“I won because I wanted to ride my bicycle.”
People familiar with international racing may know who he is. For everyone else, Alex Zanardi is an Italian racing driver, who has competed in Formula One and Indycar series. In 2001, he lost both his legs in and accident during a Champ car race at Lausitzring in Germany.
Less than two years later, he returned to racing:
“Life is like coffee. You can put all the sugar you want in it, but if you want to make it sweet, you've got to stir. Nothing happens by staying still.”
After racing between 2003-2009, he switched sports. He won the handcycling division of the New York Marathon after the fourth attempt and claimed world time-trial silver in 2011.
Then, he headed to the 2012 London Paralympics. In an interview with CNN after he won two gold and one silver medal, Zanardi said:
“Having been involved in sport a long time made me learn that you cannot magically make things happen overnight. You can only do what you can each day, and take the next day to add to what you have done the previous day.”
He views life as a long game:
“When you are 20, you appreciate medals. When you are 40, you appreciate what you do every day. I enjoyed every day of training. I've had a magical adventure and this is a fantastic conclusion.”
To learn more about his life, watch the video below.
For a deeper dive on his story, read Alex Zanardi: My Sweetest Victory: A Memoir of Racing Success, Adversity, and Courage.