Friday, July 31, 2009

More On My Boy Akibono Taro

Well the summer Hobasho is over. For me the Grand Tournament is as necessary to my summer as Shark Week. When I think of Sumo I can't help but remember the contributions Chad Rowen (or as he is know in the sport - Akibono) has made to the sport. 'Mental Floss' has a post up about great sports champions and I was tickled to see him get a nod. He is as large (no pun intended) to his sport as Gretsky is to hockey.

"The only slim thing about sumo wrestling is the chance of becoming a yokozuna, or grand champion. Throughout the centuries, only 69 men have done it. Before Hawaii’s Chad Rowan stomped into the ring, no foreigner had ever held the honor. Of course, improbable things can happen when you stand 6’8” and weigh more than 500 lbs.—gigantic even by sumo standards. After abandoning a college basketball scholarship due to arguments with his coaches, Rowan threw himself into sumo. In 1988 he went to Japan with only a single set of clothes and a limited knowledge of Japanese. But Rowan wasn’t there to chitchat. Within a year, the quick study had learned how to use his towering height to make devastating thrusts at opponents’ throats. That March, he made his professional debut as Akebono—“dawn” in Japanese—an ironic moniker for a man who could block out the sun. As Rowan’s victories piled up and his Japanese improved, he won more and more fans. His jovial demeanor didn’t hurt, either. In January 1993, Akebono was promoted to yokozuna—a title he held until retirement. By the time he was ready to hang up his belt in 2001, he’d racked up 566 wins and 11 division championships."

No comments: