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Amazing Alex Zanardi video

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Fresh off his two gold and one silver medal performance in handcycling at the 2012 London Paralympics, former Formula One driver and two time CART champion Alex Zanardi continues to amaze the world with his strength of character.

The 45-year-old lost both legs in a horrific accident in the 2001 CART event at Germany’s EuroSpeedway. The two-time CART champion lost control exiting the pitlane and spun onto the track before being broadsided by Canadian Alex Tagliani. The impact ripped Zanardi’s car in two, slicing both of his legs off above the knee. Despite his massive injuries and the loss of seven litres of blood, somehow Zanardi survived.

Since his accident, the way he dealt with his disability has been inspiring.

He returned to the cockpit full-time in 2005 and raced a hand-controlled BMW 320 in the World Touring Car championship and won four times. He also became the first person with a disability to drive an F1 car in 2006 in a test with the Sauber-BMW team. This weekend, he will get behind the wheel of a BMW M3 DTM car for a test run at Nurburgring, becoming the first person with a disability to do so.

While his determination and positive outlook keep him pushing every day, it is Zanardi’s boundless generosity that sets him apart. Just ask 17-year-old quadriplegic Eric Fontanari, who learned firsthand about Zanardi’s giving character in last weekend’s Venice marathon.

When Zanardi saw the young man at the start of the marathon, he decided to forgo his shot at winning the handcycle category and instead stay alongside Fontanari to give him encouragement. When the teen could no longer turn his pedals due to muscle spasms, Zanardi found a way to attach Fontanari’s bike to the back of his and then towed him the rest of the way.

Zanardi stopped centimetres before the finish and crawled from his bike so he could push Fontanari across the line so his name would appear ahead of Zanardi’s in the official results.

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