'I re-enact the joy of winning': Kristina Vogel on World Championships commentary

Former track sprinter says the 'fire is still there' for the sport, despite paralysis

Kristina Vogel in 2017 (Andy Jones)
(Image credit: Andy Jones)

Two-time Olympic champion sprinter Kristina Vogel has said that commentating on the World Championships in Poland has allowed her to re-enact the joy of racing, and winning.

Speaking to AFP, the German rider who was left paralysed from the chest down after a training crash last year, said that her "fire" for the sport has not been smothered by her injuries.

"The fire is still here. When I am watching sport, it still burns," she said.

"When I see how people fight on the track, I am really enjoying it because I can re-enact what happens on the track. The joy of winning and then celebrating.

"After my accident on the track it didn't go away. I hope I can give the viewers [watching the Poland event] something extra, with the fire I have in me."

"I hope I can still give this fire a purpose."

The 28-year-old was left paralysed after her crash at the Cottbus track, in Germany, in June 2018. Riding at around 65 kilometres per hour, her sprint was disrupted when another rider joined the track during a training session.

It wasn't Vogel's first experience of serious injury. In 2009, she was hospitalised having been thrown through the windscreen of a van.

She said her mother's faith has helped to maintain positivity.

"My mum has given me a lot... [she] always said, even if I am not religious, she thinks that God gives us tasks that he thinks we can fulfil.

"To me, it just means there is someone there who thinks I am really strong. It makes these challenges a bit easier to accept, and somehow, make the best out of it."

As well as commentary at the World Championships, Vogel has taken up a new sport in wheelchair archery.

Currently, the motivation is one around health, as opposed to competition.

"At the moment I do not miss the competition," she said. "I am doing archery because it's important for my stomach and core strength.

"I am paralysed up to the chest. Which means I have no abdominal or back muscles, but I still need to use these in my daily life. So any sports I can do is good."

Outside of sport, Vogel - who was a part time police officer as well as a professional athlete before the accident - is standing for election in May in her home city of Erfurt, as a candidate for Angela Merkel's Christian Democrat Party [CDU].

Vogel is placed second on the CDU's local list, it is expected that she will be elected for a five year term.

Michelle Arthurs-Brennan
Michelle Arthurs-Brennan

Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is Cycling Weekly's Tech Editor, and is responsible for managing the tech news and reviews both on the website and in Cycling Weekly magazine.

A traditional journalist by trade, Arthurs-Brennan began her career working for a local newspaper, before spending a few years at Evans Cycles, then combining writing and her love of bicycles first at Total Women's Cycling and then Cycling Weekly. 

When not typing up reviews, news, and interviews Arthurs-Brennan is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 190rt.

She rides bikes of all kinds, but favourites include a custom carbon Werking road bike as well as the Specialized Tarmac SL6. 

Height: 166cm

Weight: 56kg

Personal website

Michelle Arthurs-Brennan on Instagram

Michelle Arthurs-Brennan on Twitter

Michelle Arthurs-Brennan on LinkedIn