Wednesday, July 7, 1999 Published at 15:23 GMT 16:23 UK
Hot dog contest leaves sour taste
Competitors chew the fat - but this year's event was fiercer than ever
Controversy is mounting over the annual Coney Island hot dog eating contest - one of America's 4th of July institutions - with the runner-up demanding a re-match.
But runner-up Charles "Hungry" Hardy - who came second by a quarter of a hot dog - is crying foul.
He says a slow-motion video replay shows that the champion cheated by beginning to eat a fraction of a second before the starting gun was fired.
In third place came last year's winner, Japanese noodle-eating champion Hirofumi "Tokyo Terror" Nakajima.
Despite his comparatively diminutive weight of 135 pounds, he managed to down 19 hot dogs in 12 minutes - a performance which was deemed to be below par.
Rival competitor Eddie "The Animal" Krachie accused the furniture removal man from Kofu of using muscle relaxants in order to swallow quicker.
The eating contest has been held in Brooklyn's Coney Island every fourth of July since 1916 as a publicity stunt for Nathan's Famous hot dogs, which opened at the Atlantic Ocean amusement park that year.
Last year, the National Hot Dog Council estimated that Americans ate 88 million hot dogs on Independence Day.