Two-time Paralympic silver medallist (Beijing 2008) Monique van der Vorst, 28, suffered a cycling collision in 2010 that left her with a slight tingling in her feet. Paralyzed from the waist down since the age of 13, the use of her legs slowly returned over the course of months in the hospital. Doctors are unable to explain the phenomenon.
Now fully able-bodied, the Paralympic future of van der Vorst—the first handcycle athlete to win the 2009 Ironman world championship—is in jeopardy. With no sign of her previous paralysis returning and her strength growing, the reality of her being forever unqualified for future Paralympic events looks unavoidable.
Never one to be deterred from pursuing her athletic career however, van der Dorst, elected Dutch disabled athlete of the year in 2009, has taken the change in stride and signed with an able-bodied cycling team. While it is a near certainty that she will never compete in the Paralympics again, van der Dorst has begun training to compete in the 2016 Olympics in Rio.