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Kintamayama

Olympic sumo- new hope?

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I've said it before: they host city now has no influence on the sports taht are added. The system has changed. If the IFS or its members continue to think in this way, they will be sorely disappointed.

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I've said it before: they host city now has no influence on the sports taht are added. The system has changed. If the IFS or its members continue to think in this way, they will be sorely disappointed.

There needs to be changes in the mindset & rules of amateur Sumo, to improve public perception & create broader appeal... only then will it be considered for inclusion in the Olympic games.

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Good one and great work by Steven! (Sign of approval...)

I like the pork farm - joke. (Sign of approval...)

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I've said it before: they host city now has no influence on the sports taht are added. The system has changed. If the IFS or its members continue to think in this way, they will be sorely disappointed.

Apparently nobody told the New York Times, since they let Steven Gadd's statement to that effect go completely unchallenged in the just-linked article. Oh well, what else is new... Groundhog Day in international amateur sumo continues.

(For edification, I suggest the "Sports" section in the en.wiki article on the 2016 Olympics. Pay close attention to the dates.)

In any case, the real issue remains that the competing fields in international amasumo are still laughably thin for a would-be Olympic sport, but I already ranted about that on the SML when the last article insinuated that "a Tokyo Olympics will fix it all", so I won't bore with a repeat.

Edit: That being said - the tired Olympic angle aside that's a pretty good article. Bonus points for "sumotori". (But why do international writers continue to claim there are 48 winning techniques?)

Edited by Asashosakari

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People working towards a goal must see the chance while others still don't. (Sign of approval...)

In Japan less kids do Sumo, but I see Amasumo as a whole as a possibility to hold Pro-Sumo up in future. Wakanohana had the theory that kids like olympic sports better. Pro-Sumo is loosing prospects to Amasumo (Yoshida) for several reasons - you can do the sport you love, go for stipendia etc. while living a life outa the sumoworld-structure, which is pretty tough as we all know. If boys get the chance to win a medal and become famous for that, now guess what happens? - Would say a boom in Amasumo - and that boom leads to more interest in Pro-Sumo of those who first got in touch with Sumo at all. Japan will be proud of the medalists - leads to..........

Yeah, Amasumo is still rather thin, but since stuff like curling made it -Sumo does have a chance, especially as a "type" of wrestling, which belongs to the olympics from the start AFAIK.

No idea about the dates.

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I really don't know about all that... Name a sport with an established, internationally known professional presence that still engenders significant interest for its Olympic version. I can think of figure skating, and that barely counts because the professional version doesn't have competitive events. Okay, and ice hockey. In Canada, anyway. (Yes, yes, and Scandinavia and Russia.) Other than that - nobody cares about Olympic football, nobody cared about Olympic basketball until the US started sending high-quality teams again to provide a "common enemy" for all other participants, people only care about Olympic tennis lately because of a concerted push to get all the big names from the Pro tours to take part, so few people cared about Olympic baseball that it's been thrown off the program even while MLB sets one revenue record after another, Olympic boxing is so different from the pro version that it might as well be considered a different sport etc. etc. In none of these cases did/do the Olympics provide any sort of positive feedback to the professional circuits, with the possible exception of non-US basketball leagues (but the Olympics mainly served as a conduit for NBA popularity there).

So I wouldn't look to Olympic amateur sumo to provide a boost to the professional ranks. If anything, it only works the other way around. (Not a surprise, really - what's 5 days of Olympic competition every four years going to achieve that 360 basho days in the same four years can't? National pride might go high for those 5 days, sure; and then everybody will promptly forget about it again. Where's the public clamoring for a Japanese yokozuna?) I won't deny that getting amasumo into the Olympics would probably be a great boost to amasumo itself - but that betrays an outdated understanding of what the Olympics are about nowadays, at least the Summer version. The IOC feels that the Olympic program is too large as it is, and they believe they have no need to help "new" sports along to Olympic quality any longer (whether through demonstration events or otherwise). In other words, the expected order of events now is:

(1) Build amasumo into a sport with a broad competitive base, recognized international standing and popularity,

(2) Get admitted to the Olympic program.

The days when international federations could hope for (2) to lead to (1) are pretty much over. And amasumo still falls far short on all three aspects of (1), IMHO. Like many people I hope that changes, but it'll take time, and lots of it - dreams of seeing amasumo in the Olympics by 2020 (which, mind you, would require that it'll be added to the program by 2013) are a complete waste of time, and will only distract from doing the hard work that's required to get amasumo up to the level that it might be considered for Olympic inclusion eventually. Unrealistic targets lead to premature burnout, unless one is of a particularly masochistic bent and doesn't mind a series of self-inflicted disappointments.

Edited by Asashosakari

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People working towards a goal must see the chance while others still don't. (Sign of approval...)

I wrote about this in my thesis, and may possibly have written the same in Sumo Fan Mag: the goal of the Olympics gives the IFS legitimacy as well. By having everyone band together to strive for a (very distant) goal, it allows the IFS to maintain its hold on power, and perhaps stops everyone from realising how horribly undemocratic the institution is. If the focus is on the Olympics, and the IFS top table are the ones who are striving to deliver that, then everyone is expected to fall in behind. The implicit threat is that, if you challenge the status quo, then you risk a) bringing the Olympic dream done by having a fractured organisation, and b) miss the chance for your federation to be involved when sumo beccomes part of the Olympics (cough, cough).

What I would like to see is much more effort put into the here and now to build the base (the #1 in Asashosakari's post). With this in place, amasumo will be strong and will stand on its own. If this occurs, it makes the possibility of the Olympics much stronger but also creates a meaningful existence until that becomes a relaity (if it will at all).

What is often lost in this is, why did amasumo become international? Was it a groundswell of support in other countries demanding the chance to compete in and against Japan. Basically, no. Aside from competitions in Hawaii, the west coast of USA and South America, built around Japanese diaspora) amasumo largely did not exist, and was not formalised in the way we know it today. Japan invited these groups in order to foster international ties. Then someone came up with the idea of having international tournaments. These ran through the 80s and involved invited countries competing in tournamnets alongside prefectural teams from Japan. This model then evolved into the Sumo World Champs in 1992.

One of the reasons to internationalise amasumo was to make it appealing to Japanese youth. I've specifically seen it written in Chikara, the magazine of the Nihon Sumo Renmei, some time in the 80s that Japanese youngsters had options of other sports that had international opportunities (baseball in particular, but soccer was also considered) and so it was good if sumo could offer the same opportunities.

Now that we have parts of the world interested in amasumo, it is time to nurture that, make it sustainable and grow from there. What also needs to be reflected in this is the participation of a number of countries, and that goes into the administration and halls of power as well. Unfortunately, the Olympic dream has attracted people who wanted to use the sport for their own ends. There is no coincidence that a number dropped out in 2001 when it was announced that Beijing, not Osaka, would host the 2008 Olympics (despite the flawed assumption that japanese host city = sumo's inclusion - as I have said above).

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Is that a parody column?

Seems straightforward to me. Why?

IMHO it's remarkably obtuse and error-riddled even by the low standards of American sports journalism. Would be kinda depressing to find out that that guy is actually making a genuine effort.

(Let's all say hello to the newest member of the EU, Australia.)

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(Let's all say hello to the newest member of the EU, Australia.)

Aha, my influence is growing!! Soon I will take over the world.

Katrina Watts,

President Australian Sumo Federation

Newest EU member

Future World Leader

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