Double Olympic cycling champion Kristina Vogel says she can no longer walk after suffering a serious spinal injury in a crash during training in June.
The 27-year-old German, who won team sprint gold at London 2012 and the individual title at Rio 2016, was injured during a high speed collision with another cyclist at the Cottbus Velodrome.
In an interview with Der Spiegel, Vogel, who is also a part time police officer, said she thought she was dying at the time of the crash.
"I said to myself 'I can not let go here now,'" she is quoted as saying.
"I was in pain, but there are no words.
"On the first x-ray images my spine looks like an Ikea folding table."
Vogel has won 11 world titles and the crash in Cottbus was not the first serious incident of her career.
She was put into an induced coma in May 2009 after being hit by a car during a training session.
"I believe that the sooner you accept a new situation, the sooner you learn to deal with it," she said.
"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 my legs too."
The International Cycling Union (UCI) have released a statement saying they express their "sympathy and support" to Vogel during the "difficult times" she has encountered.
"Kristina has not been able to use her legs since the accident, leaving her unable to walk and, naturally, preventing her from resuming her sporting career in track cycling at the highest level," they said.
"This is a sad situation for track cycling and the sport.
"In addition to her multiple Olympic medals, Kristina shares with Australia's Anna Meares the record for the number of UCI World Championship titles won by a single athlete.
"As a member of the UCI Track and Athletes' Commissions, this exceptional champion has also dedicated herself to our sport by working selflessly behind the scenes.
"Her determination and good humour are known and appreciated by all, and we at the UCI have no doubt that she will make full use of these remarkable qualities in her rehabilitation."