When one thinks of an athlete, our immediate thought is most likely an individual of immense physique. Most sports are incredibly physically demanding, and as such, the vast majority of the athletes and competitors have to train religiously, adhere to very strict dietary programs, and of course, stay in shape. There are however, a few exceptions, and some sports do contain a number of athletes that we wouldn't perhaps immediately associate with the appearance of a professional sportsman or woman.
There are some sports which have fat competitors, but they are very rare. In soccer, the likes of Ronaldo, Tomas Brolin and Neville Southall have all played the game looking rather rotund, with varying degrees of success, but in truth, most soccer players are superbly fit. Likewise, there have been some chunky looking American Football and basketball players over the years, but they are very much the minority in the sport.
The sports featured on this list, have more than just the odd case of fat competitors. It should go without saying, but is worth pointing out anyway, all sports on this list's inclusion is not to detract anything from them, or the athletes who are involved in them; they are still immensely talented and hardworking sportspeople. Some of the sports are far less physically demanding, with more emphasis on skill, whilst others actually demand large weight from their athletes. Here are the top 10 sports with the fattest athletes.
10 Heavyweight Judo
Judo is a Japanese form of martial arts which started in 1882, growing in popularity ever since and became an Olympic sport in 1964 at the Toyko Games, having formerly been rejected for the 1932 Olympics. Both male and female Judo is divided into seven weight categories. To qualify for the male heavyweight Judo division, one must weigh at least 100 kg, meaning that the vast majority of athletes would fall into the 'overweight' category. Of course, some are very tall and very strong, contributing to their weight, but those who have tuned in to the spectacle will know that some do carry excess weight.
Given that golf is not the most physically demanding of sports, with the exception of upper body and arm strength, one might expect the sport to have more overweight competitors than it actually does. The majority of top end golfers tend to be very fit athletes who keep themselves in very good shape. However, there are a fair few exceptions, the likes of Guy Boros, Kevin Stadler, John Daly and Mark Calcavecchia show that it is possible to make it in golf without maintaining a great physical program.
8 Pro Wrestling
Professional wrestlers are perhaps the most varied athletes in the world, coming in all shapes and sizes. With wrestlers ranging from 4-foot-5 to 7-foot-4, it should come as little surprise that there are athletes on both ends of the weight and physique spectrum too. The likes of The Rock and Hulk Hogan may be specimens, but Dusty Rhodes and Bam Bam Bigelow? A little less so. Other examples of fat wrestlers include Tugboat, Bastion Booger, Viscera, Yokozuna, Giant Haystacks, Happy Humphrey and more. Undoubtedly most are also very strong but whilst you might not dare say it to their face, they are also fat.
Baseball players are a curious bunch, some are undeniably fit, whilst the sport has often been a platform for fat athletes who simply could not compete in other sports. Prime examples include Pablo Sandoval, Prince Fielder, Cecil Fielder, CC Sabathia, David Wells, the late great Tony Gwynn and of course, Babe Ruth. Unlike some sports where gifted but less physically capable athletes carve out respectable but not remarkable careers for themselves against all odds, in baseball, some of the bigger players are some of the greatest baseball players in the history of the sport.
6 Super Heavyweight Boxing
Boxing is quite possibly the most physically demanding sport. Both receiving and throwing punches is incredibly tiring and the best boxers are among the fittest athletes in the world. However, if there is one exception, and there is, it is the super heavyweight division. In pro boxing, there is no upper limit for heavyweight fighters, with heavyweight being the heaviest weight division. In amateur boxing though, there is another division beyond heavyweight, 'super heavyweight'. Although it is only for fighters in excess of 91 kg, some super heavyweight boxers go way beyond that. Fat boxers include Chris Arreola, Odlanier Solis, Kevin Kerusa, Gabe Brown, Eric Eschs and Dustin Nichols.
The discus throw is one of the oldest games at the modern Olympics, as an ancient sport which dates back to at least 708 BC. Discus is one of very few Olympic sports in which the women's world record is greater than that of the men's; although it is worth noting that the women's discus is both smaller and lighter. Given that the simple objective of the discus is to throw one's disc further than your competitor, some of the athletes are not in the expert shape of their track and field peers. Larger discus players include Scott Martin, Mart Israel, German Lauro, Aretha Thurmond and Jason Morgan.
Olympic weightlifting is split into eight different weight divisions for both men and women. In weightlifting, the weight of the individual is crucial; and one could claim the majority of larger weightlifters are merely well-built, rather than fat. The heaviest male division requires a minimum weight of 105 kg, whilst the women's begins at 75 kg. Throughout the divisions, weightlifters are often not particularly tall. They have a huge daily calorie intake requirement, but unlike other sports, they do not necessarily burn it all off in training, thus giving the impression of fatness.
3 Shot put
Similar in many ways to the discus and a little to weightlifting, the shot put requires great upper body and arm strength but little else, and whilst having weight behind your throw increases distance, it also paves the way for some larger bodied athletes. Big boned shot putters include Reese Hoffa, Christian Cantwell, Chiara Rose, Jillian Camarena and Dorian Scott, among others.
Born out of Britain in the 1860s, darts became an incredibly popular pub game throughout Britain, the Commonwealth, the U.S. and various parts of Europe, becoming a professional sport over 100 years later. Despite a number of campaigns, darts has never been recognized as an Olympic sport, but still has large viewing figures and public interest. Purely skill based, the game involves throwing a small missile at a board and as such, requires next to no physical fitness or strength. Over the years, darts has grown a rather unfair reputation of being played by heavy drinkers/smokers, even at the professional level, most likely because of the sport's origin. There have been many fat darts players, some of whom have been the best players in the sport. Notable examples include Andy Fordham, Stephen Bunting and John Henderson.
1 Sumo Wrestling
Sumo wrestling is, in essence, a very simple sport, in which the only objective is to force one's opposite number out of the ring, or have them touch the ground with any body part other than the soles of their feet. Factor in some huge men in nappies and it all gets a little bit more confusing. Despite being considered a modern form of martial arts, sumo itself actually dates back centuries in Japan. One may think the athletes look almost obese, but their lifestyle, diet and fitness regimes are perhaps the most regimented in all of sports.
Sumo wrestlers are required to live in communes, where all their lifestyle choices are controlled. So strict are the sumo authorities, after one wrestler was involved in a car crash, they introduced a new law banning athletes from driving their own cars. Everything from hairstyles, clothing, sleep patterns, and more are dictated for them. The best sumo wrestlers are paid around $30,000 a month, although they have significantly shorter life expectancy rates than the average Japanese male.