Willoughby hopes to walk down the aisle
Photo Source: AAP
Sam Willoughby is not guaranteed to walk again, but he is refusing to accept being in a wheelchair on his wedding day in April next year.
The Australian BMX star, a two-time Olympian, broke his back when he landed on his head in a training crash in September in the US.
The crash left Willoughby with spinal damage and he still cannot feel below his chest, with the London 2012 silver medallist confined to a wheelchair as he recovers in a Denver hospital.
"There's definitely smaller goals at this point," Willoughby told the Nine Network's 60 Minutes program.
"It's a long way to go but when we get married I want to walk down the aisle.
"I'm not going to sit in this (wheelchair) for the rest of my life."
The world champion suffered fractures to his C6 and C7 vertebrae, severely compressing his spinal cord and leaving him with no movement below the chest.
His doctor said time would tell the fullness of his recovery and would not speculate on his chances of walking again.
Willoughby, 25, said the accident happened during a "routine warm-up" on a track with which he was highly familiar.
He knew almost immediately something was wrong before being rushed to hospital where he underwent surgery, with the C6 vertabrae removed and replaced by a titanium cage.
"I remember kind of losing my balance and being upside down and then I remember just laying on the floor and I could see my left leg to one side but I couldn't feel it," he said.
"I was in no pain, but I just couldn't feel and then I laid there for a bit and my arms went away.
"I'm not stupid. I felt like I knew what had happened."
Willoughby's American fiancee Alise Post won BMX silver in Rio.