Former Racing Champion Who Lost Both Legs In Crash Wins Paralympic Gold

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Alex Zanardi got out of his hand-cycle in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday knowing he had won his fourth medal at Paralympic Games. But 15 years ago, many wondered if he’d even make it out of the hospital alive.

Zanardi was nearly killed in a crash at EuroSpeedway Lausitz on Sept. 15, 2001. The 49-year-old was a decorated racer, having won back-to-back CART championships from 1997 to 1998. Zanardi needed to have both of his legs amputated as a result of the crash.

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But Zanardi wasn’t going to let his near-death experience stop him from maintaining his championship-winning reputation. He went to the Paralympic Games in London in 2012, and won two golds and a silver.

With a third gold medal on his neck, Zanardi continues to prove that even a disability won’t stop him from achieving excellence.

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Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images

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