Behind The ScenesX Games

Safety is a top priority for X Games

The Foam X is a sign of safety at the X Games (Photo credit: Robert Bee)
The ‘X’ is awarded ESPN staffers, vendors and contractors who help make safety improvements at X Games venues. (Photo credit: Robert Bee)

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MUNICH, Germany — During the telecasts of X Games Munich, which concluded Sunday, you might have seen workers sporting a two-inch by two-inch red or blue foam “X” on their radios, knapsacks or jacket zippers and wondered, “What’s that?”

The foam “X” — known as the “Safety All-Star X” — is a token of recognition from ESPN’s Safety and Sustainability team: Recipients have helped keep the X Games safe for spectators, athletes and staff.

“We were looking for a way to strengthen our safety program and put safety at the top of everyone’s minds,” said ESPN Director, Safety and Sustainability, Robert Bee. “A staffer came up with this ‘Safety All-Star Program’ as a way of honoring X Games workers for doing the right thing, something safe.”

About 100 Safety All-Star X’s are awarded to vendors, contractors, and ESPN staffers during each X Games (blue for Winter X, red for Summer X).

Between two and four Safety and Sustainability team members are at every X Games. The Safety and Sustainability Department is responsible for the overall safety of the X Games, including insuring every structure is properly built, courses are as safe as possible, an emergency response plan and medical program are in place, crowd control and accident investigation.

“As Safety staff members walk around the X Games venue and see someone doing something safe, we’ll walk up and recognize them,” Bee said. “We attend the daily Operations meeting with the event leadership team (40 or more people) each night, during which we announce the winners of that day’s Safety All-Star X. We talk about what the person did to make the X Games safer. Everyone applauds. It’s a great way to get people talking about safety.”

For example, at the X Games Barcelona event, ESPN Global X Games staffer Jeff Geremia was recognized for reporting a safety hazard with an entrance gate.

“It really resonated in Brazil where everyone wanted to know how to get an X,” Bee said. “We plan to continue this program. It’s a very inexpensive way to recognize good safety practices.”

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