Nestled in Noventa Padovana, there lives a famous resident hero, Alessandro Zanardi. The ex-Formula 1 pilot from Bologna lost both legs in 2000 in a violent accident on the German race track, Eurospeedway. After coming out of a 2-week coma, the man not only recovered, but even became a winning pilot again in 2005 with BMW in the World Touring Car Championship. He achieved this goal with prosthetic legs! He was the first handicapped winner to acheive this against physically normal competitors.
Mr. Zanardi also got involved in other kinds of racing as a physically disabled person. He participated in the 2007 New York Marathon with a handbike, which I see him ride around town on. He came in fourth in that competition. Then he won the handicapped section of the Venice Marathon in 2009 riding the same gadget.
Last Fall, he hosted a TV series called E se domani (And if Tomorrow) on Rai 3, focusing on scientific advances.
He has written two book, his memoir, My Sweetest Victory, which received the prize, Premio Bancarella Sport 2003, and Alex Looks Skyward, written together with his friend Claudio Costa.
Now he's preparing for London's 2012 Paralympics. Let's be his tifosi (fans)! Join me in commending his positive attitude that, I believe, has made him more a winner now than when he was just a race car driver.
He is a husband to Daniela and father of Nicolò and a Jack-of-all-trades now with racing, TV and books behind his belt. Mr. Zanardi is a champion in so many ways. Nothing has stopped him from succeeding.