Even injured and grieving, Joey Chestnut is unbeatable.
The so-called ‘Jaws’ gobbled down 63 hot dogs in 10 minutes on Monday to win his 15e title, a seventh in a row, at the traditional Nathan’s Famous hot dog contest on July 4, while Miki Sudo triumphed in the women’s section.
Chestnut edged his closest pursuer, Geoffrey Esper, by 15.5 hot dogs. The world record, held by Chestnut, is 76 hot dogs.
Chestnut got off to a great start, as he is used to, but his pace quickly slowed compared to previous years and seemed to be out of luck at the very end.
“I slowed down, but it was crazy as a competition”, recognized Chestnut at the end of the test.
Last December, the 38-year-old champion suffered an open fracture in his right leg and required two operations which forced him to spend 13 days in hospital. More recently, he injured a tendon in the same leg while training for running. So he arrived in New York last Friday with his leg in a cast and moving on crutches.
These injuries have limited him to a single competition since the start of the year, when he is used to showing up at Nathan’s Famous with 4 or 5 five competitions on his record.
As if that wasn’t enough, her mother passed away on June 16.
“She wouldn’t have wanted me to miss this contest,” he said in a recent interview.
In the ladies, Miki Sudo reclaimed her crown by gobbling up 40 hot dogs after missing last year’s contest.