Alex Zanardi is not a man who quits. This former Formula 1 and Champ Car driver-turned paralympian is testament to the kind of rugged determination we celebrate here on Top Gear. And guess what? He’s just won a gold medal.
The 45-year old former racer competed in the H4 handcycling time trial, beating Germany’s Nobert Mosandi by more than 27 seconds at Brands Hatch.
If you’re not aware of his extraordinary story, Alex was a former driver with Jordan, Minardi and Williams – he even out-qualified Michael Schumacher once – until a horrific and near-fatal accident at the Lausitzring in 2001.
The accident severed the nose of his car, and he lost both of his legs and nearly three-quarters of the blood in his entire body. It was reported that during the helicopter ride to the hospital, Zanardi was read his last rites.
Thankfully his quick recovery and hours of surgery saved his life, and he soon returned to competitive racing using prosthetic limbs he designed himself, before embarking on a career as a paralympian.
Today’s gold medal merely caps an astonishing competitive comeback: he won silver in the world time trial last year, and finished fourth in the 2007 New York marathon. Mr Zanardi, TG salutes you.