After several years competing in F1, Alex Zanardi suffered an accident in 2001 in which both legs were amputated. He then decided to focus his sporting efforts on adapted cycling and earned three Paralympic golds.
Alessandro Zanardi is an Italian professional racing driver and paracyclist.
He won the CART championship in 1997 and 1998 in North America. He also raced in Formula One from 1991-1994 and again in 1999; his best result was a sixth-place finish in 1993. He returned to CART in 2001, but a major crash in the 2001 American Memorial resulted in the amputation of his legs. He returned to racing less than two years after the accident; competing in the FIA World Touring Car Championship for BMW Team Italy-Spain between 2003 and 2009.
In addition to continuing to race cars, Zanardi took up competition in handcycling, a form of paralympic cycling, with the stated goal of representing Italy at the 2012 Summer Paralympics. In September 2011, Zanardi won his first senior international handcycling medal, the silver medal in the H4 category time trial at the UCI World Road Para-Cycling Championships. In September 2012 he won gold medals at the London Paralympics in the individual H4 time trial and the individual H4 road race, followed by a silver medal in the mixed H1-4 team relay, and in September 2016 he won a gold and a silver medal at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro.