Joey Chestnut declared ‘greatest athlete of all time’ after breaking his own world record for hot dog eating

·2 min read
Joey Chestnut won his 14th Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest on Sunday (AP)
Joey Chestnut won his 14th Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest on Sunday (AP)

Joey Chestnut broke his own world record to win his 14th Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest – a competition that’s become an American Fourth of July tradition.

Mr Chestnut consumed an astonishing 76 hot dogs in just 10 minutes on Sunday, breaking his previous record of 75 hot dogs consumed in the same timeframe.

“It just felt good,” said Mr Chestnut, a resident of Westfield, Indiana, when speaking to ESPN following his win. “Even if I was uncomfortable, having everybody cheer me and push me, it made me feel good.”

From the beginning of the competition, Mr Chestnut held a strong lead over all of the other competitors. The only other person close to Mr Chestnut was Geoffrey Esper, who consumed just 50 hot dogs in 10 minutes.

The win encouraged fans to call Mr Chestnut the “greatest athlete of all time” – at least within the sport of eating hot dogs.

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But fans were left outraged during the competition after ESPN’s live feed of the event cut out multiple times during the broadcast.

The feed cut in and out during the last five minutes of the competition before going completely dark while Mr Chestnut consumed his 76th hot dog – depriving fans of watching the moment the man won.

“10 minutes, once a year, and you absolutely blew it, @espn,” one frustrated fan tweeted. “After all we’ve been through, we deserve to watch joey Chestnut without interruption.”

Michelle Lesco took the women’s title in the event after downing 30.75 hot dogs, which was about seven more than her closest competitor.

The annual Fourth of July competition normally takes place outside Nathan’s flagship hot dog shop in New York’s Coney Island.

But this year the event was held at Maimonides Park, a minor league baseball stadium in Brooklyn, to comply with any coronavirus restrictions. There were 5,000 spectators in attendance for the event.

Last year the event was held indoors with no in-person spectators due to Covid-19, and Mr Chestnut said he missed having that audience when competing.

“I’ve been looking forward to this all year,’’ he said.

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