Uraa! for Mongolia’s newest hero, Naidan Tuvshinbayar.  On Wednesday, he won Mongolia’s first ever gold medal. 100 kg men’s judo.

Here’s a photo of Tuvshinbayar with his gold:

tuvshinbayar wins gold

WIsh I had photos of the match, but here’s Tuvshinbayar against a South Korean guy in 2002.

tuvshinbayar vs korean guy

From Ulaanbaatar to Dornod, celebrations erupted. Even the president and prime minister (looking a little rumpled and rather drunk) came out to UB’s main square to party.

Sure, you could sink a ship with the weight of China’s medals. But Asian Gypsy recommends a cool link: the hippie-ass Fair Medal Count. The list corrects for medals per GDP and per capita. In this ranking, Mongolian looks lei tei (very cool). We kick China’s butt, and that’s most important.

Is this merely due to the Law of Large Numbers, as a friend suggests? He argues you’ll see many small countries on top due to randomness and luck.

A lot of those small countries, however, belong to the former Soviet bloc. What about that legacy of crazy intense Iron Curtain sports programs? Along with the generally low population and GDP of ex-Soviet satellites? Seems like that may correlate with medals per capita.

Mongolia’s other medal belongs to Gundegmaa the gunner (above) who won silver. Here’s wishing the best to Mongolia’s boxers — Serdamba, Munkh-Erdene, Badar-Ugan — as they go into the medal rounds tonight.

Just to underline the coolness of Mongolian athletes, 2004 Olympic bronze judochin Tsagaanbaatar flips out:

tsagaanbaatar

In a testament to Mongolians’ eager participation in elections, during the July 2000 parliamentary election, officials in some rural areas rode on horseback, carrying ballot boxes from ger to ger, some of which served as official polling stations. (From the aforementioned PCV Politics guide.)

June 29, 2008 — Will we see poll boxes in gers? Not in a city like Darkhan. But Mongolia’s favorite nomadic national symbol still plays a big part in elections here. The inexpensive, easily movable ger makes an ideal campaign HQ. Like gigantic mushrooms, the campaign gers pop up every six apartment blocks. By day, they blare out Mongolian folk tunes from Chinese-imported CD players. By night, the gers glow with red neon. Ponytailed girls, in garish orange jerseys, wander out of the painted doors to press glossy calendars into the hands of passersby.

A ger from Ardchilsan nam candidate Tuvdendorj

True, I’ve only run across gers from the Democratic party. (Perhaps the Dems can’t afford office space like the MPRP. Or is it because the Dems seek the rural herder vote this time around)?

One Democratic Party candidate has stolen my heart – Kh. Temuujin.

Temuujinphoto

Like his namesake, Temuujin kicks ass… well, at least he did on a “Development Debates” reality TV show. Moreover, this Temuujin has sublime taste in political cartoons.

(Yes, Mongolia does have reality TV shows about development. Imagine Mongolian Idol, complete with viewers’ real-time text-messaged votes. But instead of warbling “Country Roads,” contestants argue over things like disability education. It’s quite suspenseful. When squaring off against two distinguished authorities, young Temuujin started off shaky – but he shot from 15% of the vote to 60% within the course of an hour.)

Here’s the MPRP’s “Ardiin Khuu” (Son of the People). J. Sukhbaatar. Lots of billboards show him clowning around with these two Olympic wrestling heroes, Kh. Tsagaanbaatar and B. Naranbaatar. Despite my protests that I can’t vote, I still got this cool calendar from his twelve-year-old minions.

But who knows who to trust? As we say here, “Snake has spots on the outside, human has spots on the inside.”