In the Loop

Forget Phelps, pot smoking hits the sumo world even harder

Posted at 12:30 PM on February 6, 2009 by Sanden Totten (2 Comments)

It's one thing if a college aged swimmer gets caught doing college aged things. It's another if the practitioners of an ancient, highly regimented and almost religious sport get caught doing college aged things.

Over the past six months, four Sumo wrestlers have been stripped of their mawashi thongs for marijuana use.

All drug users will be severely punished!
Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images
Sumo.jpg

Sports all have their share of controversy, but Sumo is different. It's so steeped in tradition that the athletes border on being monks. They live in communal "stables" where diet, training, chores, hairstyle . .. almost every aspect of their lives are strictly controlled. Sumo wrestlers aren't even supposed to drive their own cars for fear of them getting into an accident. The Japanese professional sumo association won't even compromise on letting self-conscious wrestlers wear shorts instead of the traditional groin cloth.

Couple this with Japan's already very strict drug laws and you can imagine the scandal these four pot friendly wrestlers have caused. Not to mention the fact that unlike with Phelps, pot could be considered a performance enhancing drug for sumo wrestlers. After all, size matters and getting the munchies could help turn a normal-sized gut into a bout winning belly.


Comments (2)

Jolly good article, Sanden!
I wonder, do they smoke the pot, or eat it?

Posted by Patrick | February 7, 2009 9:33 AM


Purity is the watchword of this very spiritual sport. Authorities in Japan are not amused, though even they admitted that the idea of a special event where Cheech and Chong try to push each other out of the dohyo might get pretty darn good TV ratings.

The competitors who were involved said they are very sorry and agreed that the sight of 400 hundred pound, mostly naked men giggling uncontrollably is not something fans should have to experience ever again.

Posted by Craig Kenworthy | February 10, 2009 10:13 PM


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