Once again, Joey Chestnut proved there is no match for his feats of gastrointestinal fortitude.
Chestnut scarfed down a record 72 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes to win the 2017 Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest on Independence Day in Coney Island, New York City. It's his 10th win in the last 11 years, a streak interrupted only by Matt Stonie in 2015.
Carmen Cincotti finished runner-up to Chestnut, eating 62 hot dogs, while Stonie could only muster 48 hot dogs to finish in third place. Miki Sudo won the women's competition with 41 hot dogs and buns.
Amazing performances in this competition are nothing new to Chestnut.
The man they call "Jaws" increased his total by two hot dogs over 2016 and has eaten at least 60 hot dogs in eight of his 10 victories. While competitive eating might seem to be relatively thin in the stats department, ESPN's Darren Rovell provided a unique tally of Chestnut's excess of eating:
Rovell also provided a revealing quote from the 33-year-old, who said he gets better by watching "game" film:
Chesnut earned a fair bit of cash for his win in the 101st edition of the famous competition. According to Marc J. Burns of Forbes, Chestnut will get $10,000 of the $40,000 total prize for the win, as will Sudo. Second place (Cincotti) will get $5,000 and Stonie is earning $2,500 for his third-place result.
While Chestnut has accrued plenty of Mustard Belts for winning the Nathan's hot dog eating contest, USA Today's Steven Ruiz noted that he hasn't faced the best possible competition in recent years:
"By 2019, Chestnut could surpass Bill Russell as the greatest champion this country has ever seen. There's only one problem, and the comparison to Russell only highlights this problem: Chestnut is not competing against the best. Russell had Wilt Chamberlain. Chestnut's Wilt, Takeru Kobayashi, has not competed in the Nathan's competition since 2009 because of a contractual dispute with Major League Eating.
When it comes to legacy, competition matters, and Chestnut is facing a weakened field. There's no denying that. And because of that fact, it will be difficult for him to ever overtake Kobayashi as the GOAT hot dog eater."
This sentiment was echoed by Barstool Sports' Big Cat:
Kobayashi doesn't appear to be coming back to Major League Eating anytime soon—at the very least, he's answering the great philosophical questions of our time—so it's possible Chestnut's reign over the sport of competitive eating and perhaps its most famous competition will continue for some time.
Even though he is over 30, age doesn't appear to be affecting his abilities like it does longtime champions in other sports. Assuming competitive eaters are at least somewhat immune to the ravages of time, Chestnut could have a war chest full of Mustard Belts and prize money when he's finally ready to throw in the napkin.