Keeping with the Pan/Parapan American Games theme this week, two events that some might not know are a part of the games are Roller Speed Skating and Roller Figure Skating. Yes, you read that right! Peter Doucet and Morgane Echardour are two of Canada’s National Roller Speed Skating Champions and both attended the “Think Tank” session on April 24th.
There are four main racing circuits used in roller/ inline speed skating.
- Open road - either in a big loop or point-to-point racing usually features outdoor and longer (10+ km distances) on streets.
- Road - track racing on a track from 400 – 1000 metres, in Canada usually on outdoor 400-metre school tracks and at world championships on tracks with an asymmetrical configuration.
- Track - racing usually on smaller outdoor tracks about 200-metres long. In some countries, specially designed outdoor banked tracks are used as well – outdoor speed skating is the International form of the sport
- Indoor - racing on a 100-metre track- usually in a gymnasium or a roller skating facility.
Unlike ice speed skating, there are no “lanes” in roller speed races. All races begin with a standing start, and the number of competitors on the line for each race or heat varies, depending on the size of the track and the type of race being skated. Each participant is timed individually, with the fastest time winning the race as his/her front wheels cross the finish line.
Unlike Roller Speed Skating Roller Figure Skating is done on traditional roller skates. Skaters enter artistic events in one or more categories which include Figures, Free Skating, Dance, and Pairs, just like their counterparts on ice.
Roller Sports Canada is the governing body for the sport and when you visit their website you will notice that another roller sport is included – Roller Derby. It may not be part of the Pan/Parapan American Games, or any games for that matter, but it is a popular and fast growing sport especially among 20 something women. With slogans like “Real Women, Real Hits, Real Heart” and competition entitled Beast of the East and Quad City Chaos you can only imagine the mayhem and entertainment that pursues. These girls make NHL hockey players look like wimps and with the popularity of the film Whip It one can only imagine how this sport will grow. So dust of those roller skates from the 1970s and give it a try.