World’s tallest man sweeps bride off her feet at traditional Mongolian wedding
Standing at 7 foot 9 inches and towering over his new wife the world’s tallest man married a woman two-thirds his size and almost half his age in a traditional Mongolian ceremony sponsored by at least 15 companies hoping to cash in on his fame.
Hundreds of people, some travelling for hours, turned up to see Bao, 59, wed saleswoman Xia Shujuan, a mere 5 foot 6 inches tall and just 29 years old.
Draped in a shimmering blue silk coat, Bao waved to the crowd before going into an enormous yurt where guests ate lamb and cheese and watched Mongolian song and dance shows.
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The bride’s attendants pretended to prevent Bao from getting into the camp, following the Mongolian tradition.
Relatives from the bride’s family offered the traditional Mongolian tea to Bao and Bao accepted the tea happily, which symbolised that the world’s tallest man has been accepted as son-in-law of the bride’s family.
« If we can have children, we’ll have children, » Bao said before the wedding. « If not, then not. If we have a child, I hope he or she can be about 2 metres tall. Then he or she can play basketball. »
Xia said she was madly in love.
« You need to have feelings for someone to be in love. Even if he is a big shot, you can’t love him without feelings, » Xia said.
Bao was confirmed as the world’s tallest living man by Guinness World Records last year. He overtook the previous holder, Radhouane Charbib of Tunisia, by just 2 mm.
The Guinness World Records says Bao was of normal height until 16 but then put on a spurt that doctors were unable to explain, reaching his full height in seven years.
He put out marriage advertisements around the world, but ended up wedding somebody from his home town, Chifeng.
Bao and his wife were legally married in March, but wanted to also have an authentic Mongolian ceremony.
More than two thousand people including relatives of Bao and his bride, local people and reporters witnessed the traditional wedding.
After a career in the army, where he was recruited for a basketball team, he returned to Inner Mongolia. He now herds livestock and hires himself out for publicity stunts.
In December, Bao saved the lives of two dolphins by reaching deep into their stomachs with his 1.06 metre long arm to pull out pieces of plastic, according to Chinese media.
Because of his fame, Inner Mongolia decided to turn the wedding into a branding event.
« He has a very good image among us in Inner Mongolia, » said Bao’s agent, Xin Xing. « We plan to use his name as a brand to develop tourism. We want to better help and serve our hometown. »
Everything from the alcohol drunk at the wedding to the shoes Bao wore were sponsored by a different company.
One firm made a 2.9-metre blanket of camel hair just for the marriage.