competitive eating

Joey Chestnut, Miki Sudo Dominate 2022 Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest

Chestnut captured a record-extending 15th Mustard Belt, while Sudo reclaimed the women's title in her return to the event

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Miki Sudo and Joey Chestnut didn't down a record number of hot dogs at the 2022 Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest.

But they still dominated the competition.

The two competitive eating legends added to their respective record Mustard Belt totals with lopsided victories at Nathan's Famous original restaurant in Coney Island on Monday.

Not even a leg injury could stop the world's No. 1-ranked eater from emerging victorious. Chestnut, who arrived on crutches and wearing a walking boot due to a ruptured tendon in his leg, was crowned champion for a seventh consecutive year and a record-extending 15th time overall.

The 38-year-old nicknamed "Jaws" failed to eat at least 70 hot dogs and buns (HDBs) for the first time since 2015 and yet still finished with a double-digit advantage over the runner-up. Chestnut, who bested his own world record in 2021 by eating 76 HDBs, downed 63 HDBs in 10 minutes as he cruised to victory. He ate 15.5 more HDBs than No. 2-ranked eater Geoffrey Esper, who came in second with 47.5.

"It hurts, but I was in the zone for a little bit," Chestnut told ESPN when asked about his leg following the win. "I was ignoring it."

Chestnut was involved in an incident with an animal rights protester early in the competition. As Chestnut was eating his 18th HDB, multiple protesters in "Star Wars" masks rushed the stage and one of them bumped into the six-time reigning champion. Chestnut grabbed that protester around the neck and helped pull them to the ground.

Chestnut then went right back to eating as security removed the protesters from the stage. Three people were taken into custody and charges are pending, according to TMZ.

Hot dog eating champ Joey Chestnut helped to subdue a protester that charged the annual Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest.

Chestnut has lost just once since dethroning six-time defending champ Takeru Kobayashi for his first victory in 2007. That lone defeat came in 2015, when Matt Stonie edged out Chestnut by two HDBs. The closest anyone has come to beating him since then was in 2017 when Carmen Cincotti finished in second place by 10 HDBs.

Sudo, meanwhile, reclaimed the Mustard Belt in her return to the women's competition. The No. 1-ranked eater among women and No. 3 overall, Sudo saw her streak of seven straight Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest wins come to an end last year as she sat out of the event due to pregnancy.

Michelle Lesco, the No. 2-ranked eater among women and No. 9 overall, won in Sudo's absence but didn't come close to a repeat. The 36-year-old Sudo, who set the women's record in 2020 by eating 48.5 HDBs, consumed 40 HDBs in 10 minutes for a record-extending eighth women's title.

Lesco finished in second place with 26 HDBs eaten. It was the fourth time Sudo and Lesco, who are friends and former roommates, finished first and second, respectively, in the contest.

Sudo (eight titles), Lesco (one title) and Sonya Thomas (three titles) are the only winners of the women’s event since it debuted in 2011. Women and men competed in the same contest prior to 2011.

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