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HomeCultureCrucible Mongolia: Wrestling Champions Made on the Steppes

Crucible Mongolia: Wrestling Champions Made on the Steppes


The Mongolian steppes are relatively flat, devoid of trees and buildings. In summer, they are covered in low, thick grass of the deepest green that meets the blue skies of a country that only has a handful of rainy days per year. In winter, the temperature drops as low as -40 degrees. Snow blankets the earth and green is replaced by white. Forty percent of the country’s 3 million people still live in gers (yurt tent-houses), earning their living by herding animals. True nomads, they take down their houses and move their families and animals to fresh pastures with the change of seasons, as their ancestors have done for thousands of years.


Unlike the ancient Mongols, many modern herders use motorcycles and trucks, but camel riding is not uncommon and horseback riding is a normal aspect of everyday life. Apart from the blue skies, the livestock and the horses, a staple of Mongolian pastoralism is wrestling. Boys born on the steppes…

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