Thursday, July 26, 2007

Sumo sadness

First Michael Vick, now this: sumo champion Asashoryu has been accused of faking an injury to skip out on a trip to lift the spirits of earthquake victims.
The brothers and I have been fans of sumo for many years, and while to most people it seems like big fat men in diapers slamming into each other, it does have grace, power and, yes, beauty.
Perhaps as interesting, the sport has its dark side. There are often signs of matches being fixed. The book Freakonomics showed this and more recently on the authors' blog they describe how the Japanese media seems happy to cover match-rigging when it applies to foreign-born sumo wrestlers, but ignores the topic when it comes to natives.
Which brings me back to Asashoryu.
While faking a hurt back is lame, the subtext of the article is that the sumo player did not feel like doing the goodwill tour because as a Mongolian he doesn't feel much goodwill from the fans.
A sad comment on a great sport.

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