Team GB track cyclist Victoria Williamson makes remarkable comeback after horrific crash
Three years ago Victoria Williamson was just millimetres away from paralysis.
The 2013 world team sprint medallist suffered a broken neck and back, and a dislocated pelvis in January 2016 after crashing during an omnium race in the Netherlands.
Now the 25-year-old Brit has completed a miraculous recovery, taking part in the UCI Track World Cup event in Hong Kong.
"I had to take a second when I was warming up just to be thankful I was even at this level really and racing at a World Cup", she revealed after her comeback.
Willliamson finished fourth from last in the qualifying round of the women's team sprint competition, along with Olympic bronze medallist Katy Marchant.
But the result didn't matter.
"Katy was really supportive and said that whatever happens you’ve already won by being back on the start line", the Norfolk-born rider said.
"I’ve had a long break off the world stage but I’ve got no excuses - she added - I just wasn’t at my best and unfortunately I didn’t get on (to Katy’s wheel) which was a shame, but it’s a step in the right direction. It’s just going to be onwards and upwards from here".
Close to paralysis
The cyclist went through a long and painstaking recovery process.
The accident at the Six Days of Rotterdam in 2016 left her a large scar on her flank, after a deep cut exposed her verterbrae.
But it was the damage in her neck that worried the doctors.
"The surgeon measured that break on the MRI scan and it was 2mm from my spinal cord", Williamson, who recently married professional golfer Oliver Barnes, said to the Guardian.
"Another 2mm...I would have had absolutely nothing left, no movement"
The cyclist was forced to miss the Rio Olympics, but injuries didn't put her off.
She was determined to come back and documented her progress in a personal blog.
"I never thought I’d be given this opportunity again", Williamson admitted.
But her sheer willpower and courage made her return possible.
Now making the team for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics would continue the fairy-tale.