On Tuesday, for Independence Day, Joey Chestnut managed to win the Coney Island hot dog contest for the 10th time, with 72 Hot Dogs swallowed in 10 minutes.

Breaking his record

The 33-year-old and 104-kilogram California fellow named "Joey Chestnut" broke his record of 2016 (70 hot dogs) entering the legend of this contest held annually since 1916 in Brooklyn at the base of the famous amusement park of Luna Park. His record - and world record - is 72 hot dogs swallowed in 10 minutes in a qualifying event.

As the organizer of the competition, George Shea, sang his victory lyrically, describing him as "the American hero" model excellence, "an incarnation of freedom and the American ideal."

"I am just a funny guy who likes to eat," he told reporters, hot dogs barely swallowed, sweating in drops.

"I am lucky, I travel around the world, and I eat and make people smile." Moreover, Chestnut, who started his career as a competition eater as a student in 2005 with an asparagus (a vegetable) contest, is set to improve further by next year.

"I have to work on my form, to less sweat because it has me wasting time. I have to understand my body better to be able to push it to the limit", Chestnut explains. However, in a country that is famous for the junk food, where obesity affects more than one in three adults, this contest launched in 1916 is considered by many a bad example.

A real sport

The scenes it generates are not recommended for sensitive stomachs: to facilitate chewing, the 18 finalists dip their buns in the water and push the hot dogs in the mouth with fingers to the last crumb, raising heads to help the drop.

However, the competition still attracts thousands of people, more than 30,000 again this year, according to the organizers. Not to mention the more than one million viewers who watch the live event on the sports channel ESPN, which has been broadcasting it for 11 years.

Many of the competitors and spectators see this July 4 ceremony as a real sporting event, with strict training for "athletes" to prepare and expand the stomach, qualifying events, official judges, and records to break.

Healthy eating

The discipline has its Federation, Major League Eating, which boasts about 80 events a year, during a season that continues from February to September, with separate events for men and women (Tuesday champion Miki Sudo, swallowed 41 hot dogs). A tradition that is expected to last an extended period, despite the growing number of "healthy eating" lawyers in the United States.

George Shea, 52, says he will continue to encourage the event "until they bury me here at the corners of Surf and Stillwell Avenue," the crossroads where the contest was held.