Miki Sudo is the #1-ranked female competitive eater in the world, and she proved it again on July 4 by returning from maternity leave to capture her eighth Nathan's Famous International Hot Dog Eating Championship belt.
Downing 40 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes wasn't her personal best, but she told ABC Audio she was just happy to be back in the action on July 4. "I wanted to do better, but I mean, it's just good to just go out there and be back, and to be at Surf and Stillwell [in Coney Island]."
"You know, during [the] pandemic we didn't have a crowd," Miki said. "It was still televised, but yeah, it's just, it's so different not having that crowd screaming for you."
Not only did she compete this year, but her husband, fellow eater Nick Wehry, was there; he placed third, matching her 40 dogs -- and they brought along their baby, Max.
"It was an awesome experience, to be there with family and everything," she adds.
This year's contest was momentarily interrupted when an anti-meat protester wearing a Darth Vader mask jumped in front of eventual repeat champ Joey Chestnut. Barely breaking his winning pace, Joey put the guy in a headlock and the intruder was tackled by security.
"I was probably no more than 4 feet away from them and Nick was right next to Joey," Miki recalls.
"So I'm cheering for Nick, but at that moment, I wanted to join the Chestnut camp for a brief second. I mean, obviously Joey had to do what he had to do because you don't know what level of crazy you're dealing with."
She adds, "When somebody physically touches you and is acting erratic in Darth Vader mask. I mean, you don't know if he has a weapon. I don't fault Joey for a second." (AUDIO IS ABC 1-ON-1)
At a slim 5 feet, 4 inches tall, one wonders where she stores it all -- among her other records, she's also the world record ice cream eating champ, having scarfed down 16 1/2 pints in six minutes back in 2017.
Apart from the gluttonous nature of her sport, she says she stays in top shape. "I feel [I] fluctuate like everybody else. Like if you're going to do like 12, 15 competitions a year you really need the other 350 days a year to be pretty disciplined ... you know, eating well, exercising a lot. There's no secret to it."
As for her baby, he was born on the small side, she says, but "he caught up pretty quick." Considering the 1-year-old's genes, that's not a surprise. "He's got a good appetite," she laughs.
Despite little Max's lineage, however, Miki says, "I hope he doesn't ... try his hand at competitive eating. No bodybuilding. No competitive eating, you know, I've seen both ... up way too [close]. You know, the good, the bad and the ugly."