Roller skating is the traveling on surfaces with roller skates. It is a form of recreational activity as well as a sport, and can also be a form of transportation. Skates generally come in three basic varieties: quad roller skates, inline skates or blades and tri-skates, though some have experimented with a single-wheeled "quintessence skate" or other variations on the basic skate design. In America, this hobby was most popular, first between 1935 and the early 1960s and then in the 1970s, when polyurethane wheels were created and "Disco" oriented roller rinks were the rage and then again in the 1990s when in-line outdoor roller skating, thanks to the improvement made to inline roller skates in 1981 by Scott Olson, took hold.
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 making it 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 development of hard shell skates and skeletons became primarily limited to the Aggressive inline skating discipline and other specialized designs.
The single-wheel "quintessence skate" was made in 1988 by Miyshael F. Gailson of Caples Lake Resort, California, for the purpose of cross-country skate skiing and telemark skiing training. Other experimental skate designs the years have included two wheeled (heel and toe) inline skate frames 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 led to the National Championships and World Championships.
A prescribed movement symmetrically composed of at least two circles, but not more than three circles, involving primary, or primary and secondary movements, with or without turns. Figures are skated on circles, which have been inscribed on the skating surface.
In competition skaters can enter more than one event;
Solo Dance; solo dance a competition starts at tiny tot and goes up to golden, for a test it starts with bronze and goes up to gold. You do not have to take tests anymore to skate in harder categories, you must have a couple of tests once you get to a certain event, though. In competition, these dances are set patterns and the judges give you marks for good edges, how neat they look and how well they do turns, etc.
Team Dance; this is where two people skate together doing the set dances. Most people skate with a partner the same ability and age.
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.
Freestyle roller dancing is a style of physical movement, usually done to music, that isn’t choreographed or planned ahead of time. It occurs in many genres, including those where people dance with partners. By definition, this kind of dance is never the same from performance to performance, although it can be done formally and informally, sometimes using some sparse choreography as a very loose outline for the improvisation.
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.
Singles and pairs
A single skater or a pair of skaters present routines to music. They are judged on skating ability and creativity. Jumps, spins and turns are expected in these events. Sometimes with a pair or couple skaters slow music will play, and usually it is two songs.
Speed skating originally started on traditional roller skates. The speed skating season began in fall and continued through spring leading up to a state tournament. Placing in the top three places at a state tournament would qualify skaters for a regional tournament. The top three places at regional tournaments then went on to compete at a national tournament. Skaters could qualify as individuals or as part of a two-person or four-person (relay) team. Qualification at regional events could warrant an invite to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO for a one-week training session on their outdoor velodrome. Inline speed skating is a competitive non-contact sport played on inline skates. Variants include indoor, track and road racing, with many different grades of skaters, so the whole family can compete.
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. One such group is the San Francisco Midnight Rollers. In 1989 the small 15-20 group that became the Midnight Rollers explored the closed doubIe-decker Embarcadero Freeway after the Loma-Prieta earthquake until it was torn down. At which point the new route was created settling on Friday nights at 9 pm from the San Francisco Ferry Building circling 12 miles around the city back at midnight to the start. 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 the boulevards of Paris, on a single night. The Sunday Skate Night in Berlin also attracts over 10,000 skaters during the summer, and Copenhagen, 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). The current Official Guinness World Record holder is Nightskating Warszawa (Poland) in number of 4013 participants from 19th of June 2014, but their real record from 25th April 2015 is 7303 participants and over 38 000 skaters total in 10 events in season 2015.
Aggressive inline skating is trick-based skating. This is where the individual performs tricks using a slightly different skate to normal. The skate has a grind block in between two wheels and the various companies have designed the boots to take these extra strains. Also the wheels have a flat large contact surface for grip.
Aggressive inline can either take place at a skate park or on the street. Typically predominantly grinds but also air tricks such as spins and flips.
Roller hockey (quad)
Roller hockey is the overarching name for a rollersport that existed long before inline skates were invented. Roller hockey has been played on quad skates in many countries worldwide and so has many names. Roller hockey at the 1992 Summer Olympics was a demonstration rollersport in the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona.
In the United States, the controlling organization is USA Roller Sports, headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska, also home of the National Museum of Roller Skating. Nationals are held each summer with skaters required to qualify through state and regional competitions.
Roller derby is a team sport played on roller skates on an oval track. Originally a trademarked product developed out of speed skating demonstrations, the sport is currently experiencing a revival as a grass-roots-driven 5-a-side sport played mainly by women. Most roller derby leagues adopt the rules and guidelines set by the Women's Flat Track Derby Association or its male counterpart, Men's Roller Derby Association, but there are leagues that play on a banked track, as the sport was originally from c.1933-1998.
Other groups include:
In popular culture
Roller skating, like skateboarding, has created a number of spin-off sports and sports devices. In addition to rollerblades/inline skates, there have also been: