Vogel ready for post-crash life

Reuters
Kristina Vogel, who was paralyzed following a training crash in June,said she was ready to tackle her new life but has had no contact with the Dutch rider involved in the collision
Reuters
AFP

Germany’s Olympic and world sprint cycling champion Kristina Vogel sits in a wheelchair as she gives a news conference — her first since she was paralyzed following a serious crash in training on June 26 — at the Unfallkrankenhaus hospital in Berlin, the German capital, yesterday. 

World and Olympic champion Kristina Vogel, who was paralyzed following a training crash in June, said yesterday she was ready to tackle her new life but has had no contact with the Dutch rider involved in the collision.

During a news conference at the Berlin hospital, where she has been treated, Vogel, a record 11-time world champion, said she had accepted the fact that she would not walk again moments after the accident at the Cottbus Sport Center Velodrome. “I said ‘breathe, breathe, breathe’ and then I checked,” she said of the collision in which Vogel, a part-time police officer, suffered serious spinal and chest injuries.

“Then I saw where I lay, how I was. When my shoes were off I knew that this was it with the walking. I realized quickly I would not walk again.”

She underwent back and chest surgery and earlier this month announced she had been paralyzed.

Vogel said neither the cyclist who had crashed with her, nor the Dutch cycling federation had been in touch with her.

“I have had no contact with the rider,” a smiling Vogel, sitting next to her doctors, said. “Neither the Dutch federation nor the rider have been in contact.”

Vogel added she was looking forward to an independent life. “Tears will not help. It is what it is,” she said.

“I am ready to take on this challenge and make the best of it. I want to get back into life, not depend on a lot of help. I must use this strength I had in competitions for my life. Asking ‘why me’ does not bring you any further.”

The 27-year-old had previously suffered serious injuries when she was hit by a minibus in 2009 while riding near her home, being placed in a medically-induced coma. However, she battled back to win Olympic gold in the track cycling team sprint at the London Games in 2012.

Vogel has won 11 world titles — a record she shares with Australian great Anna Meares. She also has three European golds.


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