Olympic track worker injured when hit by bobsled

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.

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia — A forerunner struck a track worker just before the start of men’s two-man bobsled training Thursday at Sanki Sliding Center.

Forerunners slide down the track before training or competition begins.

The accident occurred near the finish in the braking area. A bobsled hit an icemaker on the track, the Sochi organizing committee said in a statement. A warning signal was sounded before the sled came down, and officials were looking into why the icemaker was still on the track.

The first heats of women’s skeleton ended about 90 minutes prior to the accident.

The worker, whose identity was not released, was being treated at a hospital.

“The worker is undergoing surgery for two open fractures in his legs,” said IOC President Thomas Bach, who added that the worker was conscious when he arrived at the hospital.

“We’re pretty relieved,” Bach said. “There is no danger for life.”.

Accidents involving pedestrians on a bobsled track are not common but not unheard of either. In October of 2005, American skeleton racer Noelle Pikus-Pace was standing at the very end of the track in Calgary when an out-of-control bobsled barreled into her. Pikus-Pace, who is in second place midway through the skeleton competition here, sustained a broken right leg and the accident derailed her chance to make the 2006 Torino Olympics.

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During breaks in training and competition, a track announcer normally says, “Sled on the tracks,” to alert everyone that a sled will be descending.

The start of training for two-man bobsled was delayed.

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