Joey Chestnut shares heartbreaking message after mom dies days before his bid to win 15th Nathan's Hotdog Eating contest | The Sun
JOEY Chestnut has shared a heartbreaking but hopeful message after his mom died less than a month before his potential 15th win at the Nathan's Hotdog Eating contest.
The hot-dog-eating champ has had a rough year after breaking his leg, getting Covid and most recently losing his mother on June 16.
His mother, Alicia Chestnut, was the Mustard Yellow Belt winner's "first trainer."
Alicia had always been proud of him and supported his dreams of being a hot-dog-eating king, he revealed.
Back in 2011 when Chestnut won his fifth competition, Alicia told the San Fransisco Examiner: “He loves to eat and they’re paying him to do it; he’s going to go with it,” she said.
Chestnut, 38, said in an emotional interview ahead of this year's competition that his mom "wouldn’t want me to miss the contest,’’ reported USA TODAY.
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He continued, “It’s definitely going to be a closer contest than it was last year."
“It’s been nuts … practices this year have been inconsistent,’’ Chestnut added.
But that does not mean Chestnut is throwing in the towel.
It looks like Chestnut is trying to beat last year's record of 76 hotdogs.
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According to USAToday, during a practice session on Tuesday, Chestnut said he had 80 hot dogs on the table.
The hot dog champ told USA TODAY: "I'm still going for 80."
He continued: "Most athletes have two kinds of primes. Their first prime is when their body is the best. I've passed that prime.
"The second prime is when their mind and knowledge is at its best, where you know your body and how to practice less but be just as prepared. I'm there now."
The champion eater won last year's competition with a 26 hot dog margin, setting a personal record.
No other competitor has eaten 70 hot dogs during the 10-minute time limit.
Chestnut has won each of the past four contests by at least 20 hot dogs, so his odds are still pretty good despite the hardships of the past year.
The hot dog king also doesn't have many rivals.
Matt Stonie was the only one to defeat Chestnut in the past 15 years back in 2015.
Stonie, however, is not competing for the third year in a row now.
Chestnut has also been looking on the bright side.
“I’m lucky it’s not my jaw that’s injured,’’ he told USA TODAY. “Things could be worse.’’
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"I'm still emotionally hungry. This is what I love to do. I love competition and hope people out there can love what they do as much as I love competitive eating."
He continued, "I love hot dogs! It's hard for me to imagine a day where I'm not in a Nathan's contest."
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