Alex Zanardi lost both legs and narrowly cheated death while racing in 2001*.
As he explains in the above CNN profile, Zanardi wondered from his hospital bed how he was going to do all the things he needed to do with no legs. Soon he discovered hand-cycling, just to keep in shape, but a true competitor’s desire to race cannot be quenched so easily. Zanardi won gold in hand-cycling in the Paralympic Games 2012, and cycles at an average speed of 44 km/hr. As he says, “at 40 km/hr with a motorcycle, you are illegal in Italy, therefore I am almost illegal.”
*thanks to commenters Ryan and Eric for the correction!