HOU Bin and GUO Weizhong at 2000 Paralympics
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HOU Bin and GUO Weizhong at 2000 Paralympics

December 3, 2019

Meanwhile, in another part of Stadium Australia, a tale from another part of the world, the story of Hou and Guo. “By nature men are alike,” Confucius said, “Through practice they grow farther apart.” Weizhong Guo and Bin Hou are two men very much
alike, both serious, almost reverent competitors, both from the People’s Republic of China both missing one leg. Today they hope that years of practice and training
will separate their efforts in the high jump. Bin Hou set a world record four years ago
in Atlanta, the first member of his track-and-field team
to win Paralympic gold. Today in the last opponent standing is his
teammate, Weizhong Guo. They have both left the nearest competitor
far behind at 1m66. Mid-afternoon, a duel in the sun and the bar is set at 1m81. They’re attempting a height greater than
either man is tall. Weizhong Guo misses at 1m81; the red flag for the man from Guangdong Province
in southern China. Now we must wait to see if Bin Hou will go on without him. Bin Hou makes the height with plenty to spare, and Guo tries to psych himself for a second attempt
at 1m81. Failure is the opportunity to begin again,
and for Guo, the white flag is redemption not surrender. The bar goes to 1m84
6 ft 1/2 inch, and Weizhong Guo is up first. Guo waffles the bar badly. Now Bin Hou does a little mental rehearsal
and psyching himself. Hou’s first attempt at 1m84, he clears it easily. Now all the pressure rests on Weizhong Guo. Necessity is now the master his will must serve. Guo makes the jump, and the bar goes to 1m87,
6ft 1 1/2 inches. Which man will press on to the gold medal? At 1m87 both men miss their first two attempts. Guo must make his third and final jump, It’s do-or-die. Guo fails. Bin Hou has won the gold on fewer misses. He does not have to go on,
but history and honor suddenly find their way into the afternoon. The history of Hou Manchurian character and the honor of true championship. And Bin Hou wants the gold medal with honor. Bin Hou makes the jump and wins the gold. Bin Hou and Weizhong Guo are still alike in nature, but the test of strength and will the practice has enabled them to grow apart.

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