The Washington Post

Fairfax County’s “Black Widow,” Son ya Thomas, sets new world mark for women’s hot dog eating

Competitive eater Sonya Thomas of the Huntington area of Fairfax County competes in the Nathan's Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island on Wednesday. This event was extensively photographed, and this was the least disgusting action shot. (Andrew Burton/GETTY IMAGES)

And on the Fourth of July, at Nathan’s on Coney Island, she broke her own world women’s mark by pounding down 45 hot dogs in 10 minutes. The video below of ESPN’s live coverage of this is fairly unwatchable, but has the classic overheated play-by-play, graphics showing Thomas’s best hot dog performances and sideline commentary from someone who doesn’t appear to have ever come near a hot dog.

But Northern Virginia Magazine has many more things that you didn’t know about The Black Widow, courtesy of a fine story by Dave Seminara: Her day job is managing a Burger King; she fasted for two days before a Ben’s Chili Bowl-eating competition; her original name was Lee Sun-Kyung and she grew up in South Korea poor and hungry, which I suppose we could have guessed.

The rest of Seminara’s fine piece is here, if you can stand it. And here’s an online chat she did with The Post’s readers in 2008.

Tom Jackman is a native of Northern Virginia and has been covering the region for The Post since 1998.

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