The Athlete

Jessie T. Ponce Photography

It was the morning of a big provincial holiday.  The hometown hero, an Olympic champion, was coming home to Bulgan Province and a naadam — a big festival was organized for him. The provincial capital looked deserted as majority of its inhabitants have already traveled to the festival ground out in the steppe.  But I found this elderly man sitting alone in front of the governor’s office.  I approached him to ask for a photo but he started talking to me in Mongolian. I gathered from his gestures and a few words he mentioned that he was also an athlete in his younger years… a runner… he really wanted to go to the festival to meet the Olympic champion… he was hoping to hitch a ride or that the office of the governor would provide a ride.  I snapped a few photos and then profusely thanked him, wishing that we could give him a ride to the festival area.   Our full car passed him in the same spot later but I was pleased to find him at the festival grounds later in the day.

Jessie T. Ponce Photography