National Sports Expands its Palate

We can all agree that following competitive eating is definitely a productive and entertaining pastime. Although personally I prefer to lather my hot dogs in mayo, mustard, onions and relish, condiments are seldom included during hot dog eating competitions. These condiments are too difficult to incorporate; instead, competitive eaters consume solely the hot dog, a bun and multiple cups of water.

A natural cause for concern during these competitions is nutrition.

A hot dog on a bun averages 272 calories without toppings, which leads us to horrific caloric intakes during professional eating competitions that can some- times near 20,000 calories. However, a careful diet leading up to the competition allows these professional athletes to maintain their physiques with sporadic high calorie days.

As fans look ahead with excitement toward the 2019 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, we can reflect on previous winners and make predictions for this year.

The Hot Dog Eating Contest runs annually on Independence Day and attracts around 20 competitors and thousands of spectators. Dethroning Joey Chestnut is often unthinkable as he makes his annual pilgrimage to Coney Island to defend the throne for the eleventh time.

The upset by Matt Stonie in 2015 took the world by surprise, when he put away 62 hot dogs in ten minutes.

This did not seem to demotivate Joey Chestnut, who rebounded the following year and reclaim his title, setting the world record at 74 hot dogs in ten minutes three years later.

Less predictability is found in competition in the women’s segment of the Nathan’s Hot Dog Contest. This segment of the contest first entered the scene in 2011.

Now, coverage of the Hot Dog Eating Contest would be incomplete to most professional eating fans if it lacked participation of both Sonya Thomas and Miki Victoria Sudo.

Thomas entered the scene in 2003 after joining the Federation of Competitive Eating. She emerged as the first female victor with 38 hot dogs during the inaugural 2011 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest and held on to her title for three years.

During her victorious reign, Thomas claimed the second place medal during the 2005 competition and was a competitive eater to follow over the early 2000s.

Sudo, on the other hand, was able to dethrone Thomas in a gripping 2014 Hot

Dog Contest. Sudo, the reigning champion, has now won the contest for the past five consecutive years.

It is only fair to attribute her victory in 2014 to her continued training since she appeared in the competitive eating realm in 2013.

Just prior to the 2014 victory, Sudo took second at the Oktoberfest Zinzinnati World Bratwurst-Eating Championship with 61.5 sausages in ten minutes.

Analysts chalk up her success in 2014 to the momentum following the Bratwurst competition. Other notable achievements include Sudo’s ability to consume 8.8 pounds of turkey in ten minutes during the Foxwoods World Turkey-Eating Championship in 2015.

My predictions for this years Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest include both Chestnut and Sudo as the winners for male and female competitions respectively. Michelle Lesco is a favored second place winner in the women’s segment of the contest as she continues to train with Sudo.

If Stonie returns this summer, he too will be the favored silver medalist in the men’s competition. Get excited, get hype and stay hungry—we only have seven months to go.

Contact Robert Sobelsohn at [email protected]