Former Formula One racer Alex Zanardi took the Paralympic gold in para-cycling earlier this week by laying down a time of 24:50.22. Para-cycling pits competitors against one another in handbike races. On taking the checkered flag, Zanardi slid from his carbon-fiber bike and hoisted it above his head with one hand in triumph. The victory underscores just how far the former race car driver has come since September 15, 2001.

Nearly 11 years ago to the day, Zanardi was competing in a CART race in Lausitz, Germany when a horrific crash saw a competitor clip across the front of his car at nearly 200 miles per hour. The impact took both his legs, and the racer lost over 70 percent of his blood before he got to the hospital. Miraculously, he survived, and while doctors cautioned of a lengthy recovery, Zanardi was walking again in months. Dissatisfied with his prosthetic legs, he designed a set of his own, and it wasn't long before he returned to auto racing in specially-modified cars.

Originally, Zanardi began hand biking to stay in shape, but slowly began competing. This week, he bested former gold medalist Oscar Sanchez for the win.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 2 Years Ago
      Alex Zanardi is my favorite modern era racing driver. I fell in love with his fierce competitiveness and unbridled enthusiam during his CART days - his passing of Bryan Herta on the final lap of Laguna Seca is one of the best and most memorable racing moments ever, and his victory donuts were great. Unfortunately his F1 career didn't go so well (the team and car certainly didn't help him much), and then the horrific accident happened. But he's never given up on life, even after such a tragedy, and has continued to make the most of it - a legacy that this just adds to. For all those reasons, he will always be an inspiration, and I will always be a fan.
      • 2 Years Ago
      And now his former teammate Jimmy Vasser and former owner Chip Ganassi are trying to put together a chance for him to run in the 2013 Indy 500. Alex is awesome, and if you haven't read his book you owe it to yourself to get it and read it.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Great job Zanardi! You've made us all proud! Keep going!
      Big Squid
      • 2 Years Ago
      Balls of titanium! Way to go, Alex!
      Yaser C. Hamud
      • 2 Years Ago
      And this happened after he started cycling only to stay fit... What a fine example of willpower and determination. Keep it up Alex.
      • 2 Years Ago
      This guy... Unstoppable.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Nice work! Congrats. You haven't slowed down one bit :)
      • 2 Years Ago
      Way to go Alex !!!! Always a winner
      Gordon Chen
      • 2 Years Ago
      • 2 Years Ago
      My goodness!! He was my favorite driver back in the 90s!! I'm so glad he's kept his racing spirit and he's still kicking butt!!!
      • 2 Years Ago
      Alex is da man.
      • 2 Years Ago
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