It’s doubtful anyone who watched the dizzying backflip double full landed by 2010 Winter Olympic Freestyle Moguls champion Alexandre Bilodeau, would consider the contest among the safer events held at the Games, but that’s exactly the suggestion of a recent British study.
In a new report published by the British Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers argue that freestyle moguls, along with biathlon, cross country skiing, ski jumping, luge, curling, and speed skating were among the safest Winter Olympic sports.
Researchers reviewed the records of 82 national team doctors that looked after the 2567 athletes competing in the games and found some surprising results. Data shows that doctors treated 287 injuries and 185 illnesses over the duration of the Games. Another way to look at the study: 10 percent of athletes were either sick or injured at some point in Vancouver.
According to the report, the events with the highest rates of injury included bobsled, ice hockey, short track speed skating, alpine skiing, skier cross, and snowboard cross.
Also worth noting is the timing of the injuries; the majority of injuries were sustained during training. Approximately 75 percent of the injuries for athletes in snowboarding, skier cross, short track speed skating, figure skating, skeleton and biathlon occurred during training sessions. Diving deeper into the study, nearly 1/4 of the athletes treated for injuries were unable to compete.
The IOC-funded project offers the first in-depth study of injuries sustained at a Winter Olympics. By contrast, similar research conducted using 2008 Summer Olympic Games data, showed only 9 percent of athletes reported injuries.