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Corby Kummer on Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest

Explaining The Phenomenon Of Competitive Eating

Joey Chestnut
Reigning champion Joey Chestnut celebrates after winning the men's competition of the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July hot dog eating contest, Wednesday, July 4, 2018, in New York's Coney Island. Chestnut broke his own world record by eating 74 hot dogs in 10 minutes. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Mary Altaffer/AP
Corby Kummer on Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest

Competitive eater Joey “Jaws” Chestnut took home his 11th “Mustard Belt” from Nathan's Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest last Wednesday.

Food writer Corby Kummer joined Boston Public Radio to talk about Chestnut’s victory, which he earned by eating 74 hot dogs (and buns) in 10 minutes.

Kummer explained that the appeal of competitive eating is the ability to excel without the same intensity of training for other “athletic” feats.

“It’s very rigorous and it’s grueling, but it’s not as grueling as training for a marathon,” Kummer said. “They can prove themselves.”

Kummer called the hot dog eating contest “completely disgusting.” He explained that the competitors don’t always meet the stereotypical larger body types of competitive eaters— many times they appear to be physically fit.

“People who are thin— they often can have the ‘esophagus of the champion,’” said Kummer, echoing an announcer who gave that title to Joey Chestnut.

Corby Kummer is a food writer, restaurant critic, columnist for the New Republic and Senior Editor at the Atlantic.

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