Fans of the sport of competitive eating are still talking about this year’s hot dog eating contest at New York’s Coney Islandâ€”not so much about Joey Chestnut’s victory (he’s now won four straight), but about the on-stage antics of former champ Takeru Kobayashi.
It seemed a bit more like a Pro Wrestling event this year.
If you haven’t heard, Kobayashi, dismayed over a contract dispute that prevented him from competing at this year’s July 4 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, rushed the stage to protest the event. Escorted from the scene by police and event organizers, Kobayashi was handcuffed, arrested and charged with trespassing and resisting arrest.
He spent the night in jail and complained the next day to the New York Post: â€˜I am very hungry! In jail, they gave me a sandwich and milk. I wish they had hot dogs in jail.â€™
Kobayashi said the event organizers were â€˜trying to take away my freedom!â€™
Some have questioned whether the entire commotion was a staged stunt. Event organizer Richard Shea denied the charge. â€˜We did not plan this… I stake my whole reputation on that.”
Major League Eating released an official statement:
Takeru Kobayashi’s actions at the Hot Dog Contest in Coney Island were inappropriate and unfortunate, but it did not diminish Joey Chestnut’s victory, or the holiday tradition that dates back generations. Kobayashi was a great champion and we hope that he is able to resolve his current situation and move past this.
Four-time champ Joey Chestnut downed 54 dogs in 10 minutes, easily outeating his competition. He said afterwards that he hoped Kobayashi would be back for next year’s competition, calling him a â€˜great eater.â€™