According to Russian officials, 23-year-old Olympic skicross racer Maria Komissarova broke and dislocated her spine during training, and underwent emergency surgery in a hospital near the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.
The accident occurred near the top of a 1,200-meter course, said Jenny Wiedeke, a spokesperson for the International Ski Federation. Komissarova fell after going off the third jump and was immediately taken by sled to the medical services tent, and then to the hospital.
“During one of her training runs, Maria injured her spine,” team head of press Mikhail Verzhba said. “It is a serious injury.”
Verzhba added, “The operation is taking place as we speak. Difficult operations take time and it certainly will not finish in the next two to three hours. I do not want to make any conclusions concerning Maria’s career until the operation is completed.”
IOC President Thomas Bach said that the accident had nothing to do with the course’s conditions, adding that the sport will always come with “a certain risk.”
“We feel very sorry for the athlete. We are in contact with the hospital. What we know is that she is under surgery right now,” Bach said. “We hope that the operation will be successful and that she will be back.”
Updated — 2:15 p.m. ET: Komissarova underwent a successful 6.5 hour operation on her fractured spine on Saturday, the Associated Press reports.
Russian freestyle ski federation spokesman Mikhail Verzeba said Komissarova fractured the 12th dorsal vertebrae in her lower-middle back.
“The operation is over … it’s been successful,” said Verzeba.