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

What a weird music video. It’s about the Eternal Friendship of Russia and Mongolia — still a big hit today! Ahan dvvsiin duu means “big brother little brother song.” Javhlan (the young dude) is our biggest star. If you listen to it, “oros” means russian and “Moskvagiin tsetserlegees” means “We come from a Russian kindergarten” (I think).

My USSR-born friends have asked me some interesting questions about Mongolia’s relationship with Russia. Like, “Does Mongolia still really love Russia that much?”

Well, no. As my copy-machine-shop friend Zulaa told me, “Amerikand hairtai, Orosond dund zereg durtai. Hyatadand uzen yaddag.” (We love the Americans, we medium-like the Russians, and we frickin’ hate the Chinese.)

I mean, what have Russians done for Mongolia lately? Nothing. According to Youtube comments — “The Russians were damn thieves and they’re still grabbing our treasures from our mines.” “If Javhlan didn’t sing this, it would never play so much on TV.”

But the video just shows you how deeply years and years of Soviet propaganda wormed into Mongolians’ heads. Now those songs and brotherhood images have become part of Mongolia’s cultural vocabulary. People will happily belt out the familiar “little brother” song, even though they only kinda like the Russians.

I think a good analogy would be the way Americans see the 1950’s. Some people want to bring the USA back to the 50’s, just like some Mongolians wish they could go back to Russian domination. In both cases they’re the minority. Still, practically all Americans enjoy 50’s diners and oldies music. Putting footage of Lenin parades on TV is the Mongolian equivalent of showing girls in poodle skirts doing the twist.