Joey Chestnut: American Hero
10:40 AM, Jul 5, 2007 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
Eating 66 Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs in 12 minutes, Joey Chestnut has brought the Yellow Belt back home by defeating Takeru Kobayashi at the Super Bowl of competitive eating events. Kobayashi put up a fight, and despite reports of an arthritic jaw the former champ turned in his best performance to date, eating 63 dogs--though he did have a little trouble keeping it down there at the end and probably should have been disqualified.
The whole competition is played like a spoof of professional sport, but even if folks pretend this isn't serious, I think deep down most of the sport's fans think it worth of all the attention. Like golf, tennis, bowling, and billiards, it's a venue for competition that the guy on the street can relate to--I eat hot dogs, just not as many. Was it "the greatest moment in the history of American sports"? No, but Kobayashi was a worthy champion, and Chestnut pushed him to the breaking point, literally. Certainly a great moment in American sport.
THE WEEKLY STANDARD's Victorino Matus has covered the competitive eating circuit in the past for this magazine. Go read the whole thing and enjoy.