In a bobsled accident on Thursday at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, a track worker suffered two broken legs and a suspected concussion.
The injured worker was on the track when he was hit at speed by a forerunning bobsled close to the finish line at the Sanki Sliding Center. The accident occurred just before the start of the day’s two-man bobsled training.
IOC President Thomas Bach told The Associated Press: “We still do not know why he was in this zone and exactly what happened. The information we have so far is that he has a broken leg and maybe a concussion. We are following up on this matter.”
Mark Adams, spokesman for the IOC also told the AP: “I understand he is conscious and talking and has two broken legs.” The injured worker, who is yet to be identified, needed to be airlifted to a nearby hospital to receive treatment for his injuries.
Following the bobsled accident, the first training session was delayed for over 30 minutes as a maintenance team worked to repair a light fixture which was smashed during the accident.
The track at Sochi was designed with safety in mind, following the death of Nodar Kumarishtavili in an accident hours before the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver Games four years ago.
So far, the track has seen no major accidents, and even the athletes have been complimenting it.
U.S skeleton racer Katie Uhlaender said after the first two heats of the woman’s bobsled competition:”To be honest, the ice (is) phenomenal. It’s better than it was in training and whoever they got working on the ice, kudos, because they are doing Olympic level work on the track. It is fast and it’s fun.”
It remains to be seen what misunderstanding led to the bobsled accident in Sochi as the relevant authorities investigate the incident.
A bobsled accident happened in Sochi when an Olympic track worker was hit by a bobsled near the finish line. As a result, the unidentified man broke both his legs and may have a concussion, NBC Chicago reports Feb. 13.
The man was on the track when he was struck by a fast sled near the finish line at the Sanki Sliding Centeron Thursday. The bobsled accident took place before training for the two-man bobsled teams got underway. He was airlifted by helicopter to the hospital. Very few details are out about the accident at this point. By the way it happened, the sled had not braked yet before reaching the finish line.
IOC President Thomas Bach said he did not know why the worker “was in this zone and exactly what happened.” He did mention that the worker might have a concussion.
IOC spokesman Mark Adams told the Associated Press that he was informed that the worker “is conscious and talking and has two broken legs.”
Olympic officials confirmed the luge team relay would go on as scheduled.
No one is sure why the track worker was hit by the oncoming bobsled. There are warnings to anyone near the final curve before the finish line that a fast sled is on the way. If the bobsled accident could have been prevented, why would anyone be out there?
A bobsled accident in Sochi left a track worker with two broken legs and a possible concussion, IOC officials told The Associated Press.
The worker was on the track when he was hit by a forerunning sled near the finish line at the Sanki Sliding Center, just before the start of Thursday’s two-man bobsled training.
“We still do not know why he was in this zone
and exactly what happened,” IOC President Thomas Bach said in a visit to The Associated Press office in Sochi.
Bach added that the worker “maybe” has a concussion.
Later, IOC spokesman Mark Adams told the AP: “I understand he is conscious and talking and has two broken legs.”
Sochi organizers said the unidentified man was taken by helicopter to a hospital, but gave no other information about his injuries. Officials said the crash took place just before the finish line, which would suggest that the sled likely had not yet started to brake.
“According to standard procedure, a warning signal was given ahead of the forerunners’ bob beginning its run on the track,” Sochi organizers said in a statement released more than three hours after the accident. “The reasons for the icemaker’s presence on the track after the warning signal are currently being determined.”
Also, officials said the luge team relay event scheduled to make its Olympic debut on Thursday will take place as scheduled.
The first bobsled training session was delayed at the start for about 35 minutes as a work crew repaired a light fixture that was apparently smashed in the accident. Also, the track was cleared of other debris that had fallen into the finish area.
Olympic bobsledders remained in the start area during the delay, well away from the crash location.
Forerunning sleds are used before training and competition sessions to assess track conditions and make sure the facility is safe for racing. Also, people in the vicinity of the track are almost always alerted that a sled is in the track through public-address announcements, though it was unclear why the worker struck was unaware that the session was beginning.
It’s also unclear why the worker was on the track when the sled came out the final curve and approached the finish line. The sled that struck him was the second “forerunner” used before the training session.
Loudspeakers in the finish-deck area were working during training after the crash, though there has been at least one incident when the public-address system at the facility — an absolutely critical part of the track’s safety plan — failed.
It went silent when the U.S. and other international luge teams visited the Sochi track for a training session in November after electricity was lost. That impacted lights, timing devices and the speaker system that allows sliders up top know when sleds at the bottom of the chute have been removed and the track is clear for the next competitor.
In turn, it also tells people in the finish area that a sled is on the way.
“We didn’t really know what was going on,” USA Luge coach Mark Grimmette said in November, when detailing how training was interrupted.
The Sochi track was designed to be safer following the death of luger Nodar Kumarishtavili in an accident hours before the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver Games four years ago. There have been no major mishaps during any of the competition so far, and athletes have been complimentary of the track’s condition.
“To be honest, the ice is phenomenal,” U.S. skeleton racer Katie Uhlaender said following the first two heats of the women’s competition, several hours before the mishap. “It’s better than it was in training and whoever they got working on the ice, kudos, because they are doing Olympic level work on the track. It is fast and it’s fun.”
U.S. skeleton racer Noelle Pikus-Pace was struck in 2005 by a bobsled in the outrun of a track in Canada. Her leg was shattered and she had to miss the 2006 Turin Olympics.