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Inline Skating and the Olympics

Planet news about the movement to make inline skating (roller sports) an Olympic sport, listed in reverse order of publication:

Jan. 15, 2008
How About an Inline Marathon?
For the first time, the public is being asked for ideas on how to improve the Olympic Games.
More info

July 6, 2007
Olympic Opening?
New rules could ease entry into the Olympics ... Then again, maybe not.

Planet story

July 3, 2007
Inline Added to Asian Games
Roller sports will be part of the Asian Games — for the first time — in Guangzhou, China in 2010.
List of 41 officials sports

Inliners Save Team USA! - Former inline skaters accounted for nearly a third of all the medals won by the U.S. Olympic team. ... And here's the kicker: the U.S. Olympic Committee has cut off funding for the national governing body of inline skating! .... Hard to figure? (Go to the Planet story.) (Feb. 27, 2006)

NBC Affiliate Salutes Inline - NBC 11 News in San Francisco paid homage to inline skating last night in a piece titled, "Speed Dreams: How one of the Olympics' most popular sports caught on." The story details inline's contribution to the U.S. Olympic team and features interviews with three-time a2a champion Kim Perkins and D. Miles Jr. of the California Outdoor Rollerskating Association. The two-minute piece points out that the U.S. speed skating team is "dominated" by former inline skaters. ... Sure, we knew that. But it's great to see the message spreading. (Go to the video.) (Feb. 16, 2006)

Inliners Poised for Their Olympic Moment - Rejected as an Olympic sport, inline skating will nonetheless provide a subplot for the Torino Games, as commentators talk about the new-found strength of the inline-fortified U.S. speed skating team. (Go to the Planet story.) (Feb. 6, 2006)

'Inliners Love to Race!' - Another newspaper story is taking note of inline's major contribution to the U.S. speedskating team. "Nearly half of the U.S. team has an inline background," coos the Miami Herald. In the story, U.S. long track coach Tom Cushman says inliners tend to succeed on ice because they develop great leg strength racing on pavement, and guts from racing in packs. "Inliners love to race, and a lot of them are great athletes," he says. ... One thing the story doesn't mention is the way the US Olympic Committee abruptly cut off funding for inline skating this year! (Go to Miami herald story.) (Go to Planet story about USOC funding.) (Feb. 5, 2006)

'I Came From Inline!' - Chad Hedrick, one of the brightest star of the U.S. Olympic team, is letting the world know where he got his start. "I came from inline skating," the Texan proclaims in a story by the Scripps Howard News Service. "That's always going to be a part of my training." Hedrick said he continues to train two or three times a week on inline skates using a treadmill. He quit training with the national team due to its rigid program. "He saw no need to train on a bike or give up inline skating," the story says. (Go to the wire story.) (Jan. 24, 2006)

USOC May Find Way to Help Roller Sports - The U.S. Olympic Committee may reconsider its decision to cut funding for inline skating after the Winter Olympics. But it will depend on whether the governing bodies for inline skating and ice speed skating can agree on a joint plan to develop athletes for the Olympics. (Go to the Planet story.) (Jan. 12, 2006)

NBC Affiliate to Hire Inline Skaters to Plug Olympics - The NBC affiliate in San Francisco is hiring a team of inline skaters to promote its Olympic coverage. The 10 skaters will be outfitted as speed, figure and hockey skaters and will appear (on inline skates) at various Bay Area locations on 12 days, starting Jan. 28th. Team members stand to earn as much as $960. D. Miles Jr. of the California Outdoor Rollerskating Association is putting the team together. (Go to the CORA web site.) (Jan. 6, 2006)

New Helmet Keeps Wheel Suckers Off Your Back! - Well, not exactly. It's the helmet that the Sparks of Passion inline skaters will wear at the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. Sparks will shoot out the back of the helmet as the eight skaters perform at the opening and closing ceremonies. The skaters, most of whom are hockey players, will reportedly reach speeds of 43 mph. (Go to Torino story about the Sparks of Passion.) (Dec. 8, 2005)

Inline Skaters Will Be Shooting Stars of Olympic Ceremonies - Inline skating may not be an Olympic sport. But it will be a big part of the Olympic spectacle this February in Turin. During opening and closing ceremonies, an eight-member skate team will reportedly hurtle around the Olympic stadium at speeds of more than 40 mph with flames shooting from the backs of their helmets. And it won't only be the "Sparks of Passion" team members who will be skating. In all, 500 pairs of rollerblades will be used during the ceremonies, the organizer says. (Go to AP story.) (Dec. 2, 2005)

Roller Officials to Attend 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)

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)

IOC Members Criticizes Process for Reviewing Olympic Sports Program - IOC member Anita Defrantz said today that any new Olympic sport should be drug free, open to both sexes and "bring some element to the program that doesn't already exist." But she declined to talk specifically about roller sports' failed Olympic bid. "I can't tell you why what happened, happened," she told the Planet. "It was all done with secret ballots and there was no discussion beforehand." (Here's the Planet story!) (July 13, 2005)

It's Over ... For Now: Roller Sports Fails in Olympic Bid - The International Olympic Committee ended its weeklong session in Singapore today without adding any new sports to the 2012 summer program. "Ultimately, the session was of the opinion that none of the five sports would add extra value," said IOC president Jacques Rogge. Roller sports was one of five sports considered for inclusion in the Games. Rogge said the IOC will again consider adding new sports in 2009, although it is not clear what sports those will be. (Here are some final thoughts about the failed Olympic Bid including a comment by FIRS president Sabatino Aracu.) (July 9, 2005)

Sliver of Hope Remains for Roller Sports' Olympic Bid - Why did the International Olympic Committee cut two sports from the roster and then decided not to fill the empty slots? Good question. But before we get to it, we will have to see what happens tomorrow. Reports are circulating that the IOC's Executive Board may try to persuade members to revisit the issue of new sports. If so, roller sport might get another chance. (Here's the Planet story!) (July 8, 2005)

One Days to Go Before Vote That Could Land Roller Sports in the Olympics - Now that London has been picked to host the 2012 Olympics, does English-born rugby have an edge over the four other sports vying for a spot on the program? Probably not. But with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) set to vote Friday in Singapore, that's one of the popular story lines, even as insiders say any change in the sports roster is unlikely. (Here's the Planet story!) (July 7, 2005)

Tidbits From the Olympic Sports Report! - How does roller sports compare to the other sports vying for Olympic inclusion? To get some idea, take a look at these factoids and figures pulled from the 265-page sports report of the Olympic Programme Commission. Included are charts that track global reach, earnings and media interest. There's also a recap of roller sport's Olympic proposal. (Here's the Planet tabular look at the Olympic report!) (June 14, 2005)

Roller Sports Gets Mixed Reviews in Olympic Sports Report - The Olympic Programme Commission gave roller sports a mixed review in its report of the 28 current and five prospective sports for the 2012 Summer Games. The report, released today by the International Olympic Committee, cites roller sports' relatively low worldwide reach, small media draw and small revenues. It also wonders aloud about how roller sports missed the ball on "teenage skating activities." ... Yeah, we're talking aggressive! (Here's the Planet story!) (June 13, 2005)

Olympic Sports Federation Says Any Change in Roster Could Hurt the Games - The group that represents the current Olympic summer sports says any change to the roster could disrupt the balance of the games. "It's like a house of cards. You take one card out and the whole thing might fall down," said Denis Oswald, president of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations. ... The International Olympic Committee is scheduled to vote July 8th on whether to change the roster of 28 summer sports. If any cuts are made, an equal number of new sports may be added. Roller sports is one of five replacement candidates. (Here's an AP story about the association's stance.) (June 8, 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 ▼❈❅✰●❁■❅▼ ▲▼❏❒❙✁✈✭❁❙✑✐✌✒✐✐✕✉

✯●❙❍❐❉❃✣❏❍❍❉▼▼❅❅✭❅❍❂❅❒ ▼❏✡▼▼❅■❄✳❐❅❅❄ 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)

Nervous Sports Federations Call for Special Meeting Ahead of Olympic Vote - The heads of the 28 current Summer Olympic sports want to have a little talk before a vote in July that could change the composition of the Games. Apparently, some of them are afraid they could get the boot ... which would open up a spot for a new sport, possibly inline speed skating. ... But watch out for these guys: They've been successful at guarding their turf since 1936! (Here's the Planet story!) (April 28, 2005)

Let the Lobbying Begin! ... Each Olympic Sport to Be Put to the Vote in July - Four things will have to happen in Singapore this July if inline speed skating is to be included in the 2012 Summer Olympics. First, a majority of the International Olympic Committee (by secret ballot) will have to give the boot to at least one of the 28 current summer sports. Second, the IOC's Executive Committee will have to recommend roller sports as a substitute. Third, two-thirds of the IOC will have to certify inline skating as an Olympic sport. And fourth, a majority of members will have to vote to include the sport in the 2012 Olympics. ... It may sound like a lot of hurdles to jump. But at least, roller sports is in the running. (Here's the process adopted today by the IOC's Executive Committee.) (April 20, 2005)

IOC President Jacques Rogge Makes Ambiguous Statement About Olympic Inclusion - The president of the International Olympic Committee said today that sports with strong federations needn't worry about being dropped from the Summer Olympics. Jacques Rogge's comment came as the IOC was completing its review of the 28 sports that were featured in the 2004 Athens Olympics. Included in the review were reports on the five sports, among them roller sports, being considered for inclusion in the 2012 Games. "There should be no anxiety. The process [of deciding whether to add or remove sports] will be a totally fair process," Rogge said. "Reading the report, I have only one conclusion. We have very strong federations, and strong federations should have nothing to fear." ... Rogge has said no sports will be added unless an equal number are removed. (Herald Tribune story.) (April 18, 2005)

Like Roller Sports, Rugby Is Offering a Trim, Cost Conscious Olympic Proposal - Rugby officials appear to be employing the same strategy as their roller sports counterparts in their pitch for Olympic inclusion: Keep it short and cheap. International rugby officials are proposing a two-day "rugby sevens" tournament for the Olympics. Rugby seven is a whittled down version of the sport. Rather than 15 players, teams have seven. Rather than 80 minutes, games take 14. And no special arena is required. ... Rugby and roller sports are two of the sports being considered for inclusion in the 2012 Olympic Games. The others are golf, karate and squash. (Here's an AP story about rugby's proposal.) (Here's the Planet story on roller sport's Olympic proposal.) (March 18, 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)

Olympic Inclusion for Extreme Sports To Be Topic of Weekend 'Inline Summit' in California - A group that hopes to win entry for extreme sports, including aggressive inline skating, in the Olympics will meet this weekend at Woodward West in Tehachapi, Calif. Among the participants will be Chris Fowler and Jason Hines of Mix Ride Media. The company runs the inline portions of ESPN's X Games and other events. Fowler has been spearheading the so-far subterranean effort to win Olympic inclusion for extreme sports. Some observers believe the Olympic Committee lusts after Extreme Sports' reservoir of young fans. (Here's a Planet story that gives a little background on the Olympic aspirations of extreme sports.) (March 4, 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)

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)

Was World Skate Federation Right to Oust Catalonia? - Emotions ran high last November when the International Federation of Roller Sports decided to revoke Catalonia's provisional membership. On the one hand, Catalonian skaters had proved their worthiness in roller hockey and artistic roller skating. On the other hand, Catalonia's membership angered Spain. (Catalonia is a region of Spain and at times has fought for its independence.) At the FIRS Congress, Italian representative Sabatino Aracu told the delegates that he had consulted Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge about the issue. "He said we were crazy thinking that we could recognize what the (Olympic Committee) did not," Aracu said, according to the official minutes of the meeting. "This is not the way to arrive at the Olympic Games. ... The heart is with Catalonia, but the head needs to give legality to our sport." The subsequent vote against Catalonia was 114 to 8. (January 21, 2005)

Outgoing Federation President Pegs Olympic Chances at 90 Percent - In his last official statement as president of the International Federation of Roller Sports, Isidro Oliveras gave inline speed skating a 90 percent "possibility" of making it into the Olympics. "We need to do our duties well from now to July," he said, according to the official minutes of the FIRS Congress on Nov. 26 in Fresno, Calif. ... July is when the Olympic Committee is set to decide whether to add new sports to the 2012 Games. Later at the Congress, General Secretary Roberto Marotta told delegates that FIRS had proposed the skating discipline of "races, short program" to the Olympic Committee. The program would include three days of racing but only 72 skaters, he said.

FIRS Believes Inline Racing Is Only Roller Sport With a Shot at Olympics
No roller sport, except for speed skating, has any chance of making it into the 2012 Olympics, according to an official of the International Federation of Roller Sports. If he's right, artistic roller skating, roller hockey and inline downhill racing are out. ... But what about aggressive skating? Some think aggressive skating may pull inline racing into the Games. Here's the planet story. (January 20, 2005)

Germans Start Petition Drive to Make Inline Skating an Olympic Sport
- This group of skaters isn't just hoping that inline skating makes it into the Olympics. It is mounting a petition drive in support of Olympic inclusion. It is collecting signatures at German skating events and through the mail. It plans to present the petitions to the German Olympic Committee. ... We need something like this in every country!

Related reading

Go to Planet Ice skating department


- Racing