Pope Praises Zanardi's "Lesson in Humanity"

by Bimmerfest.com Member - Evanwritescars on June 25, 2020, 12:26 pm

Racing driver and Paralympic champion Alessandro Zanardi remains in intensive care at a hospital in Italy, in an induced coma as the result of a road accident on his handbike, but he has some strong figures pulling for him. And one of those is Pope Francis, who has written to the driver calling him "an example of how to succeed in starting again after an unexpected stop."

The 53-year old racing driver lost both legs in a crash in 2001 in Germany, but after being fitted with two prosthetic limbs he brought himself back to an FIA European Touring Car Championship full-time ride with BMW Team Italy-Spain in 2004 and returned to an F1 car in late 2006 behind the specially modified controls of a BMW Sauber. He never really stopped racing, and ran the 24 Hours of Daytona behind the wheel of a BMW M8 GTE last year.

Zanardi took up handcycling as part of recovering from his injuries, winning multiple Paralympic golds in 2012 and 2016.

Earlier this month he was in a collision with an oncoming truck while competing in an Italian paralympic road race, and has been in hospital since.

“Dear Alessandro, your story is an example of how to succeed in starting again after an unexpected stop,” Pope Francis wrote in a hand-written letter, Reuters reports. "Through sport, you have taught us how to live life to the full, making disability a lesson of humanity."

Pope Francis continued to praise the driver, saying "thank you for giving strength to those who had lost it. At this painful time, I am close to you, I pray for you and your family.”_a__a2_

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