16 April 1964 |
After having won a national youth modern pentathlon championship, Pancalli became a quadriplegic in 1981 following a tumble from a horse during an international race in Austria. Despite this, he was still able to partially move his arms and took part in four different editions of the Paralympic Games from 1984 to 1996, winning eight gold, seven silver, and one bronze medal in swimming.
He was appointed president of the Italian Paralympic Committee in 2000. He was then appointed vice-president of the Italian National Olympic Committee, being the first disabled person to take the job.
On September 21, 2006, after Guido Rossi resigned, Pancalli was appointed Extraordinary Commissioner of the FIGC (Italian Football Federation). On February 2, 2007, following gratuitous violences in the Sicilian derby in Catania which led to the killing of a policeman, Pancalli announced his intention to indefinitely suspend all football activities in the country. This is the second time such an event happened, the first time being after Genoa C.F.C. supporter Vincenzo Spagnolo was stabbed by an alleged AC Milan ultras member called Simone Brasaglia in 1995.