Chad Rowan was going to be a basketball star. An All Star high school center and a native Hawaiian, he won a full-ride basketball scholarship to Hawaii Pacific University. Chad and everyone around him had high expectations for his basketball career.
But fortunately for him it did not turn out that way. Chad Rowan flamed out as a collegiate cager. He rode the bench his freshman year then quit the team and dropped out of college. He didn’t even last a year. Though he was 6’8” and very strong, he was competing in the wrong sport.
Five years later, Chad Rowan was crowned the first non-Japanese champion of the sport of Sumo. Under his wrestling name, Akebono, he achieved Yokozuno status, the highest level in the sport, just a few years after his professional debut. From there, Akebono dominated his competition for eight years.
But starting out, Akebono was not expected to succeed in Sumo. His height and slim lower body were considered disadvantages. In a sport where the goal is to knock your opponent down, Akebono was too top-heavy. He would be easy to topple by the shorter, stockier Japanese wrestlers who would have the advantage of leverage. Continue reading The Importance of Picking The Right Arena