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After split with NYC July 4 hot dog competition, Joey Chestnut heads to army base event in Texas

After split with NYC July 4 hot dog competition, Joey Chestnut heads to army base event in Texas

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After split with NYC July 4 hot dog competition, Joey Chestnut heads to army base event in Texas

Competitive eater Joey “Jaws” Chestnut will take his hot dog-downing talents to an army base in Texas for America’s Independence Day this year after a falling out with organizers of the event that made him famous, the annual 4th of July eating contest in Brooklyn’s Coney Island.

Chestnut, of Indiana, will compete against soldiers in Fort Bliss, in El Paso, in a 5-minute hot dog eating contest. That’s instead of the 10-minute Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July hot dog eating contest, where he competed against the world’s top competitive eaters since 2005 and hadn’t lost since 2015. In 2021 he set the current record of 76 hot dogs, in 10 minutes.

Organizers of that event initially said he couldn’t attend due to a sponsorship conflict, which Chestnut said involved a deal with Impossible Foods, which makes plant-based hot dogs.

Chestnut said he was “ gutted ” he couldn’t compete in the event in Coney Island, where he said he loved the atmosphere and the sometimes-sweltering crowds.

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“Those people have been sitting in the sun, waiting. They know what to expect. And they’re not shocked. They’re cheering and yelling and pushing me,” Chestnut said Thursday in a phone interview.

But Chestnut says he’s not going to sit home and do nothing. And he’s hopeful the soldiers will push him to perform. Fearful of being “lazy” in competition with amateurs, the perennial world champion will try to out-eat four soldiers, pitting his frank-swallowing total against theirs combined. If they work together, they might even beat him.

“If they (each) break ten, that’d be pretty good,” Chestnut said Thursday as he fasted on water, lemon juice and liquified calories as part of his pre-competition routine.

Around 15,000 people, mostly soldiers and their families, are expected to attend the annual “Pop Goes the Fort” celebration at Fort Bliss. It also is to include fireworks and performances by the El Paso Symphony Orchestra and the 1st Armored Division Band, according to Fort Bliss Morale Welfare and Recreation organization spokesperson Marlo Brestar.

Chestnut said he’ll do a practice routine Friday, then ingest oils to “make sure there’s a clean highway, there won’t be any traffic jams” in his digestive system before heading to Fort Bliss, the sprawling desert army base that’s home to the 1st Armored Division. It will be his first visit to El Paso.

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“Maybe I’ll get to get on a tank,” he said.

Fans can watch Chestnut compete on Netflix against rival Takeru Kobayashi in September.

He’s hopeful that he can get back to competing on July 4th next year, either with Netflix or at the Nathan’s Famous contest. To head back to his cherished Coney Island event though, he’d need to make up with the event organizers, Major League Eating.
“I feel bullied,” he said. “If I’m ever going to work with them again, they’re going to have to apologize,” Chestnut said.

Major League Eating says it eventually conceded the sponsorship issue, according to a statement from spokesman George Shea.
“Unfortunately, this was not enough to get us to an agreement,” the statement said. “We think this is a powerful tribute to our armed forces and we wish Joey the best of luck at his event.”

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Rakitic joins Hajduk Split after leaving Al-Shabab

Rakitic joins Hajduk Split after leaving Al-Shabab

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Rakitic joins Hajduk Split after leaving Al-Shabab

Former Croatia midfielder Ivan Rakitic is joining Hajduk Split after Saudi Pro League club Al-Shabab terminated his contract by mutual consent following a six-month spell.

The 36-year-old scored once in eight games after joining Al-Shabab in January 2024 as they finished eighth on 52 points.

“The club management agreed with the Croatian player Ivan Rakitic to terminate the contractual relationship between the two parties by mutual consent,” the Saudi club posted on the X social media platform.

Hajduk Split on Sunday announced the signing of the former Barcelona and Sevilla midfielder for one season with the option of an extra year in what will be his first campaign in Croatia.

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Rakitic, who was born in Switzerland, played 106 games for Croatia, scoring 15 goals, and helped the country reach the World Cup final in 2018. 

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Croatia’s Vida retires from international football

Croatia’s Vida retires from international football

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Croatia's Vida retires from international football

Croatia defender Domagoj Vida has retired from international soccer after 14 years in the national team, the Croatian Football Federation said on Sunday.

Vida, 35, made his international debut in May 2010 and has played 105 matches for Croatia. He was part of the Croatia side that reached the final of World Cup 2018 and finished third in World Cup 2022.

“It is an honour to wear the most beautiful jersey in the world once in your career,” Vida said in a statement.

“And when you do it 105 times, you play in seven major competitions … then you can just be infinitely grateful for such a privilege.”

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Former Bayer Leverkusen and Besiktas player Vida currently plays for Greek top-flight club AEK Athens. 

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Canada defender Collins to miss Paris 2024 soccer tournament through injury

Canada defender Collins to miss Paris 2024 soccer tournament through injury

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Canada defender Collins to miss Paris 2024 soccer tournament through injury

Canada defender Sydney Collins will miss the Paris 2024 women’s soccer tournament after fracturing her left leg during a training game in her first match back after suffering a similar injury to her right leg earlier this year, Team Canada said on Saturday.

Gabrielle Carle will replace Collins in Canada’s Olympic squad, while Desiree Scott will take Carle’s spot as an alternate for the Tokyo 2020 gold medallists, it said.

Collins sustained the injury on Thursday during a closed-door training match against Nigeria, her first since fracturing her right leg in February.

“Our hearts go out to Sydney during this difficult time. She has worked incredibly hard to return in time for Paris 2024, and while this is a setback, we know she will come back stronger,” said women’s national team head coach Bev Priestman.

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“She will be with us in spirit every step of the way.

“With the depth and resilience of our roster, it’s a next-player-up mentality, and both Gabby and Desiree’s experience will be invaluable to our team’s success.”

Canada will begin the defence of their Olympic title on July 25 against Group A opponents New Zealand. 

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