Sochi track worker struck with sled, suffers broken legs

A worker suffered two broken legs during a bobsledding accident on Thursday. (USATSI)

One Sochi track worker was hit by a bobsleigh at the Sanki Sliding Center on Thursday and suffered two broken legs, according to President of the IOC Thomas Bach.

The official training for the two-man bobsleigh event was delayed about half an hour as the worker was tended to and eventually taken to a hospital. The track worker was reportedly hit by the “forerunner,” which runs the track ahead of the competitors to assess the course’s conditions.

“A worker was struck in the run-off area beyond the finish but we are not sure yet how it happened,” Bach told Reuters. Workers are typically alerted through a PA system when there is a sled heading down the track. 

Sochi officials who saw video of the accident said that three men were working near the finish line and that two of them hustled away as the sled approached. The last man, who was reportedly using a motorized air blower, according to the AP, simply may not have heard any announcement. 

"According to standard procedures, a warning signal was given ahead of the forerunners' bob beginning its run on the track," said a statement from event organizers, released hours after the accident. "The reason's for the icemaker's presence on the track after the warning signal are currently being determined." 

There was some speculation that the worker may have been concussed after the crash, but the IOC denied that. 

“According to our information he has suffered two compound fractures in the legs but he arrived conscious at the hospital,” Bach said.  

The luge team relay event was still scheduled to make its Olympic debut on Thursday. 

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