Alex Zanardi confirmed for London Paralympics
Alex Zanardi has been confirmed as a member of the Italian team for this year's London Paralympics.
The two-time CART champion and former F1 driver, who has spent the past few years competing successfully in marathons and time trials in the handbike class, will be one of 10 athletes to make up Italy's paracycling team.
He has long held an ambition to compete at London, but was uncertain whether he would be selected due to heavy competition for places.
"Now, I am (sure that I am going to London)," Zanardi told AUTOSPORT.
"Well, I am 99 per cent [sure] let's say, because anything can happen, but I have qualified. I actually helped, with my team-mates, to place Italy as a nation number one in the team rankings, so we are going to be the team that is most represented in having a total of 10 places at the Games."
The 45-year-old lost both of his legs in a horrific Champ Car accident at the Lausitzring in 2001, although he recovered to the point that he was able to race a heavily modified BMW in the WTCC for several years.
Since taking up handcycling he has scored wins at marathons including Florence, Rome and New York, although he says that his Olympic career is likely to begin and end with London.
"I enjoy what I do and I am not in a hurry to complete this great adventure," he said. "Actually, I believe that when the Games will be over, it will be a sad time for me because this chapter of my life will be over. I can carry on competing in the same sport, but I cannot imagine staying in shape for another four years to participate in the Brazilian edition of the Games.
"Never say never, but right now this is the glass of wine I am enjoying and I am taking every sip very, very slowly, not rushing to get to the bottom of the glass."