Sports Law • Risk Management

July 11, 2010: Lance Armstrong Inspires Preparation for Safety Challenges in Sport?

Today, Lance Armstrong’s hopes of winning an eighth Tour de France victory were destroyed after being involved in 3 crashes that delayed his climb up to the Morzine Avoriz ski resort. Fortunately, Team Radio Shack still has Levi Leipheimer in the mix. Lance can now support his teammate in his effort to win.

What risk management lessons can we learn from Lance’s bad luck? Certainly, Lance could not control the field and the crashes that blocked his way. He has proven himself as one of the most talented cyclist in the history of the sport and so it would not be reasonable to criticize his bike handling skills.

Lance’s misfortune illustrates the need for individuals and teams in any sport to practice how to respond to safety challenges. As you could see, Team Radio Shack was skilled at addressing the situation quickly by providing Lance a replacement bike and assessing and bandaging his wounds. Lance was also skilled at wasting little time in moving away from the accidents and continuing on his quest up the mountain.

What “fire drills” can you or your team practice so that a safety challenge does not ruin your chances of a win? The first step is to brain storm what could possibly happen during a competition. Secondly, decide what reactions should be made in response to possible challenges that will keep the individuals safe. Thirdly, practice the situations and reactions so that you and your team will be able to successfully perform when the circumstance arises.