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Emmanuel Yarborough Recognized As World's Heaviest Athlete By Guinness World Records

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At 704 pounds, American Sumo wrestler Emmanuel Yarborough is the ‘Heaviest Living Athlete,’
At 704 pounds, American Sumo wrestler Emmanuel Yarborough is the ‘Heaviest Living Athlete,’

At 6 feet, 8 inches, 704 pounds, Emmanuel Yarborough sticks out in a crowd -- even a crowd of Guinness World Records holders.

Yarborough, 47, is an amateur sumo wrestler who has also competed in mixed martial arts judo, wrestling, and college football.

His record has been inauspicious -- he has a 2-4 as an MMA pro -- but he dominates the field in one area: heft. Yarborough is the world's heaviest living athlete, according to Guinness World Records. It's an honor he has carried with him (along with the massive gut) since 2001.

Yarborough's heavyweight achievement is one of those celebrated in a new Guinness e-book"Wacky Sporting Champions," dedicated to the more unusual sporting records ever, such as the "Fastest 100-Meter Run on All Fours" (18.58 seconds) the "Highest Shallow Dive into One Foot Of Water" (36 feet, 8.94 inches) and "Fastest 100-Meter Hurdles Wearing Swim Fins" (18.52 seconds).

It's been a good life that has included featured roles in Bollywood films and the HBO prison drama Oz, but one thing that has weighed on him is the lack of interaction with other world record holders.

"I wish it was like a secret society with a handshake or something because there aren't that many of us," he told The Huffington Post.

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Sumo wrestling is a game for overweight men. But despite the stress that all the extra mass puts on the body, it's possible to have a much longer career than football players.

"There are guys in their 50s who are doing this," he said. "One guy I know can still do push-ups on his fingertips."

Even though Yarborough can compete at 700 pounds, he doesn't necessarily want to any more.

"I'm trying to lose weight. I can't maintain this weight healthily and get the most out of the sport," he said. "Kelly Gneiting ran a marathon at 400 pounds. He's fat, but he's an agile, athletic guy."

Still, obese people who want to get back in shape could do worse than sumo wrestling, Yarborough said.

"It is a viable way of getting some training," he said. "You're using the whole body and you're getting a workout, but it's not like running a treadmill.

"When you're seriously training, it's grueling," he said. "And when you wrestle, you stay in the ring as long as you're winning and that tests your mettle. It's like King Of The Hill, but all grown up."

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