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Carrot Top

Competitive Eating 2005

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The world contest of Competitive Eating is showing on ESPN (eating is now a sport, everyone! :shock: ) at this very moment.

Naturally, it is being held in Las Vegas.

I can't watch it, myself. . .but thought I would post for anyone who might be interested.

Enjoy! :laugh:

And do write in, if you watched, and tell us your thoughts. . .

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Hmmm. Nobody else could take it, either, huh? :biggrin:

It was interesting that there were two commercial sponsors: Alka-Seltzer (heh, heh) and The Federation of Competitive Eating. The Federation posted its website, with an underlying low imposing intonation made by the announcer that competititve eating was "the fastest growing sport in the world".

(In so many ways, I thought to myself!)

Here is the link to the website: http://www.ifoce.com/

Anybody know anyone that competes in Competitive Eating as a sport?

What are your thoughts on this phenomena?


Edited by Carrot Top (log)

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I'm just fascinated by this stuff. You're not supposed to cram mass quantities of food down your throat (ha ha, I almost said gullet) at lightning speed. I was listening to a radio show not too long ago & a guest came on who was in this Competitive Eating Federation & he was talking of all of his wins. One of which was for butter & it nearly made me sick to even think about it. I can't remember how many pounds he ate but it was a mind numbingly large amount. I think this will just be one of those shows that is like a horrible train wreck for me. I'll just watch it because I can't stop! It's God awful & you know you shouldn't be watching it, but you just can't help yourself!


Rock is dead. Long live paper & scissors!

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Mmm. Sometime in the past year I read a book (fiction) (can't remember the name of it at the moment) . . .where the protagonist was a young teenage girl who ran away from home along with her brother (for some romantic-type reason having to do with a breakup one of them had with their girlfriend or boyfriend, not for any terrible home situation). The plan was that he would support them in their travels by doing competitive eating, either in formal competitions or just in places where he could gather a crowd that would bet for a win on how much he could eat.

The kicker was that she was anorexic. And her brother did not really know this fact.

What a tale. . .the tension between her reality and his. . .and the fact of what he did to make enough money to support them. . .(and since they were living out of a car, the support was basically just for gasoline and . . .food!)

And the scenes of the excitement of the crowds when he was "competing". Whew.


Edited by Carrot Top (log)

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I'm also wondering if this is a peculiarly American idea, the idea of competitive eating as a sport, or whether it has happened at other times and places. . .

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Well, the winner of Nathan's Hot Dog Eating contest was Japanese for sometime - same, little skinny guy for what, like 2 years or something? So, does that mean that they have that kind of competition in Japan or has he just become acclimated to our culture? I don't remember if that guy lives here or if he still lives in Japan. Ok, so this was a useless post as I had absolutely no information - I suck.


Rock is dead. Long live paper & scissors!

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Ah, now. Don't be so hard on yourself. . .

Actually, now I remember that too, and I think he was Japanese from Japan.

And I also remember that the top winner of one of these contests sometime recently was a tiny little sprig of a girl. . .about 19 years old and in the area of 115 lbs.

So. . .I guess size doesn't always matter! :biggrin:

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I do hope they can find a sponsor for the IFOCE vomitorium for after the competition.

I saw the Nathan's contest - fat guys with food dripping down their chests doesn't quite make it as a sport, IMHO.


"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."

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So. . .I guess size doesn't always matter! :biggrin:

Whatever helps you sleep at night :laugh: Kidding, of course. But yeah, what's with all the teeny people winning? Do you think they're getting rid of this food immediately thereafter?

"I saw the Nathan's contest - fat guys with food dripping down their chests doesn't quite make it as a sport, IMHO."

That is quite a picture. Yuk. Yup, this show (if it airs) is definitely going to be a train wreck. I can't stand seeing food just dripping from someone's mouth.


Rock is dead. Long live paper & scissors!

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Well, the winner of Nathan's Hot Dog Eating contest was Japanese for sometime - same, little skinny guy for what, like 2 years or something? So, does that mean that they have that kind of competition in Japan or has he just become acclimated to our culture? I don't remember if that guy lives here or if he still lives in Japan. Ok, so this was a useless post as I had absolutely no information - I suck.

I believe you are referring to Takeru "Tsunami" Kobayashi .

From a CNN article published shortly after winning his fifth nathan's hot dog eating contest:

"At 150 pounds, Kobayashi weighs half of what some of his competitors weigh. He also holds records for eating 17.7 pounds of cow brains, 20 pounds of noodles and 20 pounds of rice balls."

Apparently he's quite a star in Japan.


Martin Mallet

<i>Poor but not starving student</i>

www.malletoyster.com

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If poker is now considered a sport - seven articles about it in last week's NY Times Sports Section - than eating can as well.

Of course if you combine the two, we're talking Olympic bi-athlete.


Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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There should be a Competitive Eating contest, but it should be geared to quality, not quantity. It would naturally be directed more toward foodies, and the results would be aired on the Food Network, not ESPN.

It would work a bit like Iron Chef: each week, you'd basically have the five best-known food critics in the country, each sitting at a separate table in the same restaurant. They would each be brought exactly the same meal, so that the audience could get some idea of the interplay of customer and server (heavily edited for time), but the majority of the show would be each critic giving his or her perceptions of the meal just consumed. One week, The French Laundry; the next, Charlie Trotter's; then Masa, then Alain Ducasse New York, and so on. The winner each week would be the critic who'd most eloquently encapsulated his experience at the chosen restaurant. At the end of the season, the critic with the most points for style and eloquence wins the competition.


Edited by Deacon (log)

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Deacon, Hi...

A fun idea but it must be arranged so that even though the critics dine together they do not discuss their reactions to the setting, the service or the dishes they are served while at the table and then when giving their analysis and critique not while together so that no one more dominant personality influences the others in what they say. Something akin to a blind tasting at which one sits quietly, no facial reactions, no body language, no "ooohs", "aahs" or "ychtzs" to give away their reactions until the moment of truth. And then the fun will begin for the audience in analyzing the analysts and what they had to say.

Are you offering business- or first-class flights to the program? And of course, only the very best hotels will be acceptable for accomodations.

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Good point. The tables should be each in a different room or, if the dining room layout and size of the restaurant does not permit this, screens of some sort could be set up so that none of the tables has a view of any of the others. And no, we're not proposing Iron Chef here, and Tara Reid (for instance) isn't going to sample the soup and say something like, "It makes my mouth happy!" :laugh: No, I'm talking about professional food critics.

The meals for the five critics would be paid for by the production company of the series.

Good publicity for the critics, for their employers, for the restaurants, for the chefs. Everybody wins. Except that the restaurant would have to be closed during the taping, which would mean loss of business for that night.


Edited by Deacon (log)

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I guess there aren't many competitive eating fans here :wink: .

I saw Kobayashi in person last year. The guy used to be skinny - but now he's ripped. He trains (uses seltzer to expand his stomach without taking in calories). He is #1 in the world - hands down. He is Japanese - lives in Japan - and speaks very little English. #2 in the world is Sonya Thomas - a 100 pound Korean American from - I think Virginia (although I think from her accent that she was born in Korea). She also trains - but it is physically impossible for her to beat Kobayashi in any longer event because her stomach capacity (at - I believe 17 pounds) is simply smaller than his 20.

Competitive eating is a little weird - but these people are - to look at them - a lot less disgusting than a lot of fat slobs I see every day (at many places - including shopping malls and even high end restaurants). Robyn

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How do they measure stomach capacity, robyn? I am curious. . .

I am also curious about what drew these people towards this. . .activity. . .or "sport" in the first place. Just something arbitrary? A love of food? The idea of a contest where money might be won? Bravado? It is interesting, as I simply can not imagine wanting to do this, myself. . .

On the website there is a sentence stating that competitive eating is one of the oldest of "sports". I am wondering what references there have been to it in antiquity, that would allow the "federation" (which seems to me more of a public relations organization than anything else) to say this.

There is certainly more to this thing than I ever would have imagined. . .it always seemed to me to be something mostly done at County Fairs that was more along the lines of winning a stuffed animal for one's girlfriend than the big professional thing it appears to be! :unsure:

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The "Black Widow" Sonya Thomas is one of the best competitive eaters in the world. She's only 110 pounds or so. At this year's Wing Bowl in Philly, she got booed and people started throwing fries at her when she was carried in because everyone was supporting the hometown guy, El Wingador.

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Ah, philly sports fans; enthusiastic yet ill tempered.

edit to add: I watch competative eating because it's like trying not to look at a car wreck. It amazing yet repulses me at the same time! I have to wonder what long term adverse effects there are associated with distending your epophagus and stomach so often. They must live on gavascon for reflux.


Edited by monavano (log)

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So. . .I guess size doesn't always matter! :biggrin:

In competitive eating, size does matter -- the skinny people have an advantage. Their stomach capacities are not confined by the "belt of fat" that handicaps the larger eaters.

In a documentary I saw on training regimens, Kobayashi went to a restaurant and ate a ton of food, enough to feed a family for days. And he ate the desserts before the mains.

Eating sugary food causes the body to think that it's had enough sustenance/energy, and results in a diminished appetite. Successful competitive eaters are able to overcome this psychological hurdle and continue to eat long after the appetite is gone.

Other techniques he pioneered include the "Kobayashi Shake", which is a little dance he does to "settle" the food in the stomach in order to make room for more.

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Eating desserts first is an ayurvedic thing ..(my problem is that I also have dessert after the meal, not just before :P)

gosh.. I didn't realize this whole thing was such a big thing already.

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How do they measure stomach capacity, robyn? I am curious. . .

I am also curious about what drew these people towards this. . .activity. . .or "sport" in the first place. Just something arbitrary? A love of food? The idea of a contest where money might be won? Bravado? It is interesting, as I simply can not imagine wanting to do this, myself. . .

On the website there is a sentence stating that competitive eating is one of the oldest of "sports". I am wondering what references there have been to it in antiquity, that would allow the "federation" (which seems to me more of a public relations organization than anything else) to say this.

There is certainly more to this thing than I ever would have imagined. . .it always seemed to me to be something mostly done at County Fairs that was more along the lines of winning a stuffed animal for one's girlfriend than the big professional thing it appears to be!  :unsure:

I don't know how they measure stomach capacity. Perhaps they can't (I just saw a reference to it when I was reading about Sonya Thomas).

As for the "oldest of sports" - again - I don't know. Although there is some historical evidence that the Romans sometimes ate to excess at their "orgies" (see this for example) - it doesn't seem to have been the norm. In any event - I'm not a scholar of ancient Roman eating habits :smile: .

I suspect people go into it for the money - and the "fame". Heard that Kobayashi made in excess of $500,000 last year (I suspect he gets a lot of "show up" money). And how else could a subway worker like Badlands Booker or a Burger King employee like Sonya Thomas attract national attention? And people wouldn't be able to make money or get national attention unless there were sponsors with deep pockets. As long as companies like Nathan's and Alka Seltzer sponsor competitions - there will be world class competitors.

As for county fairs - we did see Kobayashi and Badlands Booker at the Jacksonville Agricultural Fair last year. But it was the regional finals of the Krystal hamburger eating competition (to get into the national finals - you had to qualify at a regional final - and they chose Jacksonville as the place to do it). Not exactly the same as the local pie eating contest. Robyn

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