Joey Chestnut secures another win at Nathan’s Hot Dog Contest

One contestant won her 15th straight contest and another reclaimed her title as the world’s top female eater during Monday’s Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest.

Joey Chestnut, 38, who is known as “Jaws” and holds 50 world records in competitive eating, finished first after devouring 63 hot dogs.

Miki Sudo, the world’s No. 1 female eater, who sat out the women’s competition last year because of her pregnancy, finished first after devouring 40 hot dogs in 10 minutes. She beat Michelle Lesco, 38, who won in 2021.

“What better place to reclaim the title?” said Ms. Sudo from the stage after the competition as she held her son Max. “It was an incredible comeback.”

The competition, which has been held elsewhere for the past two years because of the pandemic, returned to Surf and Stillwell Avenues in Coney Island, a venue as famous as “the hardwood floor of Boston Garden,” said Rich Shea, the President of Major League Eating on ESPN, which aired the competition.

The competition’s return to Coney Island attracted thousands of spectators who flocked to the original Nathan’s location to watch the competition.

Spectators carried signs that read “Don’t Throw Up” and “Tastes Like Freedom” and others wore hot dog costumes as they cheered on the eaters, who traveled from across the country as well as Australia and the UK to attend the competition.

George Shea, the contest host and one of the founders of Major League Eating, hailed the contest as “a clash of the titans, the early gods,” as a choir of white-robed singers sang behind him.

“We’re back,” he called. “We’re back, Brooklyn!”

Kristen Thomlan, 31, traveled three hours from Coventry, Rhode Island the night before to see her first Nathan’s competition in person.

“I wanted to see a legend and maybe see a world record broken,” said Ms Thomlan, referring to Mr Chestnut.

Ms. Sudo, who competed with an injured wrist, didn’t beat her personal record of 48.5 hot dogs, but stayed well ahead of the 12 other challengers throughout the competition. Halfway through the event, she had eaten more than 20 hot dogs, while the next contestant had only eaten 16.

At the last minute, Ms. Sudo was the clear winner after swallowing 40 hot dogs. With that, Ms Lesco battled for second place against Sarah Rodriguez, 35, a bodybuilder from Seattle, Washington.

Ms. Lesco, who ate 26 hot dogs, finished second. Ms. Rodriguez placed third with 23.25 hot dogs.

After the women’s competition, the workers cleared the remaining hot dogs from the long table and set out fresh cups of water for the men’s round.

Mr Chestnut, who is 6ft 1, 230lbs and competed with an injured leg, said he prepared for the competition by sticking to a liquid diet.

“Lemon juice, water, just some protein,” he told ESPN on Sunday. “I will be happy and I will be hungry.”

The crowd chanted “Joey! Joe!” as Mr. Chestnut defeated 15 other men, including a war veteran who fought in Afghanistan, a Chicago man who once ate 275 jalapeños in 8 minutes, and Nick Wehry, Ms. Sudo’s fiance and nutrition coach from Tampa, Florida, last year finished 50 hard boiled eggs in 3 minutes and four seconds.

After the competition, Mr. Chestnut looked exhausted, sweaty and grimacing.

“It was a crazy competition,” he said from the stage.

Mr. Chestnut, who has a personal record of 78 hot dogs, has set other mind-blowing records, including 32 Big Macs in 38 minutes, 82 tacos in eight minutes, and 5.9 pounds of funnel cake in ten minutes.

According to a study published in 2020, based on data from 39 years of competition, the maximum number of hot dogs a human can eat in 10 minutes is 83.

The annual Hot Dog Eating Contest has been held every year since 1916.

In 2020, the American spectacle took place in a secret location and was only accessible to the news media to help stem the spread of Covid-19. Last year, spectators were once again welcomed, but the event was ticketed and held in Maimonides Park, home of the Brooklyn Cyclones, to also limit the number of visitors.

On Monday, Luis and Yolenny Colon came from Brooklyn with their 2-year-old daughter, Jolene, and their French bulldog, Bella, to watch the competition.

They said they were a little disappointed that Mr. Chestnut didn’t break his record, but were thrilled their child was able to witness the competition at its traditional venue.

“We wanted her to experience something so iconic,” said Mr. Colon, 38. “That’s history.”

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