Hello, my name is Alessandro Zanardi, and I am a lucky man.
I was born in Bologna, October 1966. In my region, we breathe Parmigiano Reggiano, Ravioli and engines, lots of engines. The year my sister died in 1979, I started to race go-karts. I realized racing was my life. I wanted to be an F1 driver. In 1991, after a good stretch in F3000, Eddie Jordan hired me to drive his F1 car. My career has always been tough; as a matter of fact, a broken leg in 1993 reminded me how fragile I am. But I am Alex Zanardi. I always take any opportunity in life to find the best of everything, so I moved on.
One day I flew to the USA. I was fascinated by the CART Championship. Well, I was rookie of the Year in 1996, driving for my friend Ganassi and I won back to back championships 1997-1998. I loved it there. I love the crowd, the atmosphere, and the incredibly close competitions of American racing. I love the people there, and they love me too. The USA was my new home.
At the end of 1998, Frank Williams called me. I remember how happy I was to hear his voice. I told you I am a lucky man, right? He offered me a seat for the 1999 F1 Championship on his Williams. I was back in F1. My dream was alive. The car wasn’t competitive, and I needed time to adjust to F1 from Cart. The season didn’t unfold the way the Team and I wanted, so I decided to leave. I wanted a competitive machine because I was used to winning, and I was hungry for podiums.
CART racing was my love, so I went back to that home of mine, but my life changed in September 2001. I don’t remember much of that afternoon. I only remember I opened my eyes, and I saw my wife; Daniela barely contained her tears. They told me I had a tremendous lateral impact with another car during the race at the Lausitzring. When I arrived by helicopter at the Berlin Hospital, they declared me dead. I lost my legs. I could not believe it; I was desperate, a man with no legs. My son was 3 years old at that time. I thought I could never run with him. I thought my life was done. But I am Alex Zanardi, and I am a lucky man.
Life is like a coffee. You can put all the sugar you want, but if you don’t stir it with a spoon, it won’t be sweetAlessandro Zanardi
I am blessed with some supernatural spirit. Nothing can stop me. I went back into racing with special cars that had braking and throttle mounted on the steering. The smell, the sound of a racing car is addictive to me.
In the meanwhile, I started biking on a particular three wheels bicycle, and I found another new motivation: the fatigue, the sweat, the challenge. My arms and my back were becoming as hard as steel. Look, I am very stubborn. Whatever I do, I need to win. in 2012, I won 2 Gold Medals and 1 Silver at the London Olympics, and I replicated the same result in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro. In the meantime, I have won another 12 Golds and 5 Silvers in the World Championship. The Iron Man was fun, too, especially competing for the overall ranking. Life has given me severe tests. From the death of my dear sister, my angel has shown me how lucky I am.
Now, I am laying in bed; my eyes are closed. I had another accident. I crashed into a lorry during a race on my carbon fiber bike. I am in a controlled coma, and they say my eyesight is compromised. Luckily my torso and my organs are safe. I can hear them chattering. I can smell Daniela’s scent near me and my son Niccolo’ talking to me. My name is Alex Zanardi, I am a living legend, and I will not give up.