Dr. Birgit Felden, 1984 Nathan’s champion

I have wondered about the identity of the woman in the lower right corner of the Nathan’s Wall of Fame in Coney Island and assumed that it was Birgit Felden, the only female champion listed, who won with a total of 9.5 hot dogs. That assumption is bolstered by the claim in “Horsemen of the Esophagus” (p. 222) that Birgit Felden was a pretty 17 year old member of the West German judo team, since that description matches the picture. Googling “Birgit Felden” produces information that Birgit Felden, born in 1967, is now a management consultant with a doctorate who has authored three books along with a current photograph that validates that this Dr. Felden is the pictured Nathan’s competitor.

Birgit Felden 1984
Birgit Felden 2006

Comments (9)


  1. Brad Busby said

    May 10, 2006 @ 2:44 am

    I don’t think that’s Birgit. It looks like any of the girls who’ve volunteered at previous contests to assist the judges and hold the scorecards. That’s pretty much the same vest they’ve all worn. Like Sacajawea’s worthless kid in the papoose on the back of the Sacajawea dollar coin, I think this girl just got lucky and found herself filling space on the wall to illustrate some of the history of the event.

  2. Jonny Cake said

    May 10, 2006 @ 11:32 am

    WHAT.. that’s a crock of BS. That girl is the CEO of Nathan’s daughter who was a bunnette one year and has absolutely no reason to be anywhere on that wall.

  3. liz said

    May 10, 2006 @ 5:21 pm

    You crack me up.

  4. Mega Munch said

    May 11, 2006 @ 8:29 am

    Only one way to know for sure. The website linked in the posting offers an opportunity to contact Birgit. If ojrifkin hasn’t already, maybe we should contact her and just ask. I’m sure she’d be (somewhat?) flattered by the idea that her modest feat is still be talked about to this day. In fact, I’m going to email her right now. Unfortunately, the page is translated from German, so I hope my English inquiry is readable on her end (or she knows english). I’ll let you know if I get a response.

  5. Tom Tuttle from Tacoma, Washington said

    May 11, 2006 @ 10:25 am

    I lebieve that to be Beth Wexler. I think she was a “Volunteer” that year.

  6. Bubba said

    May 11, 2006 @ 3:07 pm

    I already tried to e-mail Birgit and the e-mail system sends you to an error message.

  7. Mega Munch said

    May 12, 2006 @ 10:15 am

    Yeah, I got that error too. There’s another “info@…” email address in case of errors. I tried that one but haven’t gotten a response yet. I doubt I will.

    I have to say though, the smile in each picture looks very similar, but I’m not 100 percent convinced either.

  8. Christopher Lederer said

    February 1, 2009 @ 3:30 pm

    You are right that is Birgit Felden, my wife and I know her for more then 20 years now. Please write me an email if you woud like to have her email.

  9. ojrifkin said

    February 2, 2009 @ 3:28 pm

    Thanks for the information. Did Birgit make the 1984 West German Olympic judo team?

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