Pope hails Zanardi’s ‘lesson of humanity’ through disability

ROME (AP) — Pope Francis has praised Alex Zanardi as an example of strength amid adversity as the Italian auto racing champion-turned-Paralympic gold medalist recovers from a handbike crash. Francis penned a letter of encouragement assuring Zanardi and his family of his prayers. It was published on the front page of sports daily Gazzetta dello Sport.  Francis thanked Zanardi “for having given strength to those who lost it.” Zanardi lost both of his legs in an auto racing crash nearly 20 years ago. He has been on a ventilator since he crashed his handbike into a truck near the Tuscan town of Pienza on Friday during a relay event.