Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Hero

Alex Zanardi has been a hero of mine for some time.  A great driver in his Champ car career, I'd followed him since watching him in the early 90s in F3000 battling with Damon Hill et al at the time.  He never seemed to get the right car at the right time in F1 and went back to the USA.  Sadly in one of the most horrific crashes ever in Germany in 2001 he lost both legs, instantly in a crash that frankly was a miracle he survived at all.  He showed incredible spirit returning to race again in a modified touring car even winning World Touring Car races.  That was pretty incredible.

Today he one a paralympic gold medal - at ironically Brands Hatch!  He is simply an inspiration and a man for whom I do not have words to express my admiration - I wish I had just one once of his humility, tenacity and grace.  I don't like the word hero banded about as it often is these days but for Mr Zanardi I will happily use it... he is a true hero!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/disability-sport/19493510

5 comments:

  1. Sounds like a wonderful, positive man. A true hero.

    Thanks for sharing the story.

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  2. When I see stories like this, I always turn to face myself and ask if/how I would rise above such a calamity. You never know what you're made of until you're tested. Before that, it's all bluster and puffery.

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  3. I've seen Alex race Champcar's in person many times at Laguna Seca, Long Beach, and Fontana. He was an amazing driver when given competitive equipment (and he had the best in Champcar with Chip Ganassi). I often wondered how much he suffered on his return to F1 with Williams in that he couldn't take Mo Nunn (often considered one of the best race engineers in the business) back to Europe with him. They had amazing chemistry, and I felt Zanardi was a bit lost at sea without him.

    Anyways, I saw the Lausitzring crash on TV when it happened, and I was amazed he wasn't killed. Dr. Steve Olvey, one of the race series traveling physicians, talked about how he slipped in what he thought was oil as he ran to Zanardi's car...but it was Zanardi's blood. He lost 2/3 of his total blood volume. Only Alex's will to live coupled with the immediate and skilled medical attention saved his life. It was absolutely gruesome.

    Glad to see Alex is doing well and still indulging his competitive spirit. A guy like that is impossible to keep off of the track obviously!

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  4. I was going to make a bitter, twisted and cynical comment, but I just can't.

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  5. I had forgotten all about Alex! I am a big time open wheel fan, no NASCAR for Wil. I had to go back and watch the crash footage again, so tragic. I was watching some other crash video a few weeks back on YouTube and came across some things I had never even heard of, gonna do a post on them soon.

    Great to see Alex prospering, great post Graham!

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