Kobe Downs 50 at Nathan

Never before in the history of sport has there been such a phenomenal win.

On July 4, 2001, 131-pound Takeru Kobayashi of Nagano, Japan, ate 50 Nathan's hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes to smash the previous record of 25 1/8 hot dogs and buns set by compatriot, Kazutoyo Arai of Saitama, in 2000.

Arai himself upped his personal best to 31 hot dogs and buns this year.Employing a technique that was dubbed the "Solomon Method" (splitting hot dogs and buns in half before eating), Kobayashi broke the American and world records in just more than five minutes.

He continued eating at an unbelievable pace, finishing dog number 50 at the buzzer.Kobayashi, the "large quantity" eating champion of Japan, had eaten 60 hot dogs and buns in one hour at Nathan's in Coney Island on July 2nd as a training effort. He claims he will return to New York City next year to defend his title and set a new record in 2002.

The American competitive eating community has been in a state of disarray since the event. The overwhelming emotion at the arena was sadness as the Japanese once again took possession of the Coveted Mustard Yellow International Belt. However, leaders such as Hungry Charles Hardy, Ed Krachie and Oleg Zhornitskiy have vowed to bring back the belt.

Competitors at the 2001 event came from diverse locations including Canada, Germany and England. The 2000 world champion, 100-pound Kazutoyo Arai, upped his personal best of 25 1/8 hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes to 31 hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes.