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INTERNATIONAL PARALYMPIC COMMITTEE

Zanardi tops IPC's Top 50 Paralympic Moments of 2012

Italian handcyclist Alex Zanardi has taken the IPC’s top moment of 2012 after winning two Paralympic golds on the same course he competed on as a motor race driver. 31 Dec 2012

Find out which other stories have made it into the top 50 Paralympic Moments of 2012

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has revealed that Italian handcyclist Alex Zanardi’s London 2012 performance comes in as No. 1 in its Top 50 Paralympic Moments of 2012.

The 45-year-old became a global sensation after winning gold in the men’s individual H4 time trial and road race at Brands Hatch, 21 years after racing there as a motor race driver. He was voted the IPC’s Male Athlete of the Month for August/September for his performance, which also included a silver with his Italian teammates in the mixed team relay H1-4.

Zanardi lost both his legs when he was injured in the American Memorial 500 cart event in Germany in September 2001.

“I didn’t believe it. It’s just amazing,” Zanardi said after his first golden performance. “I was fighting for silver because I thought Carol-Eduard Novak was in better shape. We can’t have radios so I didn’t have any information through the race. I just clocked my time and waited and now I’m just surprised.

“I worked very hard to get here. It was great to live such an experience at 45 years old.”

For the final 50 days of 2012, the IPC has featured each of the top 50 moments via a feature article, photos, video and social media, culminating with Zanardi’s remarkable feat on 31 December.

The moments were selected by nominations from National Paralympic Committees and International Federations and were based on sport performance, emotional moments, media attraction and athletes’ personal stories.

IPC President Sir Philip Craven said: “The year 2012 will go down as one of the greatest ever for the Paralympic Movement, as the London 2012 Paralympic Games produced thousands of moments that captured billions of viewers’ attention and put sport for persons with an impairment into the mainstream media.”

Following Zanardi’s feat, Alan Oliveria’s shock victory over Oscar Pistorius in the 200m T44 sprint in London came in as No. 2 on the list, while swimmer Teresa Perales giving her Paralympic gold to her two-year-old son was No. 3.

David Wetherill’s amazing table tennis shot in the London 2012 preliminary round was No. 4 and Canada’s wheelchair rugby team upsetting USA in the semi-finals at the Paralympic Games rounded out the top five.

The year of 2012 was arguably one of the most historic in the Paralympic Movement, highlighted by the great success of the London 2012 Games, which were deemed the best ever by the IPC President.

The event, opened by the Queen and closed by Coldplay, Rihanna and Jay-Z, featured 4,237 athletes across 20 sports, with 75 of the 164 countries competing taking home medals. A record 2.7 million tickets were sold for the Games, which were broadcast to more than 100 countries and territories, with the UK’s Channel 4 screening over 500 hours of live coverage that achieved record audiences.

Research proved that the Games had a significant impact on British society, revealing that one in three adults in the UK changed their attitude towards people with an impairment and 81 per cent of British adults thought the Paralympics had a positive impact on the way people with an impairment are viewed by the public.

The winter sports scene this year was highlighted by the Wheelchair Curling and Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships, as well as the Nordic Skiing World Cup and the addition of snowboarding to the Paralympic Games programme.

The growth of the Paralympic Games was also secured with the renewal of the IPC-IOC Co-operation Agreement, meaning the Olympics and Paralympics will be held in the same city through 2020.

Here’s the complete list of the Top 50 Paralympic Moments of 2012:

1. Alex Zanardi wins two golds at Brands Hatch, 21 years after racing there as a Formula 1 driver

2. Alan Oliveria shocks Oscar Pistorius in 200m T44 sprint

3. Teresa Perales gives her Paralympic gold to her two-year-old son

4. David Wetherill’s amazing table tennis shot

5. Canada wheelchair rugby upset USA

6. Bradley Snyder wins gold exactly one year after losing sight in Afghanistan

7. Oscar Pistorius represents Paralympic Movement at the Olympics

8. Esther Vergeer wins fourth Paralympic gold and 470th straight match

9. Yohansson Nascimento finishes 100m T46 after pulling hamstring

10. London 2012 Closing Ceremony

11. Jonnie Peacock breaks 100m T43 world record and wins London gold

12. Matt Stutzman makes name for himself as “Armless Archer”

13. Channel 4’s London 2012 promotion

14. Oksana Slesarenko leads Russia to wheelchair curling gold

15. London 2012 Opening Ceremony

16. Noam Gershony wins gold six years after helicopter crash in Israeli army

17. Ellie Simmonds in tears after winning her first London 2012 gold

18. Johanna Benson becomes first Namibian to win Olympic or Paralympic gold

19. Will Bayley’s celebration after his London 2012 semi-final victory

20. Gwang-Geun Choi wins judo gold two weeks after being released from hospital

21. Jeferson Goncalves helps Brazil football 5-a-side to third consecutive Paralympic title

22. Germany’s women’s wheelchair basketball team gets first gold since 1984

23. Jacqueline Freney’s eighth gold comes in exhilarating 4x100m medley relay 34 points

24. Abdulla Alaryani wins unexpected shooting gold

25. Brazilian sprinters finish one-two-three

26. David Weir wins goes four-for-four with marathon gold

27. Pat Anderson sparks Canada to wheelchair basketball title

28. Germany’s sitting volleyball team captures Paralympic bronze

29. Jeremy Campbell breaks 60m discus barrier

30. Natalie du Toit makes final Paralympic appearance

31. Matt Cowdrey becomes Australia’s most-decorated Paralympian

32. Helena Lucas outclasses opponents to win 2.4mR sailing gold

33. Korea win surprise silver at Ice Sledge Hockey Worlds

34. Haitian earthquake survivor Leon Gaysli competes in London

35. Fatma Omar claims fourth powerlifting gold

36. Greg Polychronidis converts under press to win boccia competition

37. Gustavo Fernandez makes name for himself in wheelchair tennis

38. Belgium’s Michele George surprises with two equestrian golds

39. Russia dominate nordic skiing circuit

40. Japanese women’s goalball team’s sudden-death victory

41. Cheng Huang becomes new face of rowing

42. Snowboarding added to Paralympic Winter Games programme

43. USA’s sportsmanship in the men’s 4x100m relay

44. London 2012 is first event to test athletes for HGH

45. Melissa Stockwell’s third para-triathlon world title

46. Fernando Fernandes takes triple crown in para-canoe

47. Yu Chui Yee wraps up seventh wheelchair fencing gold

48. Russia football 7-a-side team’s golden goal

49. IPC extends agreement with IOC through 2020

50. Marc Evers represents intellectually impaired class in London

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