ZANARDI AIMS FOR ENCORE
Zanardi Targets Paralympic Encore
Staff I November 29, 2012
Alex Zanardi is targeting a Paralympic handbike encore at the 2016 games in Rio, despite having earlier indicated that he expected his Paralympic career to begin and end in London.
The two-time Champ Car champion won two golds and a silver at this year's London Paralympics. While he was more vague about his future plans following that success, earlier this year he told AUTOSPORT that he did not envision being able to put himself through the preparation required to compete at that level again once the London games were over.
"I believe that when the [London] games are over, it will be a sad time for me. I can carry on competing in the same sport, but I cannot imagine staying in shape for another four years," he said back in March.
The 46-year-old, who recently completed a DTM test for BMW, now believes that he can remain competitive at Rio in four years' time, saying he can compensate a decline in physical condition in other areas.
"There is more [development] at the bottom of the barrel to be scratched up, [which] is why this sport is so exciting," he said. "Paracycling is still a new sport, and in a way we are all pioneers. Therefore I think that at the next games at Rio de Janeiro, for sure I will not be as good an athlete because I will be older, but there will be many other areas, including in my training, where I can make gains.
"In other words, in four years time I can probably be faster than I was in London. And that's why, right now, I'm inclined to believe that I will be in Rio de Janeiro. If it doesn't happen, so what? It will be really exciting to try anyway.
"I am a dreamer, and right now there is nothing wrong with dreaming of being in Rio de Janeiro. London was London, and that was the end of a great adventure. But now there is no reason why I cannot start a new one."