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Wednesday, 10 July, 2002, 12:19 GMT 13:19 UK
Zanardi looks to new horizons
Alex Zanardi attended the Toronto Cart race at the weekend (Photo: Mo Nunn Racing)
Zanardi sitting in one of his former team's cars
Former Cart champion Alex Zanardi has no desire to race again after losing both his legs in a crash last year - but says he could if he wanted to.

Zanardi, 36, attended the Cart race at Toronto last weekend, where he was awarded a prize for outstanding contributions to motorsport.

He said his main priority having learned to walk with prosthetic limbs after his crash in a race at the Lausitzring in Germany last year was to spend time with his family.

"Quite frankly, I don't see anything particular in front of me but I don't see any particular barrier that would stop me to do things either," said the two-time Cart Champion.


I am a happy guy even without my legs
Alex Zanardi

"I believe that if I had the motivation I could come back and race again, I don't see missing my legs as an obstacle so big that it would be impossible to overcome.

"I don't know what I will do two, three years from now. One thing I would really like to do is ski again.

"But right now my main priority is to enjoy my family and be with them."

Zanardi has shown immense drive and spirit since the crash last September.

He was driving a car a little more than a month after the crash and was walking on prosthetic limbs with crutches not long after that.

For some months now, he has been able to walk without crutches - although he does still use aids.

Alex Zanardi in the Toronto pit lane
Zanardi is trying hard to live a normal life

"There are two sides to the story. The bottle could be half full or half empty.

"It is some pride for me when I go to centre where I do my rehabilitation to see that there are other people in my condition who in 20 years have not accomplished what I have in six months.

"There are a lot of people who use the legs just to improve their luck and spend all their time in a wheelchair but that's not me."

The award for which Zanardi attended the Toronto race was the Greg Moore achievement award.

It is named for the Canadian Cart driver who was killed in a 230mph crash in the last race of 1999.

Zanardi was given a standing ovation by the 800 guests at the black-tie gala then climbed into a pace car and drove the race course he won on in 1998.

'Never-say-never attitude'

Zanardi spoke candidly of his feelings after the crash as he realised the full extent of his injuries.

"After a middle point I was very depressed, I mean the pain was just terrible, every step was a nightmare," Zanardi said.

"I thought it would have been easy, just stepping up and go. But in reality I'm finding every day it is a little hard.

"But it is much better now and every day I make a small improvement.

"My never-say-never attitude has helped me a lot. That's why after a short period after the accident I'm capable of doing almost everything on my own.

"My optimism is what is driving me the most. "People ask about my son Nicola. He is a gift from God, he is the thing I love the most in my life but that was not the motivation.

"For me just the fact to be alive is sufficient motivation to want to improve my life quality. My son, my wife my family are big positives, I am a happy guy even without my legs."

See also:

19 Mar 02 | Motorsport
30 Dec 01 | Motorsport
30 Oct 01 | Motorsport
17 Sep 01 | Motorsport
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