German track cyclist Kristina Vogel has announced that she has been left paralysed as a result of the back injuries sustained in a high-speed collision in Cottbus back in June.
Talking to Der Spiegel magazine, the two-time Olympic champion stated
“No matter how you dress it up, I can’t walk anymore,”
“On the first X-ray images, my spine looks like an Ikea folding table.
“I believe that the sooner you accept a new situation, the sooner you learn to deal with it.”
Vogel previously had a serious accident in 2009 which saw her being placed in an artificial coma for two days. But she battled back and later returned to win the team sprint for Germany with Miriam Welte at the 2012 London Olympics. She then followed this up to win Olympic gold in the sprint in Rio de Janeiro four years later despite a broken saddle.
Kristina Vogel added: “No matter what fate holds for you, life goes on, in my case now on four wheels instead of two wheels. My arms are now my legs too.”
Cycling’s governing body, the UCI, said it would “stand by Kristina in this difficult time” and expressed its “sympathy and support in a sad situation for track cycling and the sport”.
Its statement added: “This exceptional champion has also dedicated herself to our sport by working selflessly behind the scenes.
“Her determination and good humour are known and appreciated by all, and we at the UCI have no doubt that she will make full use of these remarkable qualities in her rehabilitation.”