(CNN)One year ago Kristina Vogel graced the famous Berlin Six Day cycling event with the powerful dominance of a two-time Olympic gold medalist.
This year she returned in a wheelchair.
Vogel sustained life threatening injuries in a horrific training accident in Cottbus last June, colliding with a stationary cyclist at over 60kph.
She survived, but the impact of the crash severed her spinal cord, leaving her permanently paralyzed.
It was a shattering conclusion to the 28-year-old's sporting career, at the peak of her powers and with the promise of many more gold medals in her specialist event of track sprinting.
It would have been easy for Vogel to have hidden from public view while coming to terms with her dramatically changed circumstances.
But Vogel has done just the opposite, using her social media feed to update fans on her rehabilitation and attending a series of high profile events.
The German public voted her second behind tennis star Angelique Kerber in their televised annual sports awards and she made an emotional return to the Berlin velodrome for a World Cup event in December, receiving a rapturous reception.
That popularity may well stand Vogel in good stead for a new career that beckons in politics.
Vogel, who was a part-time police officer as well as a professional athlete before her accident, is standing for election in May in her home city of Erfurt as a candidate for German chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrat Party.
Placed second on the CDU's local list, Vogel is almost certain to be elected for a five-year term to the 50-strong city council.
"I want to give something back, because I love my home town," she told CNN Sport.
And future ambitions, aiming to reach the top in politics as she has done in sport?
"Maybe yes, maybe no. I don't know, give me five years in Erfurt and we will see if I like it," she said.
Vogel's former German teammate Maximilian Levy, like herself