July looms as a big day in both
      Nagano and New York.

      Kobayashi's 100 mph style of eating _ snapping the dogs in half, a
      move dubbed "The Solomon Method" _ earned him the
      nickname "Tsunami."

      Adding insult to indigestion, Kobayashi is an overwhelming favorite
      to keep the mustard-yellow belt symbolic of gastronomic supremacy.
      No one has come close to the 50 1/2 franks that he inhaled in 12
      minutes last year.

      "This is one of the most American foods, in a most American place,
      on an American holiday," said Rich Shea, spokesman for the
      contest. "So why can't an American win?"

      The first-ever winner was Jim Mullen, a local hero, back in 1916.
      Where did it all go wrong?

      No one knows for sure, but there are theories.

      - The "Jack Sprat" theory: Although it seems contradictory, the
      scrawny Kobayashi's physique serves him better than the 6-foot-4,
      400-pound frame of U.S. hopeful Eric "Badlands" Booker.

      "My guess is when you're 130 pounds, you have more room for the
      stomach to expand and accommodate the hot dogs in a single sitting,"
      said Samantha Heller, senior nutritionist at the New York University
      Medical Center.

      "You're better able to handle ... the whole gorging process," she
      opined, stifling a laugh.

      - The "Zen and Now" theory: While the American eaters are content to
      hang around Coney Island in the hours before the eat-off, Kobayashi
      returns to his hotel room and meditates.

      "He pictures himself winning," Shea said. "He tries to envision
      himself with the mustard-yellow belt."

      - Finally, there's "The Fridge" theory: Who knows, but pass the
      franks.

      "I don't know nothing about it," said William "The Refrigerator"
      Perry, the ex-Chicago Bears star who will join this year's
      fray. "I'm just going in to have fun."

      Perry, who is currently the size of three Kobayashis, is a long shot
      to salve the pride of the American chowhounds. Booker, a New York
      subway conductor who downed 30 dogs earlier this year, is the best
      hope.

      The Japanese dominance dates to 1997, when Hirofumi Nakajima
      defeated Ed Krachie in the annual eat-off. He duplicated the effort
      the next year.

      After New Jersey's Steve Keiner briefly restored America's hot-dog
      chowing supremacy in 1999, the Japanese came on stronger than ever.
      A new star, Kazutoyo "The Rabbit" Arai, emerged and chomped his way
      to victory in 2000. (Japan took the top three spots that year.)

      Win, lose or draw, nutritionist Heller has a suggestion for all the
      competitors.

      "They should try tofu dogs," she said.

      ==========

      WILLIAM 'REFRIGERATOR' PERRY TO PARTICIPATE IN JULY FOURTH HOT DOG
      EATING CONTEST
      http://www.ifoce.com/news-fridge.htm

      Former NFL star William 'The Refrigerator' Perry served notice to
      the sport of competitive eating on Saturday, winning a qualifying
      contest for the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog
      Eating Contest and earning a spot in the annual summer classic in
      Coney Island. BetWWTS.com, a leading offshore gaming company for
      over 10 years, will serve as The Fridge's official sponsor for his
      appearance in the Nathan's Famous event.

      The exclusive sports book of the 2003 Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating
      Competition, BetWWTS.com has 'The Fridge' opening as a 100-to-1 shot
      to win the contest. The bookmaker also lists Perry as a 50/1 long
      shot to break the American record of 30 hot dogs and at 100/1 to
      break the world record of 50 ½ hot dogs.

      'The Fridge,' who weighs in at more than 400 pounds, has his sights
      set on reigning world champion Takeru Kobayashi, who at 130 pounds,
      is less than a third of Perry's size. Last year Kobayashi consumed
      50 ½ hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes, while The Fridge ate 12 hot
      dogs and buns in 12 minutes to qualify - again proving that size
      doesn't matter. BetWWTS.com has the considerably larger Perry
      receiving a 40 hot dog handicap from Kobayashi in a head-to-head
      match up.

      "This gives William Perry the chance to follow in the footsteps of
      other two-sport stars like Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders," said
      Richard Shea, spokesman for Nathan's Famous. "Competitive eating
      requires a unique combination of athleticism and discipline, and
      only time will tell if Perry's talent on the gridiron will carry
      over to Coney Island."

      Perry gained international notoriety during his rookie year in the
      NFL with the Chicago Bears. Through that 16-1 rookie season, his 9
      year NFL career, and now eight years in retirement, The Fridge has
      maintained his status as one of football's most beloved big-men. His
      Super Bowl ring remains the largest ever made and his popularity
      continues to grow. Competitive Eating fans can visit BetWWTS.com for
      information on qualified competitors for the 2003 contest, history
      of the Nathan's Famous event and the growing sport of Competitive
      Eating. BetWWTS.com will have official betting lines on the 2003
      Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Contest available until 11 a.m. Eastern on
      July 4th, an hour before the start of the contest.

      Held every year since 1916, the contest draws the finest competitive
      eaters from around the world to battle for the coveted Mustard
      Yellow Championship Belt, the World Cup of competitive eating. For
      the past two years, Takeru Kobayashi of Japan has won the Fourth of
      July contest. In 2002, Kobayashi set a new world record by downing
      50 and ½ Nathan's Famous hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes.

      The Nathan's Famous July Fourth Hot Dog Eating contest is sanctioned
      by the International Federation of Competitive Eating and sponsored
      by French's Mustard, Orbitz.com and BetWWTS.com.

      French's® Mustard, the exclusive mustard of the Nathan's Famous hot
      dog eating circuit, will hold a tasting of its various flavors prior
      to the contest. The tasting will be presented by the
      French's 'Mustard Man' character, who will also join the
      Nathan's 'Frankster' to conduct a Neat Eating Contest™, a special
      good manners contest in which children eat one Nathan's hot dog
      topped with French's Mustard as neatly as possible.

      Orbitz.com is conducting a raffle for a free trip to New York City
      to judge the July 4 competition, and Orbitz will also present the
      July 4 Champion with a travel package.

      ==============

      BetWWTS.com has Odds for July Fourth Hot Dog Eating Contest
      This Article Sponsored by:
      http://admin.rgtonline.com/newspage2/Comps/detail.psp.q.All.e.(!
      0001cf2f!).a.htm

      ST. JOHN'S, Antigua – (Press Release) -- With the "Super Bowl of
      competitive eating" only days away, today BetWWTS.com released
      exclusive odds for the Fourth of July Nathan's Famous International
      Hot Dog Eating Contest. A leading offshore gaming company for over
      10 years, BetWWTS.com has handicapped the Nathan's event for two
      straight years and has announced numerous betting options on the
      world-renowned eating contest, including who will win the coveted
      Mustard Yellow Championship Belt.

      Coming as no surprise, reigning champion Takeru Kobayashi enters the
      contest as an overwhelming favorite at 1/6 odds (i.e., win $1 for
      every $6 bet). Other competitive eating stars that may challenge
      the "Tsunami" include Eric Booker (4/1), Oleg Zhornitsky (14/1),
      Ed "Cookie" Jarvis (25/1), "Gentleman" Joe Menchetti (25/1) and
      Rich "the Locust" LeFevre (25/1).

      William "The Refrigerator" Perry, the BetWWTS.com sponsored eater
      and former Super Bowl Champion, finds himself as a 100/1 long shot
      as he tries to make the jump to competitive eating.

      "Kobayashi's dominance in the sport of competitive eating is
      unprecedented, hence we've made him an overwhelming favorite to
      capture the Nathan's championship for the third straight year," said
      Simon Noble, CEO of BetWWTS.com. "Although we have sponsored The
      Fridge's foray into competitive eating, we feel his rookie status in
      the sport will serve as a handicap and have listed him with the
      longest odds of winning the event."

      BetWWTS.com has created individual odds on all 14 finalists
      competing in the Nathan's event on July Fourth. The other
      contestants BetWWTS.com has calculated odds on include: Don Lerman
      (25/1), Dale Boone (28/1), "Hungry" Charles Hardy (33/1), Sonya
      Thomas (35/1), Carson Hughes (40/1), Boyd Bulot (40/1) and Carlene
      Lefevre (50/1). In addition, customers may bet on various match ups,
      over/under lines and special proposition bets on the Nathan's Famous
      Hot Dog Contest until 11 a.m. Eastern on July 4th, an hour before
      the start of the contest.

      The Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating
      Championship is held each year on July 4th at the original Nathan's
      Famous location at Surf and Stillwell Avenues in Coney Island, NY.
      An official weigh- in and certification ceremony is held at New York
      City Hall on July 3rd. Held every year since 1916, the contest draws
      the finest competitive eaters from around the world to battle for
      the coveted Mustard Yellow Championship Belt, the World Cup of
      competitive eating. For the past two years, Takeru Kobayashi of
      Japan has won the Fourth of July contest. In 2002, Kobayashi set a
      new world record by downing 50 1/2 Nathan's Famous hot dogs and buns
      in 12 minutes.

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      The IFOCE regulates eating contests throughout the world, including
      the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Competition, the Acme Oyster
      Eating Contest and the Thanksgiving Invitational. The IFOCE seeks to
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      ==================

      JAPANESE HOT DOG CHAMP DEVOURS OPPONENTS
      By LARRY McSHANE
      http://www.rednova.com/news/stories/5/2003/06/27/story001.html

      NEW YORK (AP) -- For most of the last 87 years, the Fourth of July
      hot-dog eating contest in Coney Island was typically an all-American
      feast: Oversized born-in-the-U.S.A. guys, clad in XXL T-shirts,
      gobbling all-beef franks as the world watched in ... well,
      revulsion. Gulp. Say sayonara to those days.


      There's a new world order in the dog-eat-hot-dog world of
      competitive eating. For five of the last six years, when the smoke
      from the grill cleared at the landmark Nathan's wiener stand, the
      winner was ... a diminutive Japanese man.


      Led by two-time defending champion Takeru Kobayashi, a mere 5-foot-7
      and 130 pounds with a 30-inch waist, Japanese eaters are dominating
      the holiday contest. The Japanese media covers Kobayashi like he was
      Elvis and Coney Island was Graceland; the Fourth of July now looms
      as a big day in both Nagano and New York.


      Kobayashi's 100 mph style of eating - snapping the dogs in half, a
      move dubbed "The Solomon Method" - earned him the
      nickname "Tsunami." He's yet to swallow a finger, although it
      certainly seems possible.



      Adding insult to indigestion, Kobayashi is an overwhelming favorite
      to keep the mustard-yellow belt symbolic of gastronomic supremacy in
      the land of the rising bun. No one has come close to the 50 1/2
      franks that he inhaled in 12 minutes last year.


      "This is one of the most American foods, in a most American place,
      on an American holiday," said Rich Shea, spokesman for the
      contest. "So why can't an American win?"


      Why, indeed? Once upon a frank, the Americans ate up the
      competition - the first-ever winner was Jim Mullen, a local hero,
      back in 1916. Where did it all go wrong?


      No one knows for sure, but there are theories.


      -- The "Jack Sprat" theory: Although it seems contradictory, the
      scrawny Kobayashi's physique serves him better than the 6-foot-4,
      400-pound frame of U.S. hopeful Eric "Badlands" Booker.


      "My guess is when you're 130 pounds, you have more room for the
      stomach to expand and accommodate the hot dogs in a single sitting,"
      said Samantha Heller, senior nutritionist at the New York University
      Medical Center.


      "You're better able to handle ... the whole gorging process," she
      opined, stifling a laugh.


      -- The "Zen and Now" theory: While the American eaters are content
      to hang around Coney Island in the hours before the eat-off,
      Kobayashi returns to his hotel room and meditates.


      "He pictures himself winning," Shea said. "He tries to envision
      himself with the mustard-yellow belt."


      -- Finally, there's "The Fridge" theory: Who knows, but pass the
      franks.


      "I don't know nothing about it," said William "The Refrigerator"
      Perry, the ex-Chicago Bears star who will join this year's
      fray. "I'm just going in to have fun."


      Perry, who is currently the size of three Kobayashis, is a long shot
      to salve the pride of the American chowhounds. Booker, a New York
      subway conductor who downed 30 dogs earlier this year, is the best
      hope.


      The Japanese dominance dates to 1997, when Hirofumi Nakajima
      defeated Ed Krachie in the annual eat-off. He duplicated the effort
      next year.


      After New Jersey's Steve Keiner briefly restored America's hot-dog
      chowing supremacy in 1999, the Japanese came on stronger than ever.
      A new star, Kazutoyo "The Rabbit" Arai, emerged and chomped his way
      to victory in 2000. (Japan took the top three spots that year.)


      Win, lose or draw, nutritionist Heller has a suggestion for all the
      competitors.


      "They should try tofu dogs," she said.

      ===============

      Dogging It
      Our columnist bites into a big problem: Why can the Japanese down
      more dogs than any American?
      http://gershkuntzman.homestead.com/files/Dogging_It.htm

      July 9 — It was only five minutes and 12 seconds into the most
      important sporting event of the year when the greatest athletes of
      their generation—world haggis-eating champion Barry Noble, German
      bratwurst champ Kai Hoppmann, American eating champion "Hungry"
      Charles Hardy and even American hot-dog-eating record holder
      Eric "Badlands" Booker—put down their franks, stopped chewing and
      just stared in awe.

      FOR AT THAT very moment—not even midway through the 12-minute
      Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest that takes place every July 4—
      Takeru Kobayashi, a 131-pound kid from Nagano, Japan, had downed his
      26th hot dog and bun, surpassing the record set last year by his
      countryman Kazutoyo "The Rabbit" Arai.

      The man the Japanese call "The Prince" used a combination of
      speed and endurance that has eluded American competitors for years.
      He even invented a new eating technique, snapping each hot dog in
      half, eating the halves simultaneously, and then devouring a
      moistened bun.

      They're already calling it "Solomoning," after the famed Hebrew
      king who offered to end a custody dispute by splitting a baby in two.

      I know all this because I was the judge assigned to Kobayashi
      that day, the guy who held up the sign reading "26" as the clock
      hit "5:12." And when the contest's 12 minutes were finally over,
      Kobayashi's stomach had gone where no man's had gone before: He had
      eaten 50 hot dogs and buns, a new record that will be as easy to
      break as shattering the sound barrier... in a Chevy.

      To put Kobayashi's performance in perspective, there is no
      way to put Kobayashi's performance in perspective. No context
      exists, no frame of reference, to explain the sheer magnitude of
      Kobayashi's achievement.

      But I'll try: Remember when America landed a man on the moon
      on July 20, 1969? Well, Kobayashi's 50 hot dogs and buns is the
      equivalent of the Japanese landing 100 men, an IMAX film crew and a
      huge catering truck on Pluto... on July 21, 1969.

      "I only speak seven languages, but there is no word in any of
      the languages that I know that can describe this," said Richard
      Shea, a Nathan's spokesman and another board member of the
      International Federation of Competitive Eating, the governing body
      of the world's fastest-growing sport.

      Shea doesn't speak Japanese, but Kobayashi does. And even he
      couldn't explain it.

      "I don't know how I do it," he said through a translator
      after the contest, the world's media hounding him as if he were a
      politician under indictment. "I just know I can. I think someday I
      can eat 20 more."

      The partisan Coney Island crowd—which in years past has
      embarrassed itself by taunting Japanese competitors with a variety
      of colorful racial, ethnic and culinary insults—showed only
      admiration for the new champion.

      The crowd actually cheered—wildly, in fact—when the number 50
      went up on a sign over Kobayashi's head.

      "We had to applaud," said Brooklyn postal worker Lenny Amoroso, who
      had been pulling for third-place finisher Hardy. "I mean, I know
      we've razzed the Japanese in the past, but not this year. This
      Kobayashi is the greatest athlete I've ever seen."

      Personally, nothing I have seen in all my years of covering
      this contest prepared me for the sight of the world's best eaters
      putting down their dogs, broken, dispirited men. Indeed, to
      paraphrase Allen Ginsberg's "Howl," I saw the best stomachs of my
      generation destroyed by Takeru, starving hysterical naked.

      Yes, records are made to be broken, but are they also made to
      be demolished, humiliated and crushed under the heel like a bug?
      What Arai had accomplished a mere 12 months ago was considered at
      the time nothing short of astonishing. No American came close. And
      now this!

      As you know—as everyone knows—Japan's annual domination of
      America's most-famous contest on America's most-famous holiday has
      elicited a protracted round of head-scratching, soul-searching and
      navel-gazing throughout our nation.

      For four of the last five years, the Japanese have walked off
      with competitive eating's coveted Mustard Yellow International Belt—
      football's Vince Lombardi Trophy, soccer's World Cup and the
      Kentucky Derby's blanket of roses all rolled into one.

      First, it was Hirofumi "The Tokyo Terror" Nakajima, a 120-
      pound weakling who repeatedly ate then-American champ, 380-pound
      Ed "The Maspeth Monster" Krachie, under the table (a table under
      which Krachie actually vomited after a particularly humiliating
      loss).

      Then, when Nakajima faltered in 1999 (some say he was
      drugged, others say he was tired from a torrid romance with his
      Nathan's-appointed translator), Arai won back the belt for Japan
      with that stunning 25 1/8 performance last year.

      America looked inside itself and found that its heart was heavy and
      its stomach empty. The sense of loss was profound. No matter where I
      traveled in this country, people stopped to ask me, How can it be
      that there is no American who can beat these Japanese eaters?

      Much has been said about America's annual battle against the
      Japanese—most of it written about with the same jingoism and fear of
      Asian domination that we heard during, say, the auto and hi-fi wars
      of the 1980s.

      There are many theories about why America has lost its edge
      in competitive eating—that we're lazy, we lack determination, we're
      self-satisfied—and again the car-and-stereo analogy gets played out.

      But there is one theory that is gaining currency: We're just
      too damned fat. Months after his final loss to Nakajima, Krachie
      researched and wrote a ground-breaking paper that proved beyond a
      doubt that Americans possess a "belt of fat" that prevents the
      stomach from expanding to the extent needed to hold dozens of hot
      dogs. We're just too fat to eat more than 24 of them.

      Krachie submitted his "belt of fat" paper to the Journal of
      the American Medical Association, but received only a rejection
      letter instead of the honor befitting a man who figured out where
      we've all gone terribly wrong.

      Medicine is like that. Sometimes the Establishment isn't
      ready for the radical solution. So maybe drastic measures are
      needed. Indeed, at this point, the question is no longer, "Can
      America find an eater to challenge the Japanese?" The question now
      becomes, "Will Nathan's now permit other species of animals—bears,
      wolves or even half-starved coyotes—to challenge this eating
      phenom?"

      George Shea, head of the IFOCE and keeper of the sport of
      competitive eating's dizzying oral history, said that Nathan's would
      never debase the contest by including wild animals.

      But Shea is simply holding onto a belief popular in America
      right now that somewhere among our 270 million residents is a man or
      woman who can eat 51 hot dogs in 12 minutes.

      "He's out there, maybe in Montana or Milwaukee," Shea
      said. "The Japanese always find their guy. We just have to find
      ours."

      Maybe, but perhaps we should consider those coyotes. And make
      sure they're American. We've got a belt to win back!

      -----------
      Gersh Kuntzman is also a columnist for The New York Post and the
      author of "HAIR! Mankind's Historic Quest to End Baldness" (Random
      House).
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