Home  »  Car Racing  »  Features  »  Gallery  »  News  »  Videos

Alex Zanardi: Dreams achieved

Submitted by on September 10, 2012

Alex Zanardi wins gold

A little like Kennedy, it was the “shot that was heard around the world”. Alex Zanardi, aged 45, made his paralympic debut, and won two gold medals, and a silver… ‘Extraordinary’, ‘inspiring’ are just two of the words describing Alex’s performances. And rightly so.

By Andy Hallbery

Hopefully you will have read the three parts building up to Alex Zanardi’s Paralympic debut . If anyone had any doubts about the former Indycar Champion and Formula 1 racer taking on the might of the handcycle division, think again.

The Italian’s performances at Brands Hatch in the Paralympics have elevated Zanardi from “Legend” to “Super Legend”, as the world followed his progress as he chased gold. Optimism just does not even scratch the surface of the man that is Alex Zanardi.

ITV in the UK did an interview with Alex after his first win in full. Click here for a brilliant 10 minute insight to the Italian, and his mindset, because I guarantee it is vastly different to yours and mine. If you need to know why he is different, watch this interview with him after winning his first gold medal. Sit back, and be inspired.

Don’t take my word for what Alex achieved with his gold and silver medals. The world was watching, and Twitter went into overdrive when he won the first gold…. I’ve rattled on enough about his achievements, so here are messages from the great , the good  (and sometimes ugly!) from all around the world within hours of his first gold medal victory. Here is just a selection of the messages.

Zanardi racing

Mario Andretti @MarioAndretti

My heart is pounding so fast for Alex Zanardi @lxznr it feels like I’m the one in the race. Hope he’s having as much fun as I think he is. I couldn’t be prouder of Alex Zanardi if he was my own son. So glad to have seen this day. What an incredible thing we are witnessing

Olympic Gold & I can’t stop laughing, crying, cheering. Purely extraordinary what he’s capable of. I love you man! @lxzn

Lewis Hamilton @LewisHamilton

Alex Zanardi is an incredible inspirational man

Emerson Fittipaldi @emmofittipaldi

Congratulations @lxznr second gold, we are very proud of you. Fantastic!!

Tony Kanaan @TonyKanaan

I would say the next step for Zanardi @lxznr is, Run for President…..ahahahaha. Amazing…

Allan McNish ‏‪@AllanMcNish

@lxznr probably your best victory in your career. At Brands as well where you blitzed us all in Quali in 1991 F3000. #respect

Martin Brundle ‏‪@MBrundleF1

Arrived in Monza to the amazing news that Alex Zanardi has won a Paralympic Gold. He really is an incredible inspiration and the nicest guy

Alex Zanardi Brands Hatch

Jan Lammers

Now there’s a real man, what an amazing character, attitude and personality, just astonishing what determination and positivity!! An example for us all, Thanks Alex!!

Bryan Herta@BryanHerta

Bravo @lxznr on a Gold Medal in London. Truly amazing accomplishment. #legendary

Dario Franchitti @dariofranchitti

Gold medal for Alex Zanardi @lxznr !!!! Well done my friend

Helio Castroneves ‏‪@h3lio

Fantastic, Fantastic, Fantastic!!! Wohoo ZANARDI!!!!!! Congrats @lxznr. You are THE BEST!!!

Mark Webber ‏‪@AussieGrit

One of, if not the image of the day: Alex Zanardi, Paralympic champion http://bit.ly/NRAXXd

Alex Zanardi Telegraph

Gil de Ferran ‏‪@GdeFerran

@lxznr Alex, many congrats, you deserve every accolade available to a man…abraço, Gil

Stefan Johansson @SJohanssonF1

BRAVO BRAVO BRAVO Alex, you are my hero!! @lxznr Indy 500 next!! vai vai!!

Race Of Champions ‏‪@RaceOfChampions

Alex Zanardi does it again! Double Paralympic champion. And champion of life.

Will Buxton ‏‪@willbuxton

Landed in Italy to the news @lxznr has won Gold in the time trial at Brands. Is there nothing that incredible man can’t  do?

Max Papis ‏‪@maxpapis

so emotional @lxznr GOLD GOLD GOLD @Paralympic I have tears in my eyes and…..he is trending on Twitter I can’t believe all this #hero

Marino Franchitti@MFranchitti

Wow! @lxznr is Olympic champion, what an achievement and have to say huge congrats to him & his family. The man is incredible! Not a dry eye in the house.

Jon Noble ‏‪@NobleF1

Brilliant. @lxznr is a legend. That is all. #paralympics

Zanardi Gold Medal

Juan Pablo Montoya ‏‪@jpmontoya

congrats to @lxznr for his gold medal. You are an amazing person.

Max Papis ‏‪@maxpapis

VAI VAI now @lxznr really made history #gold medal #olympics @paralympic

Darren Turner ‏‪@DarrenTurner007

Amazing amazing amazing @lxznr Tremendous result.

Johnny herbert ‏‪@johnnyherbertf1

Rock on Alex Zanardi

Tony Kanaan ‏‪@TonyKanaan

AND IT’S GOLD FOR @lxznr …… FANTASTIC MY FRIEND.

Zanardi Paralympics

Richard Williams@rwilliams1947

Wherever they are, whatever they’re doing, everyone who ever met @lxznr in his previous life will be standing up to applaud him today.

Jimmie Johnson ‏‪@JimmieJohnson

@lxznr I hope you spun some donuts post race! #Paralympics #HandCycling #GoldMedal

Maurice Hamilton@MauriceHamilton

Gold for Zanardi. One of many inspirational stories . He won it handsomely – like a true racer. Brilliant.

Ben Edwards@benedwardstv

Can’t stay quiet on the news of Alex Zanardi’s success at Paralympics. Congratulations @lxznr you are a true hero and an inspiration.

McLaren ‏‪@TheFifthDriver

Congratulations to ex-Formula One driver Alex Zanardi @lxznr for a fantastic gold medal at the #Paralympics.

BBC 5Live F1 Team@5LiveF1

Absolutely delighted as Alex Zanardi takes the gold medal at the Paralympics! Well done @lxznr great job!!

Alex Zanardi

jimmy vasser@jimmyvasser

@lxznr GOLD in time trial. Way to GOLD!!!!

Jenson Button ‏‪@JensonButton

Great job Alex

Caterham F1 Team@MyCaterhamF1

RT @5LiveF1: Absolutely delighted as Alex Zanardi takes the gold medal at the Paralympics! Well done @lxznr great job!!

Clyde Brolin ‏‪@overdrivef1

“Every time we think, ‘that’s it, it’s over,’ we surprise ourselves and find inner resources in our heart.” Alex Zanardi

Williams F1@WilliamsF1Team

So happy for Alex Zanardi @lxznr- Paralympic Champion! Gold in hand-bike time trial!Congratulations to an extraordinary&inspirational man!

Tommy Kendall

Awesome!! One of a kind!

Andy Priaulx @andypriaulx

Congratulations @lxznr on winning gold this afternoon absolutely brilliant race 27secs clear just fantastic

AJ Allmendinger@AJDinger

So awesome @lxznr winning a gold medal in the paralympics! One of the greatest sportmen!

The Richard Burns Foundation

Congratulations to Alex Zanardi @lxznr on Paralympic Gold!!

Ryan Briscoe ‏‪@Ryan_Briscoe

@lxznr Congratulazioni! Sei grandissimo e ti miro da sempre!

Scuderia Ferrari ‏‪@InsideFerrari

¡Felicidades a #AlexZanardi (@lxznr), medalla de oro en contrarreloj de ciclismo con bici de manos! ¡Un gran campeón que no se rinde nunca!

Alex Zanardi Gold

Adrian Fernandez@AdrianF007

Big congrats to Alex Zanardi @lxznr for wining gold at the Paraolimpics in London at Brands Hatch, you are so special amigo FANTASTIC!!!!

paul tracy@paultracy3

Fantastic job @lxznr alex !!! You are a inspiration to all !!!!

Jason Plato@jasonplato

@lxznr Alex, amazing stuff, just amazing, arguably your finest achievement. Congratulations from JP and family.

Rubens Barrichello ‏‪@rubarrichello

This is what elite sports people are made of! So happy for Alex

Nico Rosberg@nico_rosberg

Complimenti Alex!!!

Chip Ganassi

Nothing Alex does surprises me anymore. He is a tremendous person and true ‘racer’ at heart. Whether it’s Indy cars or hand bikes, Alex has always been a terrific competitor.

Chip’s quote is the best place to finish, as the chapter of the remarkable Alex Zanardi story, and racing is racing still on-going. And that will be the next challenge. The respect Alex has, and has since earned cannot be valued. Just take time to appreciate a very special person. The Indy 500 with Chip in May 2013? Do NOT bet against it.

Extremely special thanks to Ralph Hardwick for his photos documenting Alex’s Paralympic journey, and some wonderful images.

Alex and RalphAlex and Ralph Hardwick

 Huge thanks also to Alex Zanardi, not only for winning, but giving MotorsportReto.com his time. Follow him – and cheer him on – Twitter @lxznr, and his website alex-zanardi.com

And of course follow @MotosportRetro and @Hallbean on Twitter and join in on the discussion on Facebook. What’s your favourite Zanardi moment? Let us know.

Don't miss out! Our best stories, direct to your inbox!