“I feel my life is a never-ending privilege.”
Today, dear friends, my post is about a man who is stuff of legend. His name is Alex and his surname is Zanardi. Alex was a good F1 driver and he loved his hobby and job. Alex Zanardi was born in Bologna in a loving family soon marked by tragedy: his sister Cristina, who was a promising swimmer, died in a car crash in 1979.
Zanardi began racing karts at age 13. He had his first taste of Formula One at a test session for Paul Ricard, where he drove a Footwork. By the end of that year, he had begun his career in Formula One. Three starts for Jordan were his reward for a strong F1 campaign.
In 1992 Zanardi had to be content with guest drives for Minardi. In the off-season, he tested for Benetton, but he contracted with Lotus for 1993.
Zanardi compared to teammate Johnny Herbert and was important in fine-tuning the team's active suspension system, scoring his only F1 point at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Zanardi was injured when an elderly motorist collided with his bicycle, knocking him down and running over Zanardi's left foot. Despite suffering several broken bones, Zanardi raced in Germany, but he spun out and did not finish. Zanardi's season ended prematurely after he sustained a concussion as a result of a crash in practice for the Belgian Grand Prix.
On 15 September 2001 in the Indy Car he suffered a violent accident, that very nearly sliced him in half. Zanardi lost both legs in the impact and nearly three-quarters of his blood volume and inflicted injuries so dreadful that he had to be revived from a clinically dead state seven times. The doctors deemed it impossible that he would survive. Further portions of his legs were amputated during three hours of surgery. This was the end of his open-wheel racing career.
To do as Zanardi has done, in restoring what is left of his body to peak condition and winning three golds in the hand-cycling discipline that he has made his own, is to offer an object lesson in sport's power to stupefy. That he has not merely adapted, but thrived, is an affirmation of his heart-rending resilience, even if Zanardi loathes to dwell on his personal ordeal.
A striking impression given by Zanardi is that he never stops smiling. It can only be supposed that, after a 200mph crash, every day seems faintly miraculous. He said:” I try to take advantage of whatever happens. The life I have today, in which I am very comfortable, is proof that everything is not always 100 per cent good or 100 per cent bad. My accident was the biggest opportunity of my life. It became my greatest chance. I feel my life is a never-ending privilege!”
Alex Zanardi hosts also a very interesting and beautiful TV show called “Sfide” (Challenges) In this show he talks about stories of champions or champions’ memories. Zanardi is a very good entertainer and presenter. I saw several episodes of “Sfide”: “Agostino Di Bartolomei”, “Chinaglia, calcio e pistole”, “Fabio Cannavaro” and “Alessandro Nesta” and I was amazed at how at ease he is while speaking on TV.