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Joey Chestnut defends America’s honor by inhaling 72 wet hot dogs

Photo: Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

Yesterday, the Nathan’s Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest—the sporting event so all-American, it’s debatable whether it even counts as a sport—was held in Coney Island for at least the 45th time. (Reps from the company claim a quasi-mystical origin date of 1916, but the first recorded contest was held in 1972.) And for the 10th time, America’s own Joey Chestnut defended his title as the man who could stuff more meat tubes down his gullet than any other man, beating his own personal record with 72 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes, the Associated Press reports, and gaining 15 pounds of hot dog weight and eight pounds of water weight, according to TMZ. America dominated the women’s competition as well, with Las Vegas’ own Miki Sudo winning her fourth consecutive title with 41 dogs.

The Nathan’s Famous contest is the biggest event in competitive eating, with the intensely competitive qualifying rounds, bitter rivalries, and complaints about the contest being fixed that plague any major sporting event. It even airs on TV on ESPN2, which this year put Chestnut among the most winning players in any sport, ever:


But as USA Today points out, Chestnut has an advantage in that the Wilt Chamberlin to his Bill Russell, Japanese eater Takeru Kobayashi, has been out of the game since 2009. Chestnut did beat Kobayashi three times in a head-to-head (or maybe mouth-to-mouth) competition, though, so we’re going to go ahead and say that, while we might be lagging behind in everything from math education to linguistic diversity, when it comes to income inequality, prison population, jorts, and shoving soaking-wet hot dogs down our throats, America is still No. 1.

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