How a woman named 'Unbreakable Flower' discovered wrestling and became an unlikely hero.

Her name means "Unbreakable Flower," and she's here to do one thing: wrestle.

Soronzonbold Battsetseg of Mongolia (blue) and Martine Dugrenier of Canada wrestle during the London 2012 Olympic Games. Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images.


And the 26-year-old is good. Scratch that — really, really good at what she does.

Soronzonbold Battsetseg blocks Dugrenier in their freestyle bronze-medal match. Photo by Yuri Cortez/AFP/GettyImages.

That's why Soronzonbold Battsetseg is already a national hero at home in Mongolia.

She is the first Mongolian woman to earn gold at the World Wrestling Championships, which she won in 2010 at just 20 years old.

Soronzonbold Battsetseg celebrates her victory during the 59-kilogram women's final at the World Wrestling Championships in 2010. Photo by Yuri Kadobnov/AFP/Getty Images.

In 2012, she took home the bronze medal in women's freestyle wrestling at the London Olympics. She was the country's first wrestling medalist since 1980 and was Mongolia's only female medalist that year.

Photos by Lars Baron/Getty Images, Chris McGrath/Getty Images, Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images.

It's an impressive résumé for a young woman who found the sport while watching TV after tonsil surgery.

"When I was watching TV, I saw these nice women wrestling, then I said to my teacher this is really nice," Battsetseg told Reuters. "Because of that I decided to begin wrestling."

It may go down as one of the best decisions ever made while on pain medicine.

Battsetseg's popularity has taken off because wrestling, along with archery and horse racing, is a popular national pastime in Mongolia.

All three are celebrated during Naadam, an athletic festival that takes place across the country, the origins of which predate Genghis Khan.

Though the event is often called the "Three Manly Games," women have a history of excelling in the popular sports. Mongolian woman are revered as strong and quick. There's even a folktale about a woman who disguised herself as a man to enter and win a wrestling match. Now, traditional Mongolian wrestlers compete with frontless shirts, so as not to get fooled again.

Traditional Mongolian wrestlers perform the Eagle Dance before their wrestling matches at the annual Naadam Festival. Photo by Stephen Shaver/AFP/Getty Images.

Mongolia's long wrestling tradition and the country's reverence for women's athleticism may be why women's wrestling doesn't carry a stigma as it might in other parts of the world.

These days, Soronzonbold Battsetseg is less concerned with the past and is looking ahead to Rio.

She practices twice a day, against men and women, to prepare for the Olympics.

Battsetseg Soronzonbold wrestles with her partner during a daily training session. Photo by Jason Lee/Reuters.

Like most athletes of her caliber, she lives her sport, sleeping in a dormitory just steps from the Mongolia Women’s National Wrestling Team training center, where she works out.

Battsetseg Soronzonbold walks toward the dormitory after a daily training session. Photo by Jason Lee/Reuters.

It's not an easy life, but the road to Olympic gold rarely is.

The thrill of representing her nation and bringing home the hardware drive her forward. This unbreakable flower knows no other way.

Soronzonbold Battsetseg celebrates winning the bronze medal in women's freestyle 63-kilogram wrestling at the 2012 Olympic Games. Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images.

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