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Skater badly injured in Olympic ceremony rehearsal accident

January 8, 2020 GMT
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Young people pose behind the Olympic Rings during the Torch Tour ahead of the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games, front of the Olympic House, in Lausanne, Switzerland, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020. The 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games take place in Lausanne from Jan. 9 to Jan. 22, 2020. (Jean-Christophe Bott/Keystone via AP)
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Young people pose behind the Olympic Rings during the Torch Tour ahead of the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games, front of the Olympic House, in Lausanne, Switzerland, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020. The 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games take place in Lausanne from Jan. 9 to Jan. 22, 2020. (Jean-Christophe Bott/Keystone via AP)

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — A female skater was severely injured after falling to the ice from about five meters (16 feet) during a rehearsal for the opening ceremony of the Youth Winter Olympics in Lausanne, police said Wednesday.

The 35-year-old Russian woman’s life is in danger, police in the canton (state) 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 hockey stadium in Lausanne. The skater suddenly lost balance and fell.

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

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.

“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.

Some “slight changes” will be made to the opening ceremony show, Lausanne 2020 organizing 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,” 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 Faivre, a former world champion freestyle skier.

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.

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