Sumo in the Olympics?

I kind of doubt it, at least in the near future. Being a ballroom dancer, I've been following the push for dancesport (as they call competitive ballroom dancing) and it's not going so well. I'll admit you can argue over how much of a sport that is, but this isn't the place for that. Where I'm going is that IIRC, there were a number of other sports seeking status as a full medal sport for the Olympics including something close to soccer (football for non-Americans). Not a single one was accepted. I think the IOC's statement said something about just not adding new sports at this time. If they weren't adding any then, I don't see much reason for them to change their minds a few years later. I think there are also requirements, and I'll probably mess up the numbers, that you need 75 countries over 4 or 5 continents to have governing bodies for the sport before it can be considered for the Olympics. Sumo is being done outside of Japan, but somehow I don't think it's done in anywhere near enough countries to meet the IOC's requirements on that. However, I'm basically speculating; I could be totally wrong. *shrug* There are some things that are pretty clearly sports that aren't medal sports in the Olympics and yet something weird like trampolining gets in. Who knows what they do at the IOC?
I doubt it too. It's not practiced widely enough. I'd say it has the additional disadvantage of forcing a negative body shape upon its participants but then gymnastics is an Olympic sport after all.

There is Sumo discussion on the JMA-General forum also.
I think one of the biggest reasons it would not make it as an Olympic sport is that it would probably be forced to have weight classes, which traditional sumo does not have.

I've seen Westernized sumo competition. They have weight classes and competitors wear some sort of mawashi-knockoff over shorts or something. The wrestlers (I will not call them rikishi, dammit) did not appear to have any of the conditioning or training of traditional Japanese wrestlers. The worst part is that they made a pathetic attempt to keep a lot of the ritual in the matches, which just does not work outside of the tradition dohyo (which, by the way, they did not have).

It was an ugly, ugly affair, and Olympic sumo would be no better.

Good points, Cthulhu. You're right, for the Olympics they probably would require weight classes which is not the way sumo works. You also lose the chance to see a smaller guy beat someone who's like 100 lbs. heavier than him. You naturally expect the bigger guy to have the advantage, so those sorts of upsets are fun to see.

As for westernized sumo as you called it, I thought they did wear the regular mawashi, but over spandex shorts or something. I don't think the shorts are required. I thought it was allowed to make wrestlers feel more comfortable when competing. I guess not everyone is prepared to step into the ring wearing nothing but a mawashi. I don't remember anything specifically about weight classes, but it sounds like you do. They do try to keep some of the same basic riutuals, but I have the feeling it loses something outside of the traditional sumo environment. And yeah, as I recall they wrestle on a plain old wrestling mat, not a dohyo. I've seen this kind of thing, American or European sumo competitions, on TV before. I was always disappointed when it was this and not a regular Japanese basho; the non-Japanese version just isn't the same as the original. I suppose I'm not adding a whole lot here, but I did want to I've seen non-Japanese sumo and I agree with you.
Not a problem, Dronak. You're account confirms that I actually say that tripe and it wasn't a nightmare as I had hoped.

Sumo is just too intertwined with Shinto and Japanese culture in general. You simply cannot excise those elements and expect it to still be sumo. The rather weak attempts made by American/European 'sumo' organizations to keep the ritual is more comic than anything.

You know what? There is simply no reason why every sport has to have Olympic representation. Some things are better off left alone. Sumo is one of them.

Women's weights appear to be Heavyweight (+80 kg), Middleweight (to 80 kg), Lightweight (to 65 kg), and Openweight. I found a site with some men's weight classes: Mens Lightweight (<187 lbs.), Mens Middleweight (187-253 lbs.), Mens Heavyweight (>253 lbs.), Mens Open. I don't know if any of these are in any sense standard.

Someone is giving dan rankings in Sumo. As to the clothing issue, I note that having one's belt come undone during a match results in a loss, contrary to the usual statement that only leaving the ring or having other than the sole of the foot touch the ground are the only ways to lose. This hasn't happened in decades.
Yes, arnisador, part of the rules state that if your mawashi comes off, you lose the match. The reason you don't see this anymore is because if a rikishi's mawashi is getting dangerously loose, the referee can stop the match to fix it. I've see a few stoppages before, usually because it's going really long but in one match this last basho someone got a bloody nose. The ref taps both rikishi on the back and they stop. He then checks out their positions (feet, hands, arms, bodies, heads, everything) so he can get them back in the same spot again, and then lets them separate. Once apart they can get water and towel off if it's a break in a really long match or fix whatever the problem may be, say that super-loose mawashi.

There are a number of illegal techniques that also cause you to lose the match. I forget all of them offhand but they include clapping both of the opponent's ears at the same time, punching with a closed fist (almost certain), I think slapping the face (neck is OK though), and grabbing the vertical part of the mawashi (for fairly obvious reasons). If you want to know all of the illegal techniques I can look them up for you later.
I think any strikes to the head/face is illegal, but neck strikes are perfectly alright. Go fig.

I've seen a match some time ago where one of the rikishi was thrown out of the ring. The other rikishi (the thrower) fell as well. At first, the thrower was awarded the win. However, after further review, it was revealed that the thrower's top-knot had come a bit loose and had actually hit the ground before he threw the other rikishi out. He ended up being scored with a loss for that match.

Interestingly enough, the gentleman who is the head of the United States Sumo Federation, Yoshisada Yonezuka, is just down the block from me in Cranford, NJ. He is perhaps better known as being the US Olympic Judo coach in 1988 and 1992, and training Mike Swain, among others. I gave him a call, and according to him, the weight classes and womens' division were in fact introduced in an effort to ultimately make the sport attractive to the Olympic Committee. Also, according to Yonezuka, the idea of expanding Sumo internationally and ultimately having Olympic Sumo competition was not introduced by the Americans, but instead the Japanese, in an effort to develop more international support for their sport. It was Japanese businessmen who suggested to him that he develop U.S. Sumo (in places other than Hawaii, which has always had its fair share of practitioners) in the first place. He truly believes that Sumo will be a demonstration sport either in the next Olympics or the one after that, and sees it being a full-fledged Olympic sport within the next 10-20 years if all goes well. Evidently, at least for US athletes, there is already corporate sponsorship. Among others, Japan Airlines has signed on board. He said that other than Hawaii, there are probably less than 100 Sumotori nationally, and most have trained at his dojo. There are in fact "traditional" belt ranks, which are awarded exclusively based on success in competition, similar to the titles given in the professional game. Emmanuel Yarborough, former UFC competitor, is a Sumo Black Belt at his dojo (all almost 700 lbs of him).
Originally posted by arnisador
What do you mean by a 'Sumo Black belt'?

I mean he has earned black belt rank as a result of his high level of performance in sumo competition. It is evidently a system designed to be analogous to the professional title ranking (yokozuna, ozeki, etc.), except it is denoted by a colored belt as opposed to a title. This is evidently unique to amateur sumo, and may in fact be unique to only some countries, such as the U.S. (and the UK, as was previously mentioned in the thread), but according to Mr. Yonezuka, it exists. He did not elaborate on whether or not there were colored belts under the black and what they were. He did say, however, that promotion standards were based exclusively on performance in competition.
I love watching Sumo wrestling but honestly, I dont think it would fly in the Olympics.
not a chance IOC is trying to elimiate Greco wrestling. and womens wrestling was having a hell of a time getting in to the olympics and they have been competing internationaly along with the men for years.
They're actually looking to bounce Greco? That's ridiculous. That's like one of the events the Olympics was founded upon. Don't they appreciate any sense of history? It must be really hard for the IOC to see what with where there heads are evidently firmly planted. :mad:
Ya there was a huge stir about it in the greco world. It is going to be in the upcoming olympics for sure and they are "reviewing there findings on greco". It would help if FILA would get it's *** in gear but what are you going to do.
Of course. FILA hasn't been able to do much more than get out of its own way for what seems like a long time now. Did you see Eddie Coleman's column in the Oct 2003 issue of Grappling? He states that all of the members of the FILA press committee resigned in 1996. Basically, they haven't had a press committee, or even a single press person, promoting the sport since then. No wonder nobody in the mainstream press takes wrestling seriously. A huge shame, really. The IOC isn't much better in my eyes, though. Two real winners are going to have to come together on this one to make it work. :rolleyes:
Not only that but everything on there website is in frence all there litature is in french. Trying to get a hold of anyone in the office is impossable. It takes months to get updates from them. You would think that a sport that is practiced in almost every country would have a little better organization. It really hurts international wrestling I think because there is really no one to take care of problems with rulings and bad ref calls. Although instant replay helped a ton.

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