For access to all of our training, gear, and race coverage, plus exclusive training plans, FinisherPix photos, event discounts, and GPS apps, sign up for Outside+.
American Andrew Starykowicz has revealed that he spent time in an Abu Dhabi prison following an incident at the 2012 Abu Dhabi International Triathlon back on March 3. Starykowicz collided with a volunteer while cycling during the race.
“During the bike section of the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon, an incident occurred when a professional competitor (#5 Andrew Starykowicz from the United States) accidentally collided with a female volunteer (Carly Williams of Great Britain) at an aid station (Aid Station 4 close to the Mina junction),” Abu Dhabi race organizers said in a statement to Triathlete.com a few days after the incident. “An event doctor and ambulance were present at the Aid Station at the time and Carly received immediate medical assistance.”
According to Starykowicz and the statement from the race, he stopped to make sure Williams was receiving medical attention and then decided to continue on.
“Following the collision, Andrew carried on with his race when he realized that Carly was being tended to by the event doctor and ambulance present,” the statement continued. “However, Andrew had suffered a shoulder injury and subsequently withdrew upon reaching the triathlon start/finish area. Andrew received medical attention at that time and at Sheikh Khalifa Hospital.”
Starykowicz tells a similar story in a recent blogpost.
“Late into Abu Dhabi Triathlon I had built a sizable lead when an aid station volunteer darted across the road in front of me to collect bottles,” Starykowicz wrote. “We made heavy contact that sent both of us to the hospital. I attempted to finish, but had to withdraw from the race holding a commanding lead in T2.”
According to reports, Williams was initially in critical condition and spent six weeks in intensive care following the collision.
In the days after the race, Starykowicz’s blog was taken down and he did not respond to media inquiries. Starykowicz says he was put in prison.
“The next day I was brought to the police station for questioning and thrown in prison for the ‘hit and run’ incident during the race,” he wrote on his blog. “Over the next month I would go in front of the prosecutor several times trying to get out of the Emirates and each time he would request something different. During this time I was unable to get adequate medical attention to fix my injuries. Finally, a ‘deal’ was made that if I posted a substantial amount of money for a blood money bond I could get my passport and leave the country. I took out a loan, had the money wired over to Abu Dhabi, and was on the next plane home.”
He also writes that the injuries he sustained during the accident were not treated during his time in Abu Dhabi.
“Since returning home I learned that I had a broken collar bone, serious nerve damage and pushed the head of my right humerus through the labrum which required surgery,” he said.
Starykowicz claims that the bond money he paid has yet to be returned.
“The prosecutor claimed that he would release the blood money bond when the volunteer left the hospital,” he wrote. “Yet, the prosecutor continues to change the process and has refused to release my bond.”
We have reached out to race organizers for a statement regarding the situation. Check back to Triathlete.com as we continue to follow this story.