Frankly, Joey Chestnut seems unbeatable, even when injured. The same can be said for Miki Sudo, who returned after having her son. The two were again the top dogs in male and female competitions, respectively, at Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest 2022.
Chestnut, 38, didn’t really hold up despite wearing a surgical boot due to a leg injury. In fact, he did it 63 times, as he consumed 63 hot dogs in just ten minutes at the annual event in Coney Island, New York. Although that didn’t top his own world record of 76 hot dogs set at last year’s event, he continued his remarkable run. Chestnut has been the champion of this Wiener Takes-All event for a total of 15 times. Chestnut has allowed only one other person, Matthew Stonie in 2015, to win the title since he first beat legendary defending champion Takeru Kobayashi in 2007.
While Chestnut will most likely relish that seventh straight title, this year’s contest wasn’t all buns and games. During the contest, a protester wearing a Darth Vader mask rushed onto the stage. Instead of saying ‘Joey, I’m your dad’, the protester carried a sign that read ‘Expose Smithfield’s Deathstar’, made his way to the hot dog table at the front of the stage and punched Chestnut in the process. Chestnut then responded by financially putting the protester in a chokehold and then throwing the makeshift Darth Vader with some force. The “wurst” not being over, a security guard had to quickly remove the fan from the stage. Chestnut then resumed his relentless pursuit of the title.
The video accompanying the following tweet from Will Brinson, Senior NFL Writer for CBS Sports showed how Chestnut put mustard on to throw the protester away from the hot dog table:
On the Heinz site, this incident along with the injury may have prevented Chestnut from breaking his record and reaching his stated goal of 80 hot dogs. But it remains so far ahead of its competition that they don’t really know ketchup.
Sudo has been nearly as dominant as Chestnut, winning the women’s competition for the eighth time in nine years. Since winning the first time she competed in 2014, Sudo has been the big ‘wiener’ every year except last year when the 36-year-old skipped the event due to pregnancy . In Sudo’s absence, Michelle Lesco topped the competition with 30.75 hot dogs for the 2021 title. However, that turned out to be a bun and a situation over. This year, Sudo led all the way, finishing with a hunch of 40 hot dogs and buns, easily passing Lesco, who finished second.
What made Chestnut and Sudo so dominant? Well, let’s take a look at what makes a top eater. It starts with the mouth and throat. Competitive eaters don’t chew food or swallow like you would on a date or a business dinner. Instead, through a combination of sipping water and using various chewing techniques, they try to create a mass of food that can then travel down their esophagus like toothpaste. (Yes, “esophagus” is the plural of “esophagus” in case you never had to mention more than one esophagus in a sentence.)
This helps them to be able to suppress their gag reflexes so that this lump can work its way past their throat. It also helps that they can widen their esophagus and relax their lower esophageal sphincters, which normally control the junctions between the lower esophagus and the stomachs. Top competitive eaters are generally able to hold more food in their stomachs at one time than regular people. As I covered for Forbes last year they tend to have bigger, more stretchy and flabby stomachs from birth or in training or both.
Then there are body movements. You will notice that during the competition, competitors move their bodies, jump and twist. It’s not just about dancing to the surrounding music. This is to physically move the mass of food down their esophagus, again like squeezing toothpaste.
As in all physical competitions, the mental game also plays a big role. The best competitive eaters must be able to suppress many of their body’s natural feelings and reflexes. Normally your body will tell you when you have reached your limit when it comes to eating. This can take the form of nausea, feeling full, or even vomiting. As a rule, such a feeling will come relatively soon. That’s why you might be more likely to say to your host at a dinner party, “I don’t think I could eat another hot dog” rather than “I don’t think I could eat forty hot dogs. what’s more “. Competitive eaters, on the other hand, have to somehow delay, ignore, and overcome these cues and keep putting the food where their mouth is.
Finally, they must have enough muscle and a high enough metabolism to burn all the calories and handle all the salt they consume. A typical hot dog made with beef or pork will include about 6 grams of protein, 14 grams of fat, 3 grams of carbohydrates and 562 milligrams of sodium, totaling 162 calories, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). . That means 40 hot dogs would be well over 6,000 calories. Not to mention the buns, honey. Therefore, the best competitive eaters should try to stay fit even though their esophagus and stomach may be different shapes.
Chestnut and Sudo dominated Nathan’s famous 4th of July hot dog eating contest, much like tennis player Rafael Nadal dominated Roland Garros. They roasted their competition with no real end to their reign on the site.