Skater critically ill after fall during Olympic ceremony rehearsal

8 January 2020, 22:04

Switzerland 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games
Switzerland 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games. Picture: PA

Swiss police said the woman was being hoisted by a cable attached to the ceiling of a stadium in Lausanne when she lost her balance and fell.

A female skater has been critically injured after falling to the ice from about five metres during a rehearsal for the opening ceremony of the Youth Winter Olympics in Switzerland.

The 35-year-old Russian’s life is in danger, police in the canton of Vaud said. An investigation into Tuesday’s incident is being led by police in the city of Lausanne.

Police said the woman was being hoisted by a cable attached to the ceiling of the main ice hockey stadium in Lausanne when she lost her balance and fell.

The inquiry must try to establish “the reasons, the circumstances and possible responsibilities in this accident”, police said.

Switzerland IOC
International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach has expressed his sympathies (Jean-Christophe Bott/Keystone via AP)

The International Olympic Committee said in a statement that a female performing artist was evacuated for treatment at a hospital in Lausanne.

“We are very saddened by this incident and we have been following closely all the developments,” IOC president Thomas Bach said at a launch event for the young athletes.

Some “slight changes” will be made to the opening ceremony show, Lausanne 2020 organising committee president Virginie Faivre said.

“We have been all really very touched about what happened and we want to send our thoughts to her and her family,” Ms Faivre said.

The university hospital where the skater is being treated, known locally by its acronym CHUV, is “one of the top-10 hospitals” in the world, said Ms Faivre, a former world champion freestyle skier.

The two-week games open on Thursday with a ceremony at the new arena, which will also host games at the men’s hockey world championships in May.

By Press Association

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