Authorities in Switzerland have launched a criminal investigation after a female Russian skater was left in life-threatening condition following a fall on Tuesday during rehearsals for the opening ceremony of Winter Youth Olympic Games.
The 35-year-old Russian skater, who was not named and lives in Germany, was being hoisted at about 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday by a cable attached to the ceiling of the main hockey stadium in Lausanne, according to police in the canton (state) of Vaud. The skater suddenly lost balance, falling about 16 feet onto the ice and was “seriously injured.”
“Her life is in danger,” police stated.
Authorities said the public prosecutor’s office was launching an investigation, which will be led by police in the city of Lausanne.
The 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games take place in Lausanne from Jan. 9 to Jan. 22, 2020. (Jean-Christophe Bott/Keystone via AP)
The probe must try to establish “the reasons, the circumstances and possible responsibilities in this accident,” police said in a news release.
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, according to Lausanne 2020 organizing committee president Virginie Faivre, a former world champion freestyle skier.
“We have been all really very touched about what happened and we want to send our thoughts to her and her family,” Faivre told the Associated Press.
Faivre said that some “slight changes” will be made to the opening ceremony show on Thursday.
The International Olympic Committee said in a statement a female performing artist was evacuated for treatment at a hospital in Lausanne, without detailing the incident. The Lausanne 2020 organizing committee and the IOC said they “wish the performer a fast and full recovery.”
“We are very saddened by this incident and we have been following closely all the developments,” IOC President Thoms Bach said Wednesday at a launch event for the young athletes.
The two-week games open Thursday with a ceremony at the new arena, which will also host games at the men’s hockey world championships in May.
In December, Russian athletes were banned from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and other major sporting events because of drug test tampering. The World Anti-Doping Agency placed the sanctions on the country after Russian authorities tampered with a Moscow laboratory database.
The Russian anti-doping agency, known as RUSADA, said that it will appeal the four-year Olympic ban.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.