It's kind of remarkable that the Guinness Book of Records has managed to secure such a prominent place in our culture, considering it was literally invented to encourage people to argue over inane shit at the pub (particularly when drinking Guinness).
But here I am, in the Year of Our Lord Blade Runner, tearfully cheering on Amber VanHemel as she finally achieves her year-long dream of breaking the World Record for throwing a hot dog sausage over the longest distance while still nestled snugly in its bun.
I'm not sure why Guinness felt the need to specify hot dog sausage, though perhaps it's to differentiate from a hot dog sandwich, the existence of which continues to reign as the greatest controversy of the modern era. Guinness has tracked plenty of other hot dog-related records without this same linguistic clarification—in fact, this particular feat of Olympian athleticism is the only Guinness record accompanied by that sausage qualifier. Along with this specificity, Guinness also included a size requirement—the hot dog sausage must measure between 5.5 and 7 inches in length, and be fully cooked when thrown.
According to the Boston Globe, VanHemel is currently a graduate student in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT, where also pitched softball as an undergrad. After a lengthy and scientific hot dog sausage selection process and 20 real-life attempts to keep that weiner in its bun—all captured on livestream—VanHemel threw the record-breaking frankfurter about 120 feet or 36.59 meters, where it was caught by her friend Phoebe Li, another softball player from MIT.
(I suppose it should be noted that David Rush has broken more than 120 Guinness records, most of them in a period of just 4 years. Which is far more than I have, but nothing compared to Ashrita, who, at 700 Guinness records, holds the Guinness record for the most broken Guinness records. Either way, I must extend my greatest sympathies to him in what must be a very difficult time of loss.)
Of course, VanHemel and Li do still have to provide the proper evidence to the Guinness authorities in order to prove their rightful ownership of the title. Because this dumb pub trivia shit is serious business.
MIT students appear to break record for longest hot dog toss, for some reason [Steve Annear/The Boston Globe]
Image via Wikimedia Commons