Sumo wrestling is not an official Olympic sport, but that didn’t stop the traditional Japanese activity from making some headlines at the Tokyo Games.
During the qualifying rounds of the equestrian show jumping events, some riders believed their horses may have been spooked by an incredibly realistic statue of a sumo wrestler.
The worst part about the ordeal is that it wasn’t the front of the statue causing the issues.
When the competitors approached obstacle No. 10, they and their steeds had a lot to take in.
“As you come around you see a big guy’s (butt),” British rider Harry Charles told the Associated Press.
“It is very realistic,” added Israel’s Teddy Vlock.
And while realism is often applauded when it comes to artistic endeavours, when it spooks the animal you’re relying on to win a medal for your country, it’s understandable that some riders were upset with the placement of the statue.
“You know, horses don’t want to see a guy, like, looking intense next to a jump, looking like he’s ready to fight you,” Vlock continued.
Seems like a fair complaint.
However, some riders had no problems with the statue, saying it is something to be expected at the Olympic Games.
“You know it’s going to be colourful coming here,” Britain’s Scott Brash said of the Sumo controversy. “You know it’s going to be decorative. And it’s beautiful, you know? It’s fantastic. That’s what makes it a championship. If it was just plain old jumps, it’d be just like any other week.”
The statue was replaced by a samurai and jumbo sushi on Friday, but officials said it was a part of a scheduled change to the course, rather than succumbing to rider complaints.
It seems far-fetched that Olympic medal hopes were dashed by a plastic butt, but at Tokyo 2020, that may have very well been the case.
More from Yahoo Sports