Occupational Hazards

As if there wasn't enough build up and backstory to this year's Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest. First, last year's runner up, Joey Chestnut, set a new world record of 59 1/2 hot dogs on June 2 (video proof), breaking the record set by Takero Kobayashi, who has been unbeatable at Nathan's the past six years. Now, in an unexpected turn of events, Kobayashi has developed "jaw arthritis" while training. On his blog, he said, "I feel ashamed that I couldn't notice the alarm bells set off by my own body. But with the goal to win another title with a new record, I couldn't stop my training so close to the competition." Really. A man who regularly eats 50+ hot dogs in 12 minutes and still holds world records for eating rice balls and cow brains, did not notice the alarm bells his body was sending? So, does this mean that we won't get to see the long awaited rematch of Kobayashi vs. Chestnut this Fourth, and that Kobayashi's reign is over, not with a bang, but with a whimper? Or is this just a feint? We'll find out soon enough.


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