If you’ve been following the news on Auto123.com Racing, you’ve certainly read that ex-Formula 1 driver and Champ Car series champion, Alex Zanardi
, participated in the recently held Paralympics in London, England.
Competing in three different hand-cycling events, Zanardi collected a bag of three medals: two gold and one silver.
A reminder here that Zanardi lost both legs in a horrific accident during a Champ Car series race, held on the Lausitzring circuit in Germany.
Suddenly immobilized on the track, Zanardi’s F1 vehicle was cut in two by another Alex, the racecar of Alex Tagliani, who smashed into it at about 300 kph.
|Photo: London Paralympic Games
The carbon monohull flew into pieces, as did both of Zanardi’s legs. Rushed to hospital by helicopter, Zanardi, at that moment had just one litre of blood left in his battered body, and his heart stopped beating repeatedly.
However, Zanardi never felt sorry for his hapless fate. He learned to walk with his prostheses and even returned to racing. Plus, he got completely absorbed in physical training by taking up hand-cycling.
Racing drivers are forces of nature; human beings who are endowed with staunch determination and disproportionate competitive willpower.
If Zanardi chose to qualify and become a star at the Paralympics, it’s because he knew he could do it. His incredible physical fitness and his fierce determination did the rest.
Three events, three medals. Hard to beat and deserving of our full respect.
And he’s not the only one. What do you say about Niki Lauda who was seriously burned in a terrible F1 accident at Nürburgring in 1976? His precarious state was so touch-and-go that he received the last rites on his hospital bed. But he fought back. And just seven weeks later, Lauda was once again behind the wheel of his Ferrari, competing in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. Seven short weeks: that’s less than two months...
And there’s also the case of Alessandro Nannini. This young Italian was an F1 driver for Benetton when he was badly injured, as were other passengers, in a helicopter accident. Nannini’s arm was cut off by a rotor blade.
Doctors miraculously managed to reconnect the arm. Incredibly, Nannini returned to motor racing, too. Although his arm sorely lacked mobility and sensation, Nannini was still able to race in the Italian GT championship.
One final amazing case: that of Robert Kubica who had his right hand partially severed in 2011 in a terrible rally accident when a crash barrier penetrated the footwell of his car. Just recently, after long months of rehab, Kubica was back behind the wheel of his rally car and chalked up a victory in an Italian regional championship event
So, whenever I get a little scratch, I think of the exemplary courage of these drivers. Nothing can stop them.