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The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — A man inhaled a record 50 hot dogs in just 12 minutes Wednesday to destroy his stunned competition in the annual Nathan’s frankfurter eating contest.

Takeru Kobayashi of Japan, in his first-ever attempt at the contest, left competitors with their jaws agape as he knocked back more than four dozen franks with obvious relish.

The 5-foot-7, 131-pound Kobayashi surpassed the record of 25 in just 5 minutes, 13 seconds. Kobayashi didn’t stop until he had doubled that number, complete with the buns.

Eyewitnesses said it was by far the most amazing performance since the annual Fourth of July contest began in 1916.

“I have never seen anything like this before,” said Tom Maher, a spokesman for the Nathan’s-sponsored International Federation of Competitive Eating. “He has truly redefined the sport.”

Kobayashi, 23, employed a technique dubbed “the Solomon method” — snapping the hot dogs in half, then shoving both pieces into his mouth. By the end of the 12-minute event, the rest of the 19-member field had stopped eating to watch Kobayashi.

The runner-up was last year’s winner, Kazutoyo Arai of Japan, who knocked down 31 hot dogs. Arai had set the record of 25 during last year’s contest.

For dessert, Kobayashi ate two more hot dogs while posing for pictures and camera crews at the Coney Island event. Through an interpreter, the new champion bragged that he could knock off another twenty hot dogs.

Thankfully, no one took him up on the offer.

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