It’s difficult to understate just how unusual this is within the realm of athletic (and admittedly, I’m using the term loosely here, but I think we can all agree there’s a significant physical component involved in competitive eating) competition. How unusual?
When Chestnut wins on Friday, it’ll likely be the first time in a century that an athletic competitor leads his league in a meaningful statistic for eight years in a row.
For whatever reason—a natural decline with age, suspension, fluke seasons by a competitor, injury, wartime service, premature retirement—eight seems to be something of a magic number when it comes to dominance within a sport. Historically, the most dominant players tend to get to seven and then suffer some calamity that keeps them from number eight.