Joey Chestnut Broke the Hot Dog Eating Record Again — Even as Technical Difficulties Kept Viewers From Seeing It
ESPN's live feed cut out in the midst of the July 4th feeding frenzy.
There are a few traditions that you can count on every Fourth of July: a stranger will yell "America!" when you make eye contact with him, you'll half-watch your neighborhood's fireworks display because you're scrolling through Instagram pics of other neighborhoods' fireworks displays, and Joey Chestnut will eat more hot dogs in 10 minutes than most of us eat in a year.
During this year's Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, Chestnut broke his own record, downing 76 hot dogs and their buns and claiming his 14th title. (Last year, he set a new record with 75 dogs.) This year's competition was held at Maimonides Park on Coney Island, and the competitors (kind of) chewed and swallowed all of those hot dogs in front of a limited-capacity crowd — and they're the only ones who got to see Chestnut's record-breaking finish.
According to Sports Illustrated, ESPN's broadcast cut out repeatedly, and the screen went totally blank in the final 15 seconds, so no one watching at home saw Chestnut finish his 75th and 76th hot dogs. In a statement, ESPN said that the technical issues were "the result of a problem with uplink service provided by a vendor at the site."
On the women's side, Michelle Lesco won her first title by finishing 30.75 hot dogs, which was 6.75 more dogs and buns than the runner-up, Sarah Rodriguez. Seven-time champion Miki Sudo, who set a new women's world record of 48.5 hot dogs last year, did not compete.
Chestnut's victory was even more lopsided; he ate 26 more 'dogs than second-place finisher Geoffrey Esper. "It just felt good," Chestnut said after his win. "Even if I was uncomfortable, having everybody cheer me and push me, it made me feel good."
The Sporting News did a little bit of math and determined that Chestnut consumed 22,800 calories, 1,368 grams of fat, 1,824 grams of carbohydrates, and 836 grams of protein. That's roughly the number of calories that an average adult should consume in 11 days. (If Chestnut ran the 200-plus miles from New York City to Boston after the event, he still wouldn't burn all of those calories off — although if that had happened, we'd probably be writing a totally different article today.)
On the bright side for the Nathan's contest organizers — and for anyone who enjoys watching people do this kind of thing — one scientist suggested that a human is capable of eating even more hot dogs during that 10 minute period.
Last year, Dr. James Smoliga, the associate director of the Human Biomechanics and Physiology Laboratory at High Point University, tried to predict the "the upper limit of performance" for competitive eaters and, using a combination of data — including 39 years' worth of Nathan's Famous contest results — he suggested that a future competitor could theoretically down 84 dogs.
Since Chestnut seems to improve by one hot dog every year, we're betting on him to hit that number in about 2029. See you there, America!