Kristina Vogel made an emotional return to the velodrome on Monday, where she was awarded the accolade of 'Cyclist of the Year' by the German Cycling Federation at the Berlin leg of the UCI Track World Cup series.
By
Cycling Central

4 Dec - 10:50 AM 

The two-time Olympic Gold medallist and 11-time World Champion on the track, Vogel, collided with a rider entering the track during a practice session in June and suffered extensive injuries, leading to her being paralysed below the waist.

She emerged onto the Berlin track to cheers from the crowd and completed a lap in her wheelchair.

"It was very moving," Vogel said in an interview with L'Equipe in Berlin. "I don't miss competition but on the other hand I do miss this community, these people. I've shared some very good and also very bad moments with them. They're my cycling family."

"I'm not angry. Of course, there are moments when I feel sad, but I say to myself that I can do what I want, and I've always thought that the quicker you accept a situation, the quicker you can deal with it and bounce back." 

Olympic champion Vogel paralysed after crash
Germany's Olympic and world sprint cycling champion Kristina Vogel has been paralysed following a serious crash in training in June, she told a German magazine in an interview.

Vogel has said that she might be looking to go into a Paralympic sport or challenge herself in another field, with the competitive urge to compete not entirely gone from the elite athlete. She could be forgiven for being bitter at the situation but Vogel has taken the tragedy with remarkable equanimity and compassion. 

"I'm not going to lie, sometimes I hate what's happened to me," said Vogel in the L'Equipe interview. "I get a bit jealous of people who are walking in the street, but I also see people who are completely paralysed, who can only move their heads, and then I tell myself it's ok. I'm happy to be alive, I'm still the same person I was six months ago. You have to go on, that's all."

"For the moment, I'm very happy to no longer be competing. At the level I was at, it's frightening. Day after day, it's all you think about - today's training, tomorrow's training, the next race. You'd like to watch a film but you've got to go to bed because tomorrow's session is a tough one. Everyone wanted to see me lose, and that was really very hard for me." 

"Now, for the first time, I only do things for myself and I can take my time. I missed out on a lot of things as an athlete. Now I'm very far from the concerns of an elite-level athlete. Being successful in Paralympic sport would take me several years, because I wouldn't want to be second - I'd want to win. At the moment, I want to live - that's all. Live like anyone else my age."