Olympic Worker Struck by Bobsled in Track

He breaks both legs, say IOC officials

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Feb 13, 2014 9:30 AM CST

(Newser) – An Olympic track worker who was struck by a bobsled today broke both legs and may have a concussion, according to IOC officials. 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 two-man bobsled training. "We still do not know why he was in this zone and exactly what happened," says IOC President Thomas Bach. "This zone" apparently refers to an area just before the finish line, which would suggest that the sled likely had not yet started to brake.

Forerunning sleds are used before training and competition sessions to assess track conditions and make sure the facility is safe for racing. The sled that struck him was the second "forerunner" used before the training session. "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. 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. 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," US skeleton racer Katie Uhlaender said a few hours before the accident.

Track workers pick up debris where a worker was hit by a forerunner bobsled just before the men's two-man bobsled training at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.
Track workers pick up debris where a worker was hit by a forerunner bobsled just before the men's two-man bobsled training at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.   (Dita Alangkara)
A track worker is loaded into an ambulance after he was injured when a forerunner bobsled hit him just before the start of the men's two-man bobsled training at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.
A track worker is loaded into an ambulance after he was injured when a forerunner bobsled hit him just before the start of the men's two-man bobsled training at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb....   (Charlie Riedel)
A track worker is loaded into an ambulance after he was injured when a forerunner bobsled hit him just before the start of the men's two-man bobsled training at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.
A track worker is loaded into an ambulance after he was injured when a forerunner bobsled hit him just before the start of the men's two-man bobsled training at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb....   (Charlie Riedel)
A track worker repairs some lights that were damaged after a worker was hit by a forerunner bobsled just before the men's two-man bobsled training at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.
A track worker repairs some lights that were damaged after a worker was hit by a forerunner bobsled just before the men's two-man bobsled training at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014,...   (Dita Alangkara)
The two-man team from the Netherlands NED-1, piloted by Edwin van Calker, speed down the track during the men's two-man bobsled training at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014.
The two-man team from the Netherlands NED-1, piloted by Edwin van Calker, speed down the track during the men's two-man bobsled training at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014.   (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
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