The Brooklyn Paper touched on Takeru Kobayashi’s health problems, but an ABC News profile of the Tsunami goes more in depth about the turmoil he’s faced since his mother passed away in March of 2007. It’s going to be harder than ever to root against the poor guy, especially since his “jawthritis” prevents him from using his much feared “Solomon method” of demolishing hot dogs two at a time. Perhaps he’ll take a page from the book of Crazy Legs Conti and Tim “Eater X” Janus, who are profiled in a Voice piece— maybe he’ll resort to the “reverse bunning” method that Crazy Legs also discussed in his New York Diet. Either way, with the contest down from twelve minutes to ten this year (not to mention a forecast of rain), it’s just not going to be the same — especially with the Wall Street Journal putting still more of a damper on things by pointing to a study that indicates that competitive eaters risk the possibility of permanently stretching their stomachs to the point of needing surgery. And then there’s the real tragedy: that Daniel “Mosca” Maurer will not be at the table this year. Sigh.
Bonus Video: In a move akin to Christopher Hitchens getting waterboarded, a Time reporter tries, and fails, to go dog-for-dog with reigning champ Joey “Jaws” Chestnut.