In this week’s edition of Around the Dorm, the “Ref,” Chelsea LoCascio, asks our panel of experts three questions: Can the United States take home a medal for racewalking during the Olympics this summer? Who will qualify for the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog-Eating Contest and how far will Dale Earnhardt Jr. go during the Sprint Cup Series this year?
1. Do you think the U.S. will take home a medal in racewalking during the Summer Olympics in Rio?
Ellie: The U.S. can’t not take home a medal in a sport where the title implies a competition. Although the U.S. has not placed in racewalking since 1972, there’s no time like the present. Don’t believe me? Just reference America’s favorite coffee supplier, Dunkin Donuts. “America runs on Dunkin” is not only a trivial slogan, but a motto by which to live. We Americans love to push forward and overcome adversity. Forty-four years since last winning is just unacceptable. Most definitely, placing in a race where one foot must appear to stay on the ground at any given time will be no easy feat, but our top walkers will be up for the challenge come this summer. So as average citizens, lets sit back, sip our coffee and watch our athletes walk to the finish.
Colleen: First of all, if you’ve never seen a racewalking competition, go to Youtube right now and look it up. It is incredibly funny and the participants look as though they are in dire need of the toilet. Or you could say they look like New York City commuters trying to catch the last bus out of the city. With that being said, I definitely think the U.S. will take home a medal in racewalking this summer because many of us have to do it as part of our routine, everyday life already — walking fast is in our blood. Tell us we’ll get a medal for walking quickly and we’ll put even more pep in our step. Whether we Americans want to be in the front of the line at the buffet, be the first ones to get our hands on the best Black Friday deals or navigate our way through a crowded city, we often walk with determination, and this societal instinct will translate easily to the racewalking course. Plus, America dominates at every Olympics, so it’s just natural that we win a medal in this event, too.
Jessica: What a fantastic question! I really think the U.S. does have a shot at taking home a medal because, let’s face it, we racewalk in our daily lives as Americans. Have to go to the bathroom really badly? Racewalk to the bathroom. Late to journalism Professor Emilie Lounsberry’s class? Racewalk to class. Basically, the racewalkers have many ways to help them get a medal. The key will be to imagine themselves really needing to go to the bathroom or something along those lines and then they’ll race walk past the finish line, fists held high with pride like Rocky Balboa. The U.S., though, is not really known for their racewalking abilities in the Olympics, but who is to say we can’t start now? I think if the walkers put their mind to it, they can take home the coveted racewalking medal for the U.S.
Colleen gets 3 points for pointing out their poopy posture. Ellie gets 2 points because America “racewalks” on coffee and Jessica gets 2 points for applying it to everyday life.
2. Who do you think will qualify for the 2016 Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog-Eating Contest?
Ellie: A lot can happen in 100 years, but nothing says “America” quite like food. Mix hot dogs and an eating contest together and “BOOM!” — instant American tradition. As Nathan’s approaches a monstrous anniversary celebrating a century of disgustingly fast eaten food, hopefuls are beginning to test their stomachs. Champ Joey Chestnut will make another appearance, having won eight consecutive titles and marking a world record before falling to Matt Stonie in 2015. As for the ladies, current record holder Sonya Thomas should make a strong run this year, having lost the last two competitions to current reigning champ Miki Sudo. Perhaps someone from the College will make a surprise appearance.
Colleen: Ah, the true spirit of America — gorging our faces with meaty goodness (get your minds out of the gutter). No one is better than doing that than Stonie and Chestnut. The two dominated last year’s competition, downing 62 and 60 hot dogs, respectively, with the third place finisher eating just 35.5. Frankly, the two will definitely make the cut for this year’s competition. No. 1 ranked competitive eater Stonie has had a strong showing for Major League Eating this year, breaking the world record for most tacos eaten in eight minutes. (It was 103. Who’s living más now, Taco Bell?) On the women’s side, Sudo, who won the Nathan’s competition in 2014 and 2015, will have a great shot at returning to this year’s competition, which is sure to be a stiff one (get your minds out of the gutter).
Jessica: Joey “Jaws” Chestnut will definitely be one of the qualifiers for the 2016 Nathan’s Hot Dog-Eating Contest. First off, his nickname is “Jaws,” so if that doesn’t scream “I win eating contests,” then I don’t know what would. Last year, Chestnut came in second place, behind new champion Stonie, but I think this will be Chestnut’s year. According to the Major League Eating Website, Chestnut is the “greatest eater in history.” You can’t just get that title and not have a winning chance. Chestnut has a long list of eating competitions under his belt, so he has the experience and is a veteran when it comes to the “sport.” Chestnut had an eight-year run at the top of the Nathan’s Hot Dog World. So keep your eyes on him because he’ll be holding the beautiful championship belt.
Colleen gets 3 points for hot dog puns. Jessica gets 2 points for talking about Chestnut’s nickname and Ellie gets 1 point because it’s not disgusting, it’s beautiful.
3. How far will Dale Earnhardt Jr. get in the Nascar Sprint Cup Series this year?
Ellie: Though Earnhardt Jr. has never won the Cup Series, he’s bound to make a strong run. Currently sitting 16th in the standings, the season has just begun with plenty of room for anyone to come out on top. The fact that his late father, Dale Earnhardt, won the Cup seven times is bound to be on his mind and a motivation to keep driving. Earnhardt Jr. has 26 season victories, placing him 28th all-time. It’s hard to say if he’ll win with reigning champ Kyle Busch — ranked 21st all-time in wins — competing. Perhaps the experience from competing for over 15 years and coming from a bloodline of racers will pay off for Earnhardt Jr. and 2016 will be his crowning year.
Colleen: “Boogity, boogity, boogity, let’s go racing, boys (and girls)!” Earnhardt Jr. is currently ranked 16th in the Sprint Cup Series, having placed 36th at Daytona and recording a much better second-place showing at the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500. This weekend, Earnhardt competed in the Las Vegas Sprint Cup race and placed seventh. Many experts say he doesn’t have the best shot at winning and I’d have to agree with them. But I do think that his name will continue to be closer to the top of the leaderboard for a bit longer. Right now, he is 16th in the Round of 16 in the Sprint Cup Chase Grid. I do think he has a chance to make it to the Round of 12 because of the upswing he seems to be starting, but by the time the Dover race comes around in May, I’m going to say that he will not have enough points to make it to the Round of Eight.
Jessica: In the beginning of the racing season, Earnhardt Jr. was a little shaky. He suffered a crash in his first race, the Sprint Unlimited, and placed 15th. He crashed in the Daytona 500 after a strong start with 30 laps to go, taking 36th place. The next week, he finished second in Atlanta. If Earnhardt wants to make it far, he has to work on his consistency… oh, and not crash into things. Last season, Earnhardt had a similar season last year, so he hasn’t really gotten off to an impressive season. He will most likely get far because he has in previous seasons. Also, Managing Editor Sydney Shaw’s grandmother loves Earnhardt. He has love and support, so he will most likely go far.
Colleen gets 3 points for Darrell Waltrip’s catchphrase. Ellie gets 2 points for optimism and Jessica gets 1 point for a contradicting answers.
Colleen wins Around the Dorm 9-5-5.