Ice skater fighting for life after horror Youth Olympics accident

A female skater has been critically injured after falling five metres onto the ice during a rehearsal for the opening ceremony of the Youth Winter Olympics in Lausanne.

Police said the 35-year-old Russian woman is fighting for life as an investigation is launched into the incident.

The woman was being hoisted by a cable attached to the ceiling of the main hockey stadium in the Swiss city before she 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 Thomas Bach said Wednesday at a launch event for the young athletes.

IOC president Thomas Bach confirms news of the horror accident. Pic: AAP

"The IOC and Lausanne 2020 wish the performer a fast and full recovery," the Olympic body said.

Some "slight changes" will be made to the opening ceremony show, Lausanne 2020 organising 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.

With agencies