Former Paralympic gold medalist finds new purpose as motivational speaker

Source:Global Times Published: 2016/9/18 18:33:39

Hou Bin used to be a Paralympic gold medalist and is now a motivational speaker. Photo: Courtesy of Liao Lulu

Hou watches a doctor prepare an artificial leg for a child who will benefit from the Rewalk - Prosthesis Support Program for Disadvantaged Children. Photo: Courtesy of Liao Lulu

Hou watches a doctor prepare an artificial leg for a child who will benefit from the Rewalk - Prosthesis Support Program for Disadvantaged Children. Photo: Courtesy of Liao Lulu

Hou adjusts his artificial leg before he records a news show in Beijing. Even though it gets painful at times, he doesn't like to trouble others. Photo: Courtesy of Liao Lulu

Hou cheers as he stands in the middle of a stadium. Photo: Courtesy of Liao Lulu

 

As the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro come to an end, the Chinese team has come on top of the medal table with more than 100 gold medals, as well as multiple new world records.

But despite China's huge successes, the Paralympics hardly received any domestic attention. In fact, it has been reported that some past Paralympic champions find themselves jobless after they retire, because people with disabilities can't be employed in many fields. Some have even been reduced to poverty.

Hou Bin is one athlete who made a successful transformation after his retirement.

The now 40-year-old former high jumper was a gold medalist at three Paralympics. He lit the torch at the opening of the Paralympic Games in Beijing in 2008 and is the 2022 Chinese Winter Paralympics ambassador. 

But still, very few people recognize him. Once, when he was attending an activity with Liu Xiang, Olympic gold medalist in the men's 110 meters hurdles, while Liu had to duck the cameras, Hou sat in the corner unnoticed.

After retiring in 2008, Hou was full of confusion. As a person with a disability, he didn't know what he could do, if not play sports.

A few months later, he received a phone call. A school asked him whether he'd like to speak to their students. Hou told Tencent that he felt marvelous being given a stage and applause, "No one had wanted to hear a person with a disability speak before!"

After that, Hou fell in love with giving motivational speeches. He tells people his life story but he doesn't like to focus on miseries, such as how he lost his leg and how he wanted to commit suicide several times. He wants to present what he has achieved. Gradually, he was invited by more and more groups to speak.

Right now, Hou is also focusing on a few projects with the help of clubs, medical companies and charity foundations, to donate and help children change their artificial limbs. The newest one was launched in 2015, called Rewalk - Prosthesis Support Program for Disadvantaged Children. He told media he hopes to help children in need to achieve their dreams. 

Global Times
Newspaper headline: Making the jump


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