Ah, July 4th. It's not just a day for fireworks and celebrating the founding of the United States. It's also a day for grown men and women to stuff an obscene amount of hot dogs into their stomachs in front of cameras and a raucous crowd.
Yes, it was once again time for the annual Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, which happens every Independence Day on Coney Island. And the undisputed king of the contest, 13-time champion and record-holder Joey Chestnut, was there to try and break his record of consuming 75 hot dogs in 10 minutes, which he set last year during the crowd-free pandemic edition of the contest.
Chestnut goes for the record, ESPN has technical difficulties
Chestnut started the day ready to slay.
His introduction at the contest was amazing and over the top — in other words, perfect for a man who has won 13 hot dog eating contests and is the No. 1-ranked competitive eater in the world.
Once the contest started, there was no doubt that Chestnut was trying to break his own record. He ate 45 hot dogs in the first five minutes, putting himself on pace to surpass 75. He'd eaten over 70 by the final minute, inching closer and closer with every hot dog he crammed in his mouth.
When time ran out, Chestnut had done it, breaking his own record by eating 76 hot dogs in 10 minutes. But if you're looking for footage of the moment Chestnut made history, there is none. ESPN's feed of the contest had been glitchy throughout, cutting in and out due to unknown technical difficulties.
So of course when Chestnut got to 74 hot dogs with 13 seconds left, the feed cut out again. No one except the people attending in person got to see him break the record.
But he did break the record, earning his 14th title. ESPN's feed came back in time for viewers to see Chestnut's pained face, his mouth completely full of hot dogs, as he was named the champion.
ESPN's Adam Schefter pointed out that by winning his 14th Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, Chestnut has won a championship title in a single event more than anyone else — more than Tom Brady (seven-time Super Bowl champ and five-time Super Bowl MVP) or even Rafael Nadal (13 French Open titles).
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