The Washington Post

Alexandria woman wins Nathan’s hot-dog eating contest

Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas, right, holds the woman’s world record for hot dog eating. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) (John Minchillo/AP)

Alexandria’s Sonya Thomas, known as the “Black Widow” of competitive eating, won with 40 downed dogs, earning her $10,000 and her own pink champion’s belt.

“I’m so happy!” said Thomas.

She started out neck-and-neck with second-place finisher Juliet Lee of Germantown but later pulled ahead.

“I looked over, and I said, ‘No way!’ But I have to focus myself, because I cannot keep up with her now,” Thomas said. Instead, she preserved her biggest jolt of energy for the winning end.

Lee, of Germantown, Md., ate 29½ wieners, and Stephanie Torres, of Las Cruces, N.M., downed 28½. The men’s competition was won by Joey Chestnut of San Jose, Calif.

Thomas and Chestnut broke a world record in 2009 with 41 hot dogs consumed.

The annual spectacle on Coney Island draws tens of thousands of holiday revelers, watching as contestants shimmy, slither and bounce as they dip hot dogs in water and cram them down their throats.

For some, it’s a painful reminder of excess — especially as the U.S. battles a growing obesity problem. The American Medical Association opposes competitive eating, saying it’s harmful to the human body.

And hot dogs aren’t exactly the healthiest of choices. In addition to beef, they include salt and various food additives, including sorbitol and hydrolyzed soy.

But the competitive eaters are quite trim. Thomas and her rival Lee weighed in at barely 100 pounds each.


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