Debra L Rothenberg/Shutterstock Joey Chestnut
Joey Chestnut has defended his title once more.
The competitive eater, 37, took home his 14th win in the last 15 years during the Fourth of July Nathan’s Annual Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, N.Y.
According to multiple outlets, including ESPN, Chestnut housed a total of 76 hot dogs (with the buns!) in 10 minutes on Sunday, beating his previous record, set last year, by one.
Chestnut bested runner-up Geoffrey Esper by a whopping 26 hot dogs during the competition held at Maimonides Park, CNN reports.
Michelle Lesco won for the women’s division for the first time by eating 30¾ hot dogs, multiple outlets report, clinching the victory over Sarah Rodriguez, who ate 24.
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Bobby Bank/WireImage Joey Chestnut
Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty Images Joey Chestnut
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Ahead of the competition, Chestnut told ESPN he had been “looking forward to [it] all year,” having missed spectators last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and competing indoors.
Following his victory, the reigning world champion told ESPN that “it just felt good” to be in front of a crowd again and have them rooting for him.
“Even if I was uncomfortable, having everybody cheer me and push me, it made me feel good,” Chestnut added.
As for Lesco, she called her first win “an amazing feeling,” according to ESPN. (The Tucson, Ariz., native took home the victory after seven-time champion Miki Sudo sat out this year’s competition, as she’s expecting her first child this month.)
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The 2020 competition was held indoors rather than outdoors in a new setup due to the restrictions brought on by the virus.
The event still took place in Coney Island, but “in a private location with COVID-19 safety measures in place,” according to Major League Eating (MLE), which officially sanctions Nathan’s contest. The venue featured a 30-foot-long table with only five competitors compared to the typical 15.
“2020 has been a year for the history books, and the realization that this storied July 4 tradition would be able to occur is a great feeling,” said James Walker, Nathan’s Famous senior vice president, when the new venue was announced last year. “With that being said, our country and our world has endured so much in the last couple of months, that we’d be remiss if we didn’t use this moment to honor those that have done so much for each of us during this time.”
Beyond Nathan’s usual annual donation of 100,000 hot dogs to the Food Bank for New York City, additional efforts were made in 2020 to raise money and bring awareness to the needs of food banks and all the work these organizations do.