When it comes to competitive eating these days, Takeru Kobayashi is just a wiener — and his career is nothing to relish.
On July 4th, he watched legendary eater Joey “Jaws” Chestnut house 61 hot dogs and buns to defend his eight-year winning streak at the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. But he wasn’t in Brooklyn to celebrate New York’s greatest gustatory gala. He was in Manhattan, running his own, unsanctioned “hot dog eating contest” at a bar.
And he wasn’t even eating the buns.
Like a scorned NFL player having a game of touch football while the Super Bowl airs on TV, Kobayashi has fallen from grace. His downfall began in 2010, when contract disputes got the once-celebrated Kobi kicked out of Major League Eating. He was arrested at that year’s hot dog eating contest when he stormed the big stage in Coney Island, wearing a “Free Kobi” T-shirt.
“I was hoping, because of the crowd, they would let me eat,” he told The Brooklyn Paper at the time.
But to the people, Kobayashi has become a dull tummy ache that won’t go away. He’s “that one Japanese guy who used to eat all those hot dogs.” It’s sad, really — the man whose rise to glory brought with it several hot dog eating records and the world’s undivided attention on July 4 is now failing at minor eating events held at art festivals.
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