Olympic track cyclist Kristina Vogel has announced she is paralysed after suffering a spinal injury during a crash in training.
“It is s–t, there’s no other way to put it,” she told Der Spiegel (h/t Reuters, via NBC Sports). “No matter how you package it, I can’t walk anymore. But I believe that the sooner you accept a new situation, the sooner you learn to deal with it.”
Vogel suffered the accident in June when she “fell onto a concrete track following a high-speed collision with another cyclist,” per NBC Sports.
The 27-year-old won gold in the team track sprint at the 2012 London Olympic Games. She also won an individual sprint gold four years later in Rio de Janeiro.
Vogel was speaking about her injuries for the first time, and she explained why she delayed the announcement.
“I didn’t want people to see me that injured,” she told Der Spiegel(h/t theGuardian). “Now I can say I have reached a point where I can say: Here I am and I am fine. I am still the same crazy person. I want to be a source of motivation for others.”
After the accident, four-time world champion Maximilian Levy wrote a letter to riders asking them to donate prize money to help fund Vogel’s rehabilitation:
Katie Falkingham @KatieFalkingham
Huge kudos to @MaximilianLevy for this. Cyclists competing at this weekend’s Sprint Grand Prix in Cottbus have been asked to donate their prize money to a fund supporting @KristinaVogel’s recovery from a serious spinal injury suffered in a crash on Tuesday. https://t.co/3PvvjgrnoL
Fellow cyclists have also sent messages of support for the 11-time world champion. Mexican cyclist Luis Lemus shared his admiration for Vogel:
Luis E Lemus D @LuisE_Lemus
When I was just over 16 years old, the UCI junior world championships came to my hometown, between the big hitters on that event was a young German rider crushing everyone on any sprint event, since there I always admire and follow the career of Vogel, this is devastating to read https://t.co/jPOY6PWrwb
Six-time Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy offered his tribute, perBBC Sport.
“She is already one of the greatest track sprinters in history, but there was so much more to come from her. It’s absolutely heartbreaking,” he said. “I have no doubt that in the future she will find new ways to challenge herself and to achieve greatness again and in doing so continue to inspire.”
Vogel was previously placed in a coma for two days after being knocked off her bike by a vehicle in May 2009.
She made a full recovery and became the first German to win Olympic gold in the sprint when she topped the standings in Rio.
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Kristina Vogel broke down into tears as she gave an emotional account of the tragic accident that left her paralysed. Vogel, a German two-time track cycling Olympic gold medallist, has faced devastating consequences after a freak crash during training earlier this summer. Completing a session on a concrete circuit in her homeland, the 27-year-old was...