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Sumolympics

Exercise for any size
 
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It's unfortunate that the International Olympic Committee (dominated, no doubt, by oppressive Western notions of the ideal body) has yet to recognize sumo wrestling as an athletic endeavor deserving equal recognition with more popular pursuits such as curling and badminton. This slight has been so devastating that I am now proposing not only the inclusion of this centuries-old martial art form as an event, but a bold redefinition that would allow sumo athletes to participate, on their own terms, in every currently recognized Olympic sport.

They are genuinely fit for people their size and could do far more than throw each other around a mat if given the chance. Unfortunately the sheer physics of most events makes fair competition impossible -- unless in an Olympics of their own, perhaps with several divisions stratified by weight or BMI.

In the regular Olympics, I can't help but think the athletes' carefully optimized physical condition somehow takes away from the suspense. They've been training for practically their entire lives. Of *course* they can run a triathlon. Doing one at 300 pounds, while wearing a traditional mawashi thonglike undergarment and optional bintsuke chamomile hair pomade, now that is athleticism.

For the Sumolympians, prior physical conditioning is deemphasized and the sport truly takes place in the moment -- it's all about the technique. Each event becomes an oddly inspiring transcendence of skill and spirit over flesh.

Some necessary modifications to existing events:

* Pole vault with specially reinforced, spring-loaded lance

* 15m deep pool for 10m Dive (with tidal dampeners for Synchronized Swimming)

* In 400m dash, ability to grab onto leader's mawashi and hurl him into path of another opponent

* Annoying TV Olympics presenters e.g. Bob Costas and Paula Zahn now forced to wear kimonos and semiconical hats

I'm willing to bet that almost every sport would become phenomenally more exciting to behold, and could particularly inspire the obese and sedentary. In some events (like the luge) skilled athletes could have a shot at truly world-class performance.

dryman, Aug 12 2004

World Sumo http://amateursumo.com/members.htm
Amateur Sumo is widely practised [ConsulFlaminicus, Oct 17 2004]

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       I think the reason why this couldn't be too exciting (and I assume it's the same reason why Sumo wrestling is not an olympic sport) is because it would have to be a discipline practiced in a certain number of countries in order to have a real tournament. Otherwise it's just a national/continental competition.   

       Does anyone happen to know in how many countries Sumo wrestling is practiced?
Pericles, Aug 12 2004
  

       Would they have Winter Sumolympics as well?   

       "Dammit, that's the bobsleigh run jammed again..."
lostdog, Aug 12 2004
  

       Male only of course... that could be an issue.   

       [hippo] and [swimr] could be the HB team in synchronised swimming :)
ConsulFlaminicus, Aug 13 2004
  

       // * 15m deep pool for 10m Dive //   

       Please, one dive would empty the pool!
phundug, Aug 13 2004
  

       One of the more entertaining recesses I spent in high school was when the PE teacher set a rope circle out on the lawn and had an impromptu sumo tournament. I never won, but I had a great time, even when I got koncked so hard I slid 5 feet on my butt (I made the mistake a charging a football player :D ). Eventually the principal broke it up because he was worried about injuries but AFAIK no one was.   

       Incidentally, the deep pool made not be needed--fat floats, and all objects fall at the same speed.
5th Earth, Aug 13 2004
  

       Sumo figure skating? <cringe>
phundug, Aug 13 2004
  
      
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