Surprise Pelemeni Victory for Boone

The spotlight at the Atlantic Oceana in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, seemed to shine most brightly on neighborhood hero and Ukrainian native Oleg Zhornitskiy, a man known as much for his attention to fashion as for his amazing eating capacity.

However, when the three-round event was over, it turned out that Zhornitskiy was unable to successfully defend his title as World Pelemeni Eating Champion. Atlanta, GA, resident and IFOCE rookie Dale Boone edged out the 19 other eaters from all over the world, setting a new world record of 274 pelemeni (Russian beef dumplings) in a total of six minutes.

The speed event clearly favored Boone, who is known as a sprinter. However, few if any expected Boone to beat Zhornitskiy, who has proven nearly unbeatable in 2002. Mayonnaise, matzo balls and chicken wings are among the Great Z's recent victories.

Perhaps it was the jet lag, or the airline food, but the Ukrainian National Eating Team had a disappointing showing, finishing in the middle of the pack. The enthusiasm of the crowd of Russian and Ukrainian natives was more than enough to guarantee a stronger performance next year.

Many are already mentioning Boone as a possible IFOCE Rookie of the Year for 2002.