Not even Joey Chestnut had ever eaten 75 hot dogs in 10 minutes. The 36-year-old has dominated the competitive-eating scene for years, and the 74 hot dogs he consumed during the annual Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest in 2018 set a world record. But Saturday, he was looking for more.
At a time when little has been normal in the sports world, Chestnut did what he does every Fourth of July: handily won the men's hot dog eating contest. He consumed 75 hot dogs in 10 minutes to break his own world record.
Chestnut, who ate at least 70 hot dogs for the fifth consecutive year, has won the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest in 13 of the past 14 years, and he's showing no signs of slowing down after his best performance yet.
"It was hard," Chestnut said, according to ESPN. "I knew I was fast in the beginning. It was like blistering speed. And the dogs were cooked really well."
By eating 75 hot dogs and buns, Chestnut consumed "roughly 21,750 calories," per ESPN. Darron Breeden, who finished second in the men's competition, ate 42 hot dogs, making Chestnut's 33-dog margin of victory the largest since the contest separated into men's and women's competitions in 2011.
As ESPN Stats & Info pointed out, Chestnut could have stopped eating with 5 minutes and 35 seconds to go in the competition and still won. ESPN's broadcast also shared that Chestnut is the first competitor to eat 1,000 hot dogs over his appearances at the Fourth of July event, which started to be sanctioned by Major League Eating in 1997.
The coronavirus pandemic meant there were changes to this year's contest. Rather than taking place outdoors in Coney Island in front of a large crowd, the competitors were indoors and separated by plexiglass. And instead of 15 men and 15 women taking part, both contests were limited to five participants.
"Minute Six is where I really missed the crowd...and I hit a wall, and it took me a little bit more work to get through it," Chestnut added, per ESPN. "This is a crazy year, and I'm happy I was able to get a record."
It wasn't a close competition on the women's side, either, as Miki Sudo won the contest for the seventh consecutive year. Her seven career victories rank second in Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest history behind only Chestnut (13).
Sudo ate 48.5 hot dogs in 10 minutes, breaking the record of 45 that was set by Sonya Thomas in 2013. And like Chestnut, she won by a wide margin, eating 32.5 more dogs than second-placed Larell Marie Mele.
As long as Chestnut and Sudo continue to compete, it will be hard for anybody else to win the mustard belt. And perhaps the records are poised to be broken again in the years to come.