The Truth About Competitive Eating Champ Kobayashi
Takeru Kobayashi is synonymous with the world of competitive eating. His slight frame belies his astounding ability to eat extraordinary amounts of food in ridiculously short periods of time. But his life hasn’t been without controversy. Watch on to discover the truth about this legend.
Every Fourth of July since 1972, Coney Island hot dog outlet Nathan’s Famous has held its iconic hot dog eating contest. In the 2001 edition, a competitor entered the field who changed the game and turned the world of competitive eating on its head. At first glance, Japanese native Takeru Kobayashi didn’t seem like much of a threat, considering that the scrawny 23-year-old weighed in at a measly 131 pounds. Yet when the dust settled, he’d eaten his way to a decisive victory, consuming 50 hot dogs in 12 minutes to double the previous world record.
In a 2014 interview with the Freakanomics podcast, Kobayashi explained the secret behind his stunning upset. As he explained,
“The key to me was that I had to change the mentality that it was a sport, it wasn’t having a meal.”
Rather than trying to stuff as many dogs down his gullet as quickly as possible, he developed an odd-but-effective technique. He first dipped the hot dog bun in water to break down the starch, then squeezed out the excess moisture and ate the little bun balls separately from the wieners.