Alex Zanardi has claimed a gold medal in the hand-cycling time trial during at the Paralympic Games in Rio on the eve of the 15th anniversary of the horrific CART series crash where he lost both his legs.
The Italian repeated his success at London’s Paralympic games, completing the 20 km course in just 28 minutes and 36.81 seconds, ahead of Australia’s Stuart Tripp in second and Oscar Sanchez from the U.S. in third.
The race was held the day before the 15th anniversary of Zanardi’s crash at the American Memorial 500 CART race on September 15 2001. After his crash, both of Zanardi’s legs were amputated yet despite that, he returned to racing full-time in 2004 with BMW in what later became known as the World Touring Car Championship.
Zanardi began hand cycling in 2009 and throughout his career, has claimed eight world titles, as well as two gold medals at the London games.
Speaking with the BBC after his race in Rio, Zanardi said “I feel very lucky, I feel my life is a never-ending privilege. Where today you have the Olympic Stadium, on that piece of land they used to have an Indy Car circuit, which is where I won my very first pole position – for a romantic guy like me this is quite special.”