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News About Skating Governing Bodies and Organizations

USOC Bites the Hand That Feeds It! - Apparently, it's true: No good deed shall go unpunished. Just as inline skaters prepare to make their greatest contribution to the Olympic Games, the U.S. Olympic Committee cuts their funding. ... How's that for gratitude! (Go to the Planet story.) (Jan. 11, 2006)

Skate Couple Dies in South African Bus Crash - Willem van Heerden and his wife, Madelaine Joyce, died Monday in the crash of a tour bus in South Africa. The couple served as president and secretary of Roller Sports South Africa. One of the bus drivers was also killed. The bus was filled with skaters headed to Pretoria. The driver reportedly lost control of the bus after a tire burst. The bus went over an embankment and into a stream. Several skaters suffered broken bones and other injuries. Bont coach Bill Begg broke several fingers. Nonetheless, he was credited with pulling the injured driver from the water after the crash. The driver later died in surgery. (Go to news story.) (Jan. 10, 2006)

Logo Contest Rolls In New Year for Send the Best Project - Have you got an eye for design and a love for skating? If so, enter the Send the Best to Worlds logo contest. The nonprofit group is looking for a design that "expresses our love and support for inline speed skating." The winner will get a one-week pass to the 2006 Indoor National Speedskating Championships in Lincoln, Neb. (Go to Send the Best announcement.) (Jan. 2, 2006)

Rick Short Steps Down as Head of National Skate Patrol - Rick Short is stepping down after a second stint as president of the National Skate Patrol. The International Inline Skating Association enlisted Short for the job late last year. But he says that with a family and two jobs, he no longer has time to handle the post. He has endorsed Angus Campbell to succeed him. Campbell used to lead the Central Park Skate Patrol. (Dec. 12, 2005)

Catalonia's Bid Failed Despite Effort to Influence Vote - Catalonia paid the way for foreign skate federations to attend last week's congress of the International Federation of Roller Sports in Rome, an official said. But nonetheless, the autonomous region of Spain was unable to muster the votes to win status as a separate country. "Catalonia paid for many countries to come," said Valerie Leftwich, the federation's first vice-president. "We saw people there from Africa, Pakistan and many other countries that we never see at a congress." The vote was 125-43 against Catalonia. (Dec. 7, 2005)

USA Fit Hands Off Instructors to USSG - It may seem like much ado about alphabet soup. But in fact, it will be big news for inline instructors. For the last year, they've been adrift without strong leadership or support. Now they've got the United Skate Schools Group to hold on to. ... And the further good news is that USA Fit, which has a great plan for growing inline skating, isn't ready to give up on the sport. (Go to the Planet story.) (Nov. 28, 2005)

Skaters United Shall Never be Defeated - The head of the California Outdoor Rollerskating Association says skate clubs and teams should form an umbrella group to spearhead efforts to rekindle inline skating in North America. (Go to the Planet story.) (Nov. 14, 2005)

USA Fit Prepares to Launch Inline Training Program in Austin - USA Fit is moving ahead with plans for an inline training program in Austin, Texas. The program, Austin Inline Fit, will prepare skaters for the Texas Road Rash (March 26) and the Disney World Inline Marathon (April 2), said coordinator Richard Littrell. The program will start Jan. 7 and run for 12 weeks. ... USA Fit launched its first inline training program last spring in San Francisco but pulled the plug when only a handful of skaters signed up, in part due to a lack of advertising. (Go to story about USA Fit's plans for inline skating.) (Oct. 29, 2005)

How to Grow Inline? ... Target 40-Year-Old Women, Take It Back to the Street - Attendees at last week's United Skate Schools Group conference in Long Beach, Calif., mulled ways to spark a resurgence of inline skating. One idea was to target 40-year-old women as a primary demographic. Another was to highlight the sport's fitness benefits. Skate education pioneer Dean Kaese said skaters should do the same thing they did 20 years ago when they first popularized the sport: "We skated at conferences and trade shows. We showed up on beach boardwalks with products people could try. Our passion for inline skating was obvious. We need to do the same thing again." (Go to ussg conference press release.) (Oct. 21, 2005)

Roller Officials to Attend Big Sports-Television Conference - One or more officials of the International Roller Sports Federation (FIRS) plan to attend the Sportel conference later this month in Monaco. The four-day conference (Oct. 24-27) attracts hundreds of sports officials and television executives from around the world. Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, is an honorary Sportel committee member and is scheduled to attend. ... Roller sports has been trying to raise its visibility in the sports world. Last summer, it was rejected -- along with four other candidate sports -- for a place in the 2012 Summer Games. (Go to the Planet's Olympic Inclusion department.) (Oct. 11, 2005)

PR Director Leaves USA Roller Sports - Kellie Habeeb has resigned as director of media and public relations at USA Roller Sports. After three years with the national governing body for roller and inline skating, Habeeb is taking a job with an Omaha public relations firm. USARS executive director Richard Hawkins says he plans to hire a webmaster to take over the job of updating the agency's web site. Jessica Rettig, the agency's coach and recreation coordinator, will edit the USARS magazine. (Read Kellie's farewell note.) (Sept. 15, 2005)

Roller Federation President Pledges to Continue Struggle for Olympic Recognition - Sabatino Aracu says the recent IOC meeting in Singapore, despite its rejection of roller sports, should be viewed as a "starting point," not an end, to the sport's effort to gain entry into the Olympics. "We won't give up now that the road to the Olympic dream is clear before us," Aracu says. (Here's the Planet story!) (July 21, 2005)

Organizer Talks About Plans for New Skating Group - Skaters were set adrift by last year's disbanding of the International Inline Skating Association (IISA). But slowly the winds of change are refilling their sails. The latest breeze blew in Saturday when Zephyr Adventure's Allan Wright announced the formation of a new group: For Skating. (Here's the Planet story!) (July 18, 2005)

Beijing to Host First China National Inline Hockey Championships - The first-ever China National Inline Hockey Championships will be held from July 13th to 17th in Beijing. Seven teams from four cities will compete in the event, which appears to be another sign of the growing popularity of inline skating in Asia. (Here's a China View news brief about the event.) (July 12, 2005)

Taipei Wins Asian Roller Championships; India Finishes Second - The island nation of Taipei -- with strong performances in all disciplines -- rolled to a commanding victory in the 11th Asian Roller Skating Championships in Jeonju, Korea. Taipei skaters finished first in artistic skating, second in speed skating and tied for first (with Macao) in roller hockey. ... India came in second overall with a second-place finish in artistic skating and a tie for third in hockey. ... Japan came in third with a third-place finish in speed skating and a tie for third in hockey. ... Korea's dominance of speed skating was only enough for fourth place overall. It claimed 11 of the 12 speed skating gold medals, but finished sixth in hockey and did not compete in artistic skating. (Here's an Excel file of the results.) (May 16, 2005)

Roller Official Welcomes Vote That Could Bring Inline Skating Into the Olympics - "Of course, all the sports that are in the Olympics believe that they should stay in the programme," said Valerie Leftwich, the first vice president of the International Roller Sports Federation (FIRS). "But there are some that could be set aside for more exciting sports." (Here's the Planet story!) (May 10, 2005)

Olympic Committee Member to Attend Speed Skating Events at Asian Games - Nat Indrapana of the International Olympic Committee will be observing speed skating at next week's Asian Roller Skating Championships in Korea, according to Korean webmaster JinWoo Lee. Indrapana is a member of the IOC's Program Commission. A native of Thailand, he is a leader in several Thai and Asian sports federations. He will be accompanied by Roberto Marotta, the president of the speed committee of the International Roller Sports Federation. ... The IOC is set to vote July 8th on whether to change its roster of sports for the 2012 Summer Games. Inline speed skating is one of five candidates for inclusion. (Here's the Planet's Olympic inclusion department!) (May 7, 2005)

12 Countries to Compete in Next Week's Asian Roller Skating Championships - The 11th Asian Roller Skating Championships will begin next Tuesday in Jeonju, South Korea. Athletes will compete in four categories: speed, artistic, hardball hockey and inline hockey (which will be a demonstration sport). ... Twelve countries will take part in the continental championships: Bangladesh, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Mongolia, Macao, Pakistan and Taiwan. ... India alone will be sending 44 skaters, seven judges and referees, and five roller sports officials. (Here's the official site of the championships.) (May 4, 2005)

Gypsy Tidwell and Josh Wood Vie for Spot on USA Roller Sports Board - One former and one current inline racer are in the running for the speed skater position on the board of USA Roller Sports. Gypsy Lucas Tidwell of Waco, Texas, was a world champion speed and downhill skater in the mid-1990s. She is now coach of the U.S. Junior World Team and was recently chosen to be inducted into the USA Roller Sports Hall of Fame. Joshua Wood has been a member of the U.S. World Team for the last three years. He won a gold medal in the 5000 meter relay in the 2004 Inline World Championships. ... June 1st is the dealine for nominations. The election will be later this year. (Here's the USARS election notice.) (March 24, 2005)

Valerie Leftwich: Another Roller Sports Winner From Down Under - Valerie Lefwich, the new first vice-president of the International Roller Sports Federation, is not a speed skater herself. Nor was she in her youth. But nevertheless, she is a big supporter of the federation's plan to make inline speed skating the first Olympic roller sport. The plan, she says, represents "an honest appraisal of our sport." ... We caught up with Valerie after her return from the federation's special election last month in Rome and found her to be nothing but generous and gracious. ... Thank you, Valerie, and good luck in your new post! (Here's the Planet profile of Valerie Leftwich!) (March 8, 2005)

Aggressive Skaters Form International Federation To Promote Their Sport - Aggressive skaters finally have an international organization to promote their sport. The new group is called the International Inline Stunt Federation. It was formed this weekend by skaters and promoters meeting in Tehachapi, Calif. (Here's the Planet story!) (March 6, 2005)

Organizer Plans to Turn SF Kids Into Inline Speed Champs - David Miles, president of the California Outdoor Rollerskating Association, has found that San Francisco school children know little, if anything, about inline racing. But he's not ready to give up on them. In fact, he's put together a program designed to turn some of those kids into inline champions. (Here's the Planet story!) (February 22, 2005)

Julie Glass Wins Speed Skater of the Year Honors - USA Roller Sports has named Julie Glass as its 2004 Speed Skater of the Year. Julie won the overall title at last summer's Inline World Championships in Italy, collecting five medals in all. She has also been named the Female Roller Sports Athlete of the Year by the United States Olympic Committee. ... Way to go, Julie! (Here's last month's Planet interview the champion!) (February 19, 2005)

Two Speed Skaters, One Hockey Player Win Entry Into Roller Hall of Fame - Cheryl Ezzell, Gypsy Tidwell and Dieter Kochan have won spots in USA Roller Sports' Hall of Fame. Also to get the nod are artistic coaches Jerry and Marlene Bruland... What do they all have in common: They have been -- or have coached -- world champions. (Here's the Planet story!) (February 19, 2005)

Olympic Committee Sends Roller Sports a Second Questionnaire - The International Olympic Committee has asked for more information about roller sports' proposal for inclusion in the 2012 Olympic Games. Among the questions is a request for more detail about how skaters would be selected for the Games. "That they are asking more questions is ... fantastic," said James Pollard, a member of the International Roller Skating Federation's Central Committee. (Here's the Planet story!) (February 15, 2005)

World Inline Cup Confirms That It Will Allow Wheels Bigger Than 100 mm - Sylvianne Altherr-Weissmahr of the World Inline Cup organization has confirmed that wheels larger than 100 mm will be allowed in World Cup races this year. But she said that could change next year. ... Altherr-Weissmahr said the rules of the International Roller Sports Federation apply only to the Inline World Championships, not to the World Cup, which has its own rule book. But, she added, "for next year we might change the rule book regarding this point." ... The roller federation instituted a rule banning wheels larger than 100 mm during its meeting last November in Fresno. (Read Sylvianne's email about wheel size in the Planet forum.) (February 15, 2005)

Sabatino Aracu, Valerie Leftwich Are Elected to Lead World Roller Federation - Sabatino Aracu was elected president today of the International Roller Sports Federation. The head of the European Roller Sports Federation and a member of the Italian Parliament, he was elected without opposition. ... Valerie Leftwich was elected first vice-president. She is the first woman to hold the federation's No. 2 position. Delegates to the federation's meeting in Rome gave her 90 votes. Uruguayan candidate Ernesto Cajaravilla got just six. Leftwich is the president of the Australian and Oceania federations. (If you want the background on the election, here's the Planet story!) (February 13, 2005)

So What Will It Look Like If Roller Sports Makes It Into the 2012 Olympics? - The International Roller Sports Federation has come up with a compact, budget-minded proposal designed to gain a toehold in the Olympic Games. The proposal calls for two days of inline speed skating (no hockey or figure skating) on a small outdoor racecourse. The 72 athletes would compete in four events. The shortest would be a 300 meter time-trial; the longest, a 20 kilometer elimination. (Here's the Planet story!) (February 11, 2005)

USA Fit Assumes Leadership Role in Inline Skating - The organization that is filling the shoes of the International Inline Skating Association (IISA) is starting work on a plan to promote the sport. And that's a good thing because the "right-sizing" of IISA has functionally "mothballed" the association, its chairman says. (Here's the Planet story!) (February 10, 2005)

U.S. Skaters May Have to Pay Their Own Way to World Events - U.S. skaters are being warned that they may have to pay their own airfare this year to compete in the Inline World Championships in China and the World Games in Germany. USA Roller Sports (USARS) has asked the U.S. Olympic Committee for money to cover the travel expenses. But the Olympic Committee has said that it may not be able to provide it, said the USARS's executive director Richard Hawkins. (✰●❁■❅▼ ▲▼❏❒❙✁✉ ✈✦❅❂❒◆❁❒❙✙✌✒✐✐✕✉

✳❁❂❁▼❉■❏✡❒❁❃◆✇▲✥●❅❃▼❉❏■❁▲✦✩✲✳✰❒❅▲❉❄❅■▼✩▲ Considered a Foregone Conclusion - For one thing, no one but Aracu has been nominated for the top spot on the International Roller Sports Federation. For another, nominations were formally closed 27 days ago. And to make it all neat and pretty, Aracu is considered an eminently qualified candidate and just happens to have connections with the Olympics, which is where the federation wants to go! (Here's the Planet story!) (Tuesday, February 8, 2005)

What Do Inline Skating, Bowling and Dragon Boat Racing Have in Common? - They are all part of the Olympic wanabe fest known as the World Games. ... So what's inline skating doing in this crowd? Trying to get into the Olympics, of course! (Here's the Planet story!) (February 1, 2005)

Skating Federation Spotlights International Events - "Yes, we are global!" the International Roller Sports Federation (FIRS) seems to be shouting from its web site today. On the top of the page are announcements for the Asian Roller Sports Championships (on May 10 to 15 in Jeonju, Korea) and the Nigerian Speed Championships (no date given, in Abuja). ... FIRS has until July to get the word out about the global reach of inline skating. That's when the International Olympic Committee is set to decide whether to add new sports to the 2012 Games. The committee has said that global reach will be one of the factors it will be considering. (February 1, 2005)

Ohio Roller Rink Closes, But Industry "Isn't Dying" - The message on the answering machine at the Fastbreak Family Entertainment Center in Salem, Ohio, is a sad one: "I'm sorry," a man says in a shaky voice, "but this business is now out of business. ... I am very sorry that we had to do this." Fastbreak was a prominent roller rink in Ohio. But to say that its closing signals a larger crisis for the indoor skating industry is a mistake, according to Wendy King of the Roller Skating Association International. (Here's the Planet story.) (January 28, 2005)

World Inline Cup Reportedly Won't Abide by 100 mm Limit - The question of what size wheels will be allowed in inline speed skating events in 2005 just got thornier. The head of Bont posted a note today on the company's forum in which he said there will be no limits on wheels used in World Cup races. Alexander Bont said the 100 mm size limit only applies to races that have adopted the CIC rule book of the International Federation of Roller Sports (FIRS). He said the World Cup rules are based on the CIC rules but are not identical. ... No official word has yet filtered down from FIRS. But its secretary general said in November that all members would be bound to FIRS regulations. "We will say to the confederations they must follow the regulations," Roberto Marotta said. "Otherwise we will sanction them." (This statement is part of the official minutes of the FIRS Congress in Fresno, Calif.) (January 24, 2005)

New President to be Elected to Lead World Skate Federation - The International Federation of Roller Sports has scheduled a special Congress on Feb. 12 in Rome to select a new president. President Isidro Oliveras resigned in November after the FIRS Central Committee overruled his support for Catalonian membership. Ernesto Gonzales Molina of Argentina has served as interim president. (January 21, 2005)

World Skating Federation Finally Posts New Rules! - FIRS has posted a list of what it describes as the "most important alterations" to its racing rules. Among them are the controversial size limits of 50 cm for skates and 100 mm for wheels. (January 20, 2005)

It's Not Being Downsized, It's Being "Right-Sized"!
In a press release spilling with spin, the International Inline Skating Association explains that it isn't downsizing, it's "right-sizing." Why? Because the organization has completed its task. "Mission Accomplished," it proclaims. ... Hmm. The last time I heard that one some guy was standing on the deck of an aircraft carrier wearing a flight suit! ... Anyway, here's the press release with commentary. (Wednesday, December 22, 2004) (Updated with comment from IISA board chairman Keith D'Entremont: Thursday, December 23, 2004)

No Plans to Hire a New IISA Director
There are no immediate plans to hire a replacement for the departing director of the International Inline Skating Association, according to Rollerblade's Nick Skally. Instead, the trade organization will be restructured into an "informational resource." ... Exactly what that means is not clear. But it appears that IISA is being streamlined, which is not surprising given the recent decline in inline skate sales. Here's what we've got so far on the story. (Wednesday, December 22, 2004)


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