Eddie Hall is no stranger to a big appetite, having said time and time again that it’s crucial for strongmen to train on a full stomach. But does he have what it takes to succeed in the world of competitive eating?
In a video posted on Christmas Day, the former World’s Strongest Man goes up against professional eater Leah Shutkever in a challenge to see who can be the quickest to polish off 2 kgs of chicken wings covered in stuffing, pigs in blankets, and cheese sauce. That’s more than 4 pounds of festive foul.
From the very first bite, it’s clear who does this for a living. While Eddie holds his wing with both hands, Leah demonstrates the superior technique, putting the entire thing in her mouth so she can swiftly tear the meat from the bone. (You can also see, as the time-lapse video progresses, that Leah’s bones are mostly clean, while Eddie’s have plenty of meat and skin left on them. Poor form indeed.)
The two contenders keep a fairly steady pace with each other to begin with, storming through the first dozen or so wings. “Competition was high, and my goodness, was the tension in that room one you could cut with a knife,” says Leah.
Leah smashes the entire 2 kg platter of wings in 8 minutes 8 seconds. Providing some retroactive commentary and insight into her performance as she nears the finish line with just two wings left, she says: “I’m feeling like I’ve got this in the bag, totally nailing it. I didn’t take on too much liquid, and I felt in a really good place, to be honest.”
“I thought I was doing really well,” says a crestfallen Eddie, who perseveres to finish his own remaining wings in under 14 minutes, which was the target they both set at the start o the challenge. He eventually comes in with a clear mouth at 12 minutes 2 seconds. “There was a lot more than you think,” he says. “I feel like I’ve got a whole chicken stuck in my teeth.”
“This is hard, this is hard like training,” says Leah. “People underestimate how much actual mental ability you need to have, that psychological control, to get through something that your body is really struggling to do.”
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