Gōeidō announced on the 29th that he will he retiring from sumo. He was a long time staple of sumo in Japan, consistently performing at the top. Gōeidō held the ōzeki rank for an insane 33 straight tournaments, one of the best in modern times. We will take a look back at Gōeidō and his career as a rikishi.
A Prospect From The Beginning
From an early age, Gōeidō was a highly touted prospect in the sport. He began competing his first year in primary school. As he went to high school, Gōeidō struggled with size. He decided to Sakami Sakae high school and take his sumo career even more seriously.
It was there he started to find success. He won 11 national titles with the school and was the only high school student at the 53rd Japan Sumo Championships to compete, placing in the top four. His professional debut was only a month later.
Gōeidō tore through the lower sumo ranks. His first basho as Jonokuchi, he went 7-0 and was crowned champion. He moved up to Jonidan, Sandanme, and Makushita in the next six months. In just over a year and a half, he joined the Jūryō division. At nine and a half years competing professionally, Gōeidō started his legendary run as an ōzeki. He would not relinquish that ranking until his retirement.
The Pinnacle of a Career
Gōeidō achieved the biggest feat of his career in September 2016 at the Saki basho. He went a perfect 15-0 in the tournament becoming the top division champion. While Gōeidō won championships in Jonokuchi, Sandanme, and two in Makushita division. But they pale in comparison to the Makuuchi Championship.
Watch Gōeidō clinch his championship.
Gōeidō had to wrestle with more finesse because of the size disparity at a young age. He yotsu-sumo wrestler, who would grapple and throw more than he would use brute strength.
The Legacy of Gōeidō
While he never reached the rank of Yokozuna, Gōeidō left his mark on the sumo world.
As mentioned earlier, Gōeidō held the ōzeki status for 33 consecutive tournaments. That streak spanned from September 2014 to January 2020, when he retired. It was the tenth most tournaments as an ōzeki in sport history. Gōeidō’s legacy is locked in as one of the greatest.
He and Tochiōzan had a brilliant rivalry for over a decade which had fans enthralled. His sumo was one of the all time fan favorites.
So the question remains what is next for Gōeidō? Retiring at the ripe old age of 33, he still has plenty to give for the sport of sumo, which he intends to do. While he may not compete anymore, he still has all that knowledge and experience he can pass down to a new generation of rikishi.
Gōeidō is the first sumo wrestler to retire as an ōzeki since Kaio did in July of 2011. He will be back at the Sakaigawa stable as an elder under the name Takekuma.
While his last few basho were plagued by injury and we didn’t really get to see the Gōeidō of old, his legacy on the sport will be forever remembered. His influence will be passed down through the Sakaigawa stable through the next generation of wrestlers.
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