It has been 15 years since Alex Zanardi lost his legs in an auto racing crash in Germany, and yesterday the athlete couldn’t hold his tears when he received his gold medal for the men’s road hand-cycling trial. Zanardi won in a time of 28 minutes, 36.81 seconds.
(Alex Zanardi – Rio Paralympic 2016)
On Sept. 15, 2001, Zanardi was finalizing American Memorial 500, a CART race, when his car crashed hard with another. He tried to merge back on the track, but both his legs were stuck, and they had to be amputated above the knee. He reveals to Washington Post: “At the time, I was asked if I would ever step back in a race car, but what was critical for me was to go to the bathroom and pee on my own, but I could not do that. I had to be helped. That was my No. 1 priority,” “Day by day I managed to regain control and strength, regain some confidence and concentrate on different things and here I am now.”
(Alex Zanardi – London 2011)
With time Zanardi returned to sports, taking up hand cycling. He won two golds and silver at the 2012 Paralympics in London. Competing at the Olympic Stadium in Rio held a special meaning for the 49-year-old Zanardi. Due to the fact, this is where he obtained his first pole position as a rider. He adds to the Washington Post: “When it was announced that the Olympic Stadium was going to be built there I thought, ‘Wow, I’ve always loved that place and been super fast there,” “But for some reason or another I never managed to win a race, so maybe it is time to go back to Rio and win something and put that right.”
A real fighter spoke out and taught us a lesson: Is never too late.
(Alex Zanardi – Touch The Sky)
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