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Dublin: 8 °C Saturday 19 October, 2019

Alex Brooker's speech on 'The Last Leg' is 3 minutes of must-see TV

Brooker paid tribute to former F1 driver Alex Zanardi, who won Paralympic silver on the anniversary of the horrific accident that saw him lose both legs.

Source: Channel 4 (UK Paralympic Broadcaster)/YouTube

THE STORY OF Alex Zanardi is just one of the many moving, inspirational moments of the Paralympics.

Last night, on Channel 4′s ‘The Last Leg’, journalist Alex Brooker summed up Zanardi’s incredible impact with this moving tribute.

A former Formula 1 driver, Zanardi almost died in a horrific racing accident in 2001 and though he survived, the Italian lost both of his legs.

Now 49, he is now one of the world’s top handcyclists and won gold in the H5 road time trial and silver in the road race in Rio this week.

Introduced as Zanardi’s biggest fan, a clearly emotional Brooker was asked to put his influence into words last night:

I watched this earlier and completely welled up. The great thing about Alex Zanardi is not only is he a world-class handcyclist, but his attitude to disability is unlike anything that I’ve ever heard before.
In his quotes afterwards he said, ‘Normally I don’t thank God for these things as I believe God has more important stuff to worry about, but today is too much. I had to raise my eyes and thank him. I feel very lucky. My life is a never-ending privilege.
‘When you think about it, that’s what this Games is about. I’ve been disabled all my life and I’ve complained about it when I wanted. I come on here now and celebrate my disability and I’m confident, but I’ll never fully be completely OK with it.
People at home will watch the Paralympic Games and able-bodied people will be inspired by it, but as a disabled man, he inspires me. I’ve overcome a lot of issues with my disabilities over the years and as I get into later life, I’ve got new ones to come. I wonder about how I’m going to cope when I have a child, how’ll I hold my child for the first time? These are things that I think about and I worry about, even though I portray on here (that) I am confident.
But to see somebody like that talk the way he does, to me it means the world and it inspires me and it makes me proud to be disabled and that epitomises the Paralympic Games for me.

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Niall Kelly

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