Roller skating

Roller skating

Roller skating is the traveling on smooth terrain with roller skates. It is a form of recreation as well as a sport, and can also be a form of transportation. Skates generally come in two basic varieties: roller skates and inline skates or blades, though some have experimented with a single-wheeled "quintessence skate" or other variations on the basic skate design.


* 1743: First recorded use of roller skates, in a London stage performance. The inventor of this skate is lost to history.
* 1760: First recorded skate invention, by John-Joseph Merlin, who demonstrated a primitive inline skate with metal wheels.
* 1819: First patented roller skate design, in France by M. Petitbled. These early skates were similar to today's inline skates, but they were not very maneuverable; it was very difficult with these skates to do anything but move in a straight line and perhaps make wide sweeping turns.
* Rest of the 19th century: inventors continued to work on improving skate design.
* 1863: The four-wheeled turning roller skate, or quad skate, with four wheels set in two side-by-side pairs, was first designed, in New York City by James Leonard Plimpton in an attempt to improve upon previous designs, The skate contained a pivoting action using a rubber cushion that allowed the skater to skate a curve just by leaning to one side. It was a huge success, so much that the first public skating rink was opened in 1866 in Newport, Rhode Island with the support of Plimpton. The design of the quad skate allowed easier turns and maneuverability, and the quad skate came to dominate the industry for more than a century.
*1876: William Brown in Birmingham, England patented a design for the wheels of roller skates. Brown's design embodied his effort to keep the two bearing surfaces of an axle, fixed and moving, apart. Bown worked closely with Joseph Henry Hughes, who drew up the patent for a ball or roller bearing race for bicycle and carriage wheels in 1877. Hughes' patent included all the elements of an adjustable system. These two men are thus responsible for modern day roller skate and skateboard wheels, as well as the ball bearing race inclusion in velocipedes -- later to become motorbikes and automobiles. This was arguably, the most important advance in the realistic use of roller skates as a pleasurable pastime.
*1876: The toe stop was first patented. This provided skaters with the ability to stop promptly upon tipping the skate onto the toe. Toe stops are still used today on most quad skates and on some types of inline skates.
*1880s: Roller skates were being mass produced in America from then. This was the sport's first of several boom periods. Micajah C. Henley of Richmond, Indiana produced thousands of skates every week during peak sales. Henley skates were the first skate with adjustable tension via a screw, the ancestor of the kingbolt mechanism on modern quad skates.
*1884: Levant M. Richardson received a patent for the use of steel ball bearings in skate wheels to reduce friction, allowing skaters to increase speed with minimum effort.
*1898: Richardson started the Richardson Ball Bearing and Skate Company, which provided skates to most professional skate racers of the time, including Harley Davidson (no relation to the Harley-Davidson motorcycle brand). (Turner and Zaidman, 1997).
*:The design of the quad skate has remained essentially unchanged since then, and remained as the dominant roller skate design until nearly the end of the 20th century. The quad skate has begun to make a comeback recently due to the popularity of roller derby and jam skating.
*1979: Scott Olson and Brennan Olson of Minneapolis, Minnesota came across a pair of inline skates created in the 1960s by the Chicago Roller Skate Company and, seeing the potential for off-ice hockey training, set about redesigning the skates using modern materials and attaching ice hockey boots. A few years later Scott Olson began heavily promoting the skates and launched the company Rollerblade, Inc..

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Rollerblade-branded skates became so successful that they inspired many other companies to create similar inline skates, and the inline design became more popular than the traditional quads. The Rollerblade skates became synonymous in the minds of many with "inline skates" and skating, so much so that many people came to call any form of skating "Rollerblading," thus becoming a genericized trademark.

For much of the 1980s and into the 1990s, inline skate models typically sold for general public use employed a hard plastic boot, similar to ski boots. In or about 1995, "soft boot" designs were introduced to the market, primarily by the sporting goods firm K2 Inc., and promoted for use as fitness skates. Other companies quickly followed, and by the early 2000s the use of hard shell skates became primarily limited to the aggressive skating discipline.

The single-wheel "quintessence skate" [] was made in 1988 by Miyshael F. Gailson of Caples Lake Resort, California, for the purpose of cross-country ski skating and telemark skiing training. Other skate designs have been experimented with over the years, including two wheeled (heel and toe) inline skates, but the vast majority of skates on the market today are either quad or standard inline design.

Artistic roller skating

Artistic roller skating is a sport which consists of a number of events. These are usually accomplished on quad skates, but inline skates may be used for some events. Various flights of events are organized by age and ability/experience. In the US, local competitions lead to 9 regional competitions which lead to the National Championships and World Championships.

2008 US National Championships will be in Lincoln, NE.2008 World Championships will be held in China

See [] for more information.


Skaters skate around a series of circles to show control and accuracy.

[American Roller Skate Dancing - Part I - Bronze and Silver Dances; edition X. An official USAC/RS Publication: 1980. page 9.]


Skaters, either solo or a team of two, dance with standardized choreography to music. They are judged on their adherence to the choreography, skill, and style.

Skaters are judged by the accuracy of steps that they skate when performing a particular dance. In addition to being judged on their edges and turns, skaters must carry themselves in an elegant manner while paying careful attention to the rhythm and timing of the music.


An individual event where creativity is emphasized. Includes jumps, spins and choreographed movements to music (no vocals).

Precision teams

A team of skaters (usually counted in multiples of 4) creates various patterns and movements to music. Often used elements include skating in a line, skating in a box, 'splicing' (subgroups skating towards each other such that they do not contact each other), and skating in a circle. The team is judged on its choreography and the ability to skate together precisely.


A single skater or a pair of skaters present routines to music. They are judged on skating ability and creativity. Jumps are expected in these events.

Roller hockey (Quad)

Roller Hockey (Quad) is a variation of roller hockey. Roller Hockey is the overarching name for a rollersport that has existed long before inline skates were invented. Roller Hockey has been played on quad skates, in sixty countries worldwide and so has many names worldwide. Sometimes the sport is called Quad Hockey, Hóquei em Patins (PT), Rolhockey (NL), International Style Ball hockey, Rink Hockey (FR), Hockey Su Pista (IT), Hoquei sobre Patins (CA), Hockey sobre Patines (ES), Rulleskøjtehockey (DA), Rullbandy (S), Rulluisuhoki (ET) and Hardball hockey (US), depending on which region of the world it is played. Roller hockey at the 1992 Summer Olympics was a demonstration rollersport in the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona.

Inline skating

Inline skates usually have 4 or 5 wheels, arranged in a single line. Most commonly, if they have a stop, it is a heel stop. Inline skating is often done on the road, sidewalk, various street furnishings like fences and steps, and on special tracks and areas. Some inline skaters compete in artistic skating events, though quads are still more typical for that use. Inline skates for artistic use tend to be designed more as an analog of the ice skate or artistic quad skate design, with a toe stop and rockered wheels.

Aggressive skating

In addition to speed, fitness, artistic, or recreational skating, some skaters prefer aggressive skating. Aggressive skating is also often referred to by participants as rollerblading, blading or rolling and includes a variety of grinds, airs, slides and other advanced skating maneuvers. It also includes "vert", "park" and "street skating" which refer to tricks performed on almost any obstacle. Street skating specifically refers to tricks performed on non-allocated obstacles ("i.e." not skate parks). There are three major types of aggressive inline skates: hard boots, soft boots, and skeletal skates (e.g Xsjado, pronounced "shadow"). Hard boots are very rigid and often heavy compared to speed skates and recreational skates. Soft boots offer more flexibility than hard boots, but are normally just as heavy.

Aggressive inline skates could also be fitted with small hard rubber or plastic wheels, used in place of the two middle wheels. These small wheels or "anti-rockers" are used to help lock onto a ledge or rail when performing. Anti rockers enable the skater attempting the trick to stay on a rail for a longer time without the frames of the skates slipping off the ledge.

Aggressive inline saw a sharp decline in the late 1990s, but during 2000-2003 found a major resurgence for the sport when street skating became increasingly popular. At this time professional skaters including Brian Shima, Jeff Stockwell, Chris Haffey, Aaron Feinberg, and Alex Broskow among others were pushing unseen boundaries in performing seemingly impossible and dangerous stunts in mostly street settings. In addition, the IMYTA (I Match Your Trick Association) provided a venue for skaters to demonstrate these tricks. The IMYTA held contests at a street location and the skaters would have to match each trick in the first round of skating or be eliminated. The progression continued with the pool of skaters dwindling and more dangerous and difficult tricks would then be performed and a winner declared. Competitions such as the IMYTA encouraged skaters from many different countries to set up their own local real street competitions.

Tricks for aggressive inline

Free skating

A skating category that lies somewhere between aggressive and recreational skating, free skating, also known as urban skating or free riding, includes many tricks such as jumps, slides, and grinds. The emphasis of free skating is getting from A to B by the fastest possible route, by skating quickly through city streets and negotiating all obstacles. The boots on skates suitable for free skating tend to be more rigid for better leg support, like the aggressive skate, whilst the wheels tend to be rather big, like those found on recreational skates, and the frames short, like those found on hockey skates.

lalom skating

There are two types of freestyle slalom skating, freestyle slalom and speed slalom, both of which involve navigating a series of cones placed on the ground.

lide skating

This is a skating category where skaters do "slides". "Sliding" is often done on smooth flat surfaces. It involves placing one or both feet in perpendicular direction to which they are currently moving. E.g. skater is moving North, however, one or both of his feet may be facing East or West, taking reference from the direction from which the heel to the toes face for the feet direction. Consequently, the skater slows down. However, the rate at which he or she slows down largely depends on how much pressure is being applied to the foot/feet that are "sliding". It is a form of stylistic skating where attention is paid to the footwork. There are fewer slides than tricks in "sliding" compared to aggressive skating but they often share the same names as they are done similarly to grinds in aggressive skating.

Group skating

Among skaters not committed to a particular discipline, a popular social activity is the "group skate" or street skate, in which large groups of skaters regularly meet to skate together, usually on city streets. Although such touring existed among quad roller skate clubs in the 1970s and 1980s, it made the jump to inline skates in 1990 with groups in large cities throughout the United States. In some cases, hundreds of skaters would regularly participate, resembling a rolling party. In the late 1990s, the group skate phenomenon spread to Europe and east Asia. The weekly Friday night skate in Paris, France (called [ Pari Roller] ) is believed to be one of the largest repeating group skates in the world. At times, it has had as many as 35,000 skaters participating on a single night. The Sunday Skate Night in Berlin also attracts over 10,000 skaters during the summer, and Munich, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Buenos Aires, London, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and Tokyo host other popular events. Charity skates in Paris have attracted 50,000 participants (the yearly Paris-Versailles skate).

kating federations

In the United States, the controlling organization is USA Roller Sports, headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska, also home of the National Roller Skating Museum. Nationals are held each summer with skaters required to qualify through regional competitions.

Other groups include:
* International Freestyle Skating Association (IFSA) []
* Federation Internationale de Roller-Skating, the international organization for competitive roller sports
* British Federation of Roller Skating
* Canadian Skating Association
* International Inline Stunt Federation (IISF) [] , an international organization devoted to the growth and promotion of street and vert inline skating.

Popular culture

The folk singer Melanie (Melanie Safka) wrote a song about quad skates called Brand New Key.


* [ National Museum of Roller Skating: Homework Page]

ee also

*Roller Derby
*Human-powered transport
*Inline skates
*Soap shoes
*Road skating
*Inline speed skating
*Starlight Express

External links

* [ SkateLog Forum] General Skating Forums
* [ Be-Mag - The only global print magazine. One of the largest online rollerblading communities]
* [ Aggressive skating]
* [ Roller Skating in India]
* [ Newspaper for rollerblading]
* [ Free skating and slalom in Russia]
* [ Belgium skating community]
* [ Aggressive Inline Skating Association DISASTER - Bulgaria]
* [ Aggressive Inline Skating Association ROOTS - Bulgaria]
* [ Skate Association Germany]
* []

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