Skeleton slider hits wayward broom in World Cup run

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Katie Tannenbaum, a skeleton slider from the U.S. Virgin Islands, struck a broom at high speed in a World Cup run in Igls, Austria, on Friday.

Tannenbaum’s helmet collided with the broom while she was going between 50 and 60 miles per hour, but she said afterward that she was OK, according to her social media.

She was 30 seconds into a 58-second run. Brooms are used to sweep snow off tracks, but race officials said this particular broom was blown into the track by the wind, according to Tannenbaum’s Facebook.

“I’ll save you all the sweeping puns,” was posted on Tannenbaum’s Facebook. “My helmet and mouth guard did their jobs wonderfully. My new white helmet has a tiny broom colored scratch for me to remember this day by (how could I forget?). And my jaw is a little tight.

“My sled, however, took on some serious damage. The carbon fiber pod that covers the underside of my sled has a big chunk missing and a crack running down the front-center. It’s pricey and will take a while to get a replacement, but it’s fixable.”

It wasn’t the first time a skeleton slider hit a broom during a run in Igls. In 2015, Canadian Jane Channell was struck in the left shoulder by a broom that slipped out of a track worker’s hands at a World Cup event.

“Because I had witnessed her experience, I knew exactly what was happening as it happened,” was posted on Tannenbaum’s Facebook. “It’s shocking that this experience wasn’t shocking.”

Tannenbaum’s run ended up not counting as the entire heat was annulled due to wind gusts causing snowdrifts on the track.

She came back for the second run and finished in 56.24 seconds for 20th place of 20 starters.

“Due to the damage to my sled I thought about pulling out of the race,” was posted on Tannenbaum’s Facebook. “However, the damage wasn’t so bad that it would have been dangerous to slide. My general philosophy is that (when there’s no threat of harming yourself or others) you should always finish the race. Additionally, skeleton athletes must compete in a certain number of international races each year to gain and remain qualified for the various competition tours. Due to Covid, there are less races being held this year, and we are under constant threat of having races or entire tours cancelled. So in this unusual year it’s especially important that I take part in races when I can.”

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