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Former track sprinter described as “a model for believing in yourself”

Olympic champion track cyclist Kristina Vogel, who was left paralysed from the chest down after a training crash last June, has been honoured with a Barbie doll in her likeness for International Women’s Day.

Vogel, who won team sprint gold at the London Olympics and the individual sprint title in Rio, was training for the German Sprint Grand Prix at the velodrome in Cottbus when she was involved in a collision with another rider.

She was placed in an induced coma and underwent spinal surgery, but will never walk again.

Earlier this week, she spoke to Chris Hoy about dealing with her paralysis. Echoing the thoughts of many who have heard her speak since the accident, Hoy called her “an incredible human being.”

Vogel is one of 20 women who have had dolls made in their image as part of Barbie’s ongoing “Role Models” campaign.

“Kristina continues to persevere and share her story with the public,” said manufacturer Mattel in its announcement. “With her infectious vitality, she is a model for believing in yourself.”

“Can’t describe my feelings in words,” tweeted Vogel. “I’m just so proud.”

 

 

The Vogel Barbie doll is not the first in a wheelchair. Last month Mattel announced a new line of Fashionista Barbies, which will include different body sizes and two with disabilities – one in a wheelchair and one with a removable prosthetic leg.

The Mighty reports that the firm introduced its first wheelchair-using doll, Share-a-Smile Becky, in 1997. (Although the website notes that the Barbie world was not wheelchair accessible and Becky couldn’t actually get through the door of Barbie’s house.)

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