The remarkable life of Alex Zanardi



Wed, 30 Aug 2017 - 08:03 GMT


Wed, 30 Aug 2017 - 08:03 GMT

Alex  Zanardi - Reuters

Alex Zanardi - Reuters

CAIRO – 30 August 2017: “If I didn`t believe it was possible, I wouldn`t have tried,” said Alex Zanardi, a gold-medal winner at the Paralympics, a two-time Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) series winner, and a Formula 1 driver.

A man who has never understood what quitting is, Zanardi started his career in 1988 as a racing driver in the Italian Formula 3 Championship. In 1991, he finished 2nd in the International Formula 3000 series.

At the end of this year, he was a part of Formula 1 at a test session, where he drove a Footwork. Then, he spent three years being a replacement for some racers, but he didn`t make it and failed to qualify higher than 13th.

He moved from Europe to USA in 1996 to join the Chip-Ganassi Racing team. The great athlete won two titles there in 1997 and 1998. However, things did not go so well with Zanardi in 1999 due to bad luck, mechanical failures and driving errors.

In 2001, he returned to CART, but for the Mo-Nunn team. He joined a race in Lausitzring, Germany, where he was leading the race until he suddenly exited the pit lane after a clean stop. Another racer was travelling at a speed of more than 310 km/h, endangering Alex`s life. He was saved successfully, but both his legs were amputated.

His spirit was never down, but his main aim was to return to car racing. After many nights full of pain, he trained hard and met all the physical demands to get back on the track. Zanardi was invited to CART for a flag wave at a race in Toronto, Canada.

Zanardi - Twitter

Zanardi said, “I didn’t feel like I was out of the car for one-and-a-half years.” A slightly modified 320i was created for him with the help of BMW. He signed a contract with BMW and has been invited by the BMW-Sauber F1 team to drive their Formula 1 car. Happily, he said, "I'm really, really happy. I think I could have done much better in F1; not because teams never gave me a reliable, fast car, but because I didn't push myself as hard as I could have."

A new chapter of his life started in 2007. He joined a hand-cycle race in a New York marathon. It gave him more inspiration to compete in the 2012 London Paralympics. Through these years, he trained hard, and with his experience in racing, he gave all of his time to achieve the great dream. Successfully, he was able to win two individual gold medals, as well as one team silver medal for Italy.

Also, at the age of 47, he won the gold medal in the World Championships in Canada. He stated, “It was amazing. I was always close to crying. I am not an emotional guy for these types of things, but this was very special." At the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, he won the gold medals, along with the silver in the road race.

In the upcoming days, the Italian will achieve more accomplishments, making history for himself and humanity.



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