The world’s biggest eater will bravely hobble into battle in the sport’s first event on Monday, July 4.
Joey Chestnut shocked the competitive eating community on Friday by hobbling through New York’s Hudson Yards on crutches during the official weigh-in ahead of the 2022 Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest – a Fourth of July tradition in Coney Island.
“I’m going to eat like crazy,” the world’s best eater told Fox News Digital before weighing 235 pounds.
“It’s a ruptured tendon,” he explained of his injury.
“It’s okay. I can get up and eat. I’m excited.”
The 14-time Nathan’s Famous champion sported a black cast below his right knee and walked with crutches under each arm.
“I don’t eat with my leg,” Chestnut told fans.
Chestnut, 38, from Indiana, broke his own world record last year by consuming an incredible 76 hot dogs and buns in just 10 minutes at Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest 2021.
He declined to specify the cause of his leg injury, saying only that “life has happened”.
“When the barren hills, cracked earth and once-proud oceans turn to sand, there will always be a monument to our existence,” said George Shea, emcee and host of the famous hot dog eating contest. Nathan, about the defending champion.
“This man represents all that is eternal in the human spirit.”
The women’s division features a much-anticipated esophagus grudge match between 2021 champion Michelle Lesco and dynastic Miki Sudo, who won seven straight titles from 2014-2021.
Lesco missed the scaled-down 2020 competition – held indoors that year without spectators – due to pandemic travel restrictions.
Sudo, the world’s highest ranked eater, was unable to compete last year because she was pregnant with Max, whose father is the no. #3 ranked male competitor Nick Wehry.
“I’m so excited to be back,” Sudo said.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve eaten hot dogs in front of a Coney Island crowd.”
The Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating contest was first held in 1916.
The Independence Day competition returns Monday to its traditional location at the corner of Surf and Stillwell avenues for the first time since 2019.