Olympic Champion Kristina Vogel Paralyzed in Bike Crash
A serious bike crash in June has left Kristina Vogel, Germany’s Olympic and world sprint cycling champion, paralyzed from the waist down, the 27-year-old revealed on Friday.
“It's a crappy situation, there’s no other way to put it,” Vogel told the German newspaper Der Spiegel in her first public interview since the June 26 crash. “No matter which way you look at it, I can’t walk anymore.
"But what can I do?” she continued. “I always think that the sooner you accept a new situation, the better you can deal with it.”
Vogel, who has won 11 world titles and took Olympic gold in Rio in 2016, had a collision while training at a velodrome in the German city of Cottbus. She suffered spinal injuries and was airlifted to Berlin for emergency surgery.
After the crash, Vogel and her family declined to speak publicly about her condition.
“I didn’t want people to see me with such injuries,” she told Der Spiegel, adding that “in the first X-ray pictures, my spine looks like an Ikea folding table.”
Meanwhile, friends and fellow track riders launched a campaign called #staystrongkristina to help Vogel through the recovery process.
“I am very fortunate to still be alive and to have fully functioning arms,” she told Der Spiegel. “I could well have been paralyzed from the neck down.”
Vogel said it was too early to think about a future as a Paralympic athlete, but felt that she was ready to start talking publicly about what happened. “Here I am, and I’m fine,” she said. “I’m still there and still the same old crazy girl you know.
“I want to be a motivation for others,” she went on. “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 also my legs.”