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Skaters in the News ...
Inline Planet news and articles about skaters who are making news, listed in reverse chronological order.

(Go to new Skater in the News page)

Trail Accident Stalls Blade Across America
Blade Across America's Michael Sandler was taking an easy skate Sunday when he fell trying to avoid an errant toddler. He says it all happened so fast, there was nothing he could do. (Go to the Planet story.) (April 4, 2006)

Hometown Emulates Joey Cheek
Greensboro, N.C., is honoring hometown hero Joey Cheek by following his lead. It hopes to raise $80,000 for the Olympic champion's favorite charities during its Joey Cheek Day celebration Thursday. The former inline racer donated $40,000 of his Olympic earnings to help poor children in Darfur, Africa. (Go to News-Record story.) (March 21, 2006)

Skater Dies After Fall at Metrodome
Skater Carl Comparoni died Sunday from head injuries sustained when he fell during a skate session at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. Comparoni, a regular at the dome, was not wearing a helmet. (Go to the
Planet story.) (March 15, 2006)

Battle Gear for TRISTO
Tim Monroe may be the most heavily armored skater in history. But then again, he should be. His 25-year quest to skate every inch of Oakland, Calif., (which he dubbed Tim's Radical Inline Skate Tour of Oakland) put him eye to eye with some of the steepest hills, toughest neighborhoods and meanest dogs on the Planet. So he wore the standard protective gear and then added on a bunch more, including shoulder pads, kevlar sleeves, slash guards and pepper spray. (For the full list with photos, go to his web site.) (March 9, 2006)

Hedrick Weighs His Options
Thumbnail of Chad Hedrick
The asphalt has turned to gold for inline legend and now Olympic champion Chad Hedrick. With the Torino Games behind him, the endorsements, television appearances and movie scripts keep coming. But Hedrick is also looking for a way to give back to inline skating. (Go to the Planet story.) (March 8, 2006)

Breakfast of Well Behaved Champions
Thumbnail of Apolo Anton Ohno' Wheaties box
General Mills announced today that former inline skaters Joey Cheek and Apolo Anton Ohno will be featured on limited edition boxes of Wheaties. The company made no mention of Chad Hedrick and Shani Davis, who also won gold medals in Turin. Apparently they proved too controversial for the Breakfast of Champions. (Go to press release with photos.) (March 1, 2006)

Parra Hangs Up His Skates parra photo- After a long career that catapulted him to the top of both of the inline and ice speed skating worlds, Derek Parra is retiring. The 36-year-old California native made the announcement Tuesday after skating his final event, the 1500 meters, of the Torino Winter Games. Parra finished 19th. Four years earlier in Salt Lake City, he won gold in the 1500 meters and silver in 5000 meters. "It's been a great journey," he said. "But I've got to try to move on." (Go to San Antonio Express News story.) (Feb. 23, 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)

Skating for Attention Deficit Disorder - Michael Sandler plans to make it into the Guinness Book of World Records this summer by becoming the first person to skate from Los Angeles to New York City. But making it into the record books may be the easy part. His other goal is to raise $1 million to help people with Attention Deficit Disorder. (Go to the Planet story.) (Jan. 26, 2006)

Skating Cows to Roll Through Super Bowl Kick-off Show - You won't have to sit through the entire Super Bowl (Feb. 5th) to catch a glimpse of the Skating Cows of San Francisco. Their Coca-Cola commercial will apparently air during the last 30 minutes of the pre-game show. The rolling ruminants were among hundreds of extras used in the making of the parade-themed commerical. Other performers included stilt walkers, marching bands and inline speed skaters! (Go to more photos of the Skating Cows.) (Jan. 26, 2006)

Watch Hedrick Again! - Did you miss Chad Hedrick's appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno? No problem. Just head over to the California Outdoor Rollerskating web site, where D. Miles Jr. has posted the video. (Go to the video.) (Jan. 11, 2006)

Hedrick Emerges as Pre-Olympic Media Darling - Chad Hedrick's appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno appeared to provide a big boost to his growing celebrity. Not only did millions watch the show, in which Hedrick came across as likable and unpretentious (and even managed to score a few laughs), but millions more read the widely disseminated Associated Press story about his appearance. ... Rival speed skater Shani Davis must be thinking today, "Hey, guys! What about me?" (Go to AP story.) (Jan. 10, 2006)

Skate Your Way to Healthy Bones - Inline skating is not only a good way to break bones (hehe), it's a good way to build them. According to a new Truestar Health article, rollerblading is an "impact loading" exercise for the hips and spine. Our bodies respond to impact loading by increasing the density of affected bones, thus making them stonger. Other good hip and spine exercises are walking, aerobics, cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Good exerices for wrists and arms include weightlifting and push ups. (Go to Truestar story.) (Jan. 9, 2006)

Chad Hedrick To Appear on Tonight Show - U.S. speed skater Chad Hedrick will be a guest on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Monday. "It's very exciting," said his agent, Ti Kilink of Clipse Management. "Chad's one of only a couple athletes who will be appearing on the show before the Olypmics. It's a real honor." The former inline champion will share the dias with actors Johnny Knoxville and Natasha Leggero and singer Chris Isaak. (Read more about Skaters in the News.) (Jan. 5, 2006)

Sexed Up Roller Derby Makes Bid for Prime Time - The new Rollergirls reality series, which debuts at 10 p.m. on A&E, is collecting mixed reviews from critics. The New York Times damns the series with faint praise: "It could be argued that other reality shows devote just as much time and attention to even less worthwhile subjects." But the Seattle Times says the series is "a pleasure." "It's nice to see a reality series that doesn't strain to intellectualize pop culture, but doesn't trash it, either." (Go to New York Times review. Go to Seattle Times review.) (Jan. 2, 2006)

Inline Skates Become Darling of Transit Strike - The New York City transit strike is doing a nice job of showing off the commuter potential of inline skating. Lots of stories have listed inline skating as one of the creative ways New Yorkers are getting to work. And a favorite strike photo has featured commuters on skates. (Go to the Planet story.) (Dec. 22, 2005)

Another Hollywood Babe on Blades - What does Halle Berry do when she's not making movies or collecting Academy Awards? Inline skating, for one thing. The 38-year-old actress reportedly loves to rollerblade near her Hollywood home. It's one way (another is yoga) she maintains her health despite a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes. ... Berry is not the only Hollywood star on skates. Others include Melanie Griffith, Jessica Biel and Jenny McCarthy. (Go to Daily Mail story about Berry.) (Dec. 14, 2005)

Mr. Potato Head Goes on Diet, Takes up Inline Skating - Mr. Potato Head will be flaunting his buff new physique at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. He'll be wearing running shoes and carrying a water bottle. But did you know that the newly svelte spud has also taken up inline skating? That's right. As part of his new active lifestyle, the former smoker (who has a propensity for getting smashed) has become a sports spud! (Go to the Planet story.) (Nov. 24, 2005)

✮❏❒◗❅❇❉❁■✣❏❍❐●❅▼❅▲✳❋❁▼❅✡❃❒❏▲▲ United States - Helge Hjelland has an adventurer's outlook on life. "I love not knowing what's around the next corner," he says. The Norwegian school teacher completed his latest adventure on Tuesday: a cross-country skate tour of the United States. (Go to the Planet story.) (Nov. 23, 2005)

Skating Remains Contagious Despite End of Inline Fad - In his latest column, Tom Becnel of the Sarasota (Fla.) Herald-Tribune asks the much-debated question: "Where did all the Rollerbladers go?" While he never finds the answer, he digs his dusty skates out of the garage and rediscovers skating for himself. "There's something about that fluid skating motion, with arms and legs swinging side to side, that's full of grace and beauty," he says. " ... Now I've got the fever." (Go to Becnel's column.) (Nov. 12, 2005)

Who Knew? ... Rollerwars Ends First Season With Death-Defying Performance - Ghost has won the first-ever Rollerwars World Championships in Birmingham, England. Not impressed? ... Consider this: Ghost won even though he's dead! That's right, dead! ... So how can a dead man breath life into a new arena sport? (Go to the Planet story!) (Nov. 3, 2005)

Grinders Peel Off Protective Gear (and Then Some) for London Tabloid - The Sun has hit upon a unique strategy for getting young women to disrobe for its cameras: "Take off your knickers, and we'll publicize your event." ... Its latest photo story, titled "Get your skates on," features five top aggressive skaters, including Jenna Downing (above) and Fabiola da Silva, getting their clothes off. The feature serves as an advance for the LG Action Sports World Championships (Oct. 21-23) in London. (Go to the Sun. Caution: includes several semi-nude photos.) (Oct. 5, 2005)

Alabama Skater Takes Aim at 24-Hour Record - Brian Tilley of Albertville, Ala., is preparing himself for a long skate. In two weeks, he will attempt to break the world record for the most miles skated in 24 hours. Tilley, 24, will set off on Oct. 12 at the Tennessee border north of Huntsville, Ala. From there, he will follow secondary highways until he hits the Florida Panhandle. The route is more than 320 miles. The current 24-hour record is 315 miles, set by Sandy Snakenberg in 1999. Tilley is the manger of the Mega Skate rink in Albertville. His trainer will follow him in a support vehicle. The record attempt will not be independently verified. (Read the story in the Sand Mountain Reporter.) (Oct. 1, 2005)

Canadian Minister Selected as Planet's First Hip Skater of the Week! - The Planet doesn't know if Canada's health minister, Ujjal Dosanjh, even owns a pair of skates. But we don't care. He's still a hero to us. ... Today, the India-born minister encouraged kids to "remain active by walking, cycling and'' -- You guessed it! -- "inline skating to school." His comment appeared in a press release about International Walk to School Week (Oct. 3-7) in Canada. ... Meanwhile, the U.S.-based Walk to School web site lacks any mention of inline skating. ( (Go to the Walk to School press release.) (Sept. 30, 2005)

Roll Bounce Opens Today to Mixed Reviews - The skate industry, especially the roller rink crowd, has high hopes for the new movie Roll Bounce. It would like to see the movie roll in big audiences and give a nice bounce to ticket sales at roller rinks. But the critics don't seem too impressed. (Read the Planet story.) (Sept. 22, 2005)

Urban Adventurer Talks About His 25-Year Skate Odyssey - The annals of inline skating are full of fantastic adventures. To the list, add another: Tim Monroe's skate of the entire street grid of Oakland, Calif. Completed over 25 years, Monroe's trek took him up and down the Oakland hills, through the devastated crack neighborhoods and face-to-mace with legions of vicious dogs. But he survived to tell the story! (Here it is!) (Sept. 8, 2005)

Joe's Trek Passes the World Record for Longest Skate - With swollen feet and a sunburned smile, Joe Rehana rolled past the old world record for the longest inline skate on Monday and pushed on in pursuit of the 3000-mile mark. So far, the 35-year-old Illinois resident has skated 2730 miles. The Guinness Book of World Records lists 2595 miles as the length of the longest inline skate. ... Rehana started his unassisted trek on May 31st in Sydney, Australia. He had planned to roll the entire circumference of Australia (about 10,000 miles). But with his feet swelling with edema, he decided to cut short his trip. "I'm thinking, throw the skates into the sea and never look back," he says in his web log. (Here it is.) (Aug. 31, 2005)

Chad Hedrick's Racing Skates Stolen, Returned- Inline-to-ice champion Chad Hedrick had a few worried hours last week after his custom ice skates were stolen from a Phoenix parking garage. Hedrick had stowed the skates in a backpack, which he left in his pickup truck. Some time later, a thief on a bicycle smashed a window of the truck and snatched the backpack. A security camera recorded the theft. ... But within hours, the backpack with the skates still inside was recovered at a Phoenix homeless shelter. ... Hedrick was happy to get his skates back. He told a reporter that they are the same one's he used to set the new world record in the 3000 meters earlier this year. (Here's a KSL-TV news story about the theft.) (Aug. 8, 2005)

Swiss Police Take to Inline Skates to Patrol City Streets - The Zurich police have replaced their mounted patrols with squads of officers on inline skates. The inline squad consists of 34 members: 25 men and nine women. It was started as a way to patrol the city's massive Monday Night Skate. But it "worked so well that we decided to employ the unit for other tasks, too," the police chief said. ... Besides, police are easier to keep in oats. "The police on skates carry out more or less the same tasks (as the mounted patrol) but are a lot cheaper to manage," one official said. (Here's Swiss Info's story.) (Aug. 1, 2005)

American Pursues World Record Around Australia - Two weeks into his planned 10,000-mile skate around Australia, Joe Rehana has contended with sore muscles, blisters, bruises, rainy days, bumpy roads and busy highways without shoulders. He doesn't have much good to report about the roads. But he says he is "loving the other side of Australia." (Here's the Planet story!) (June 15, 2005)

Former Grand Prix Racer's Current Exercise Routine: Skating Paris at 5 a.m. - Former Grand Prix driver Francois Hesnault left racing 20 years ago to start an import business. But he's as fit and trim as ever, according to a report at grandprix.com. His secret: "I get up at five o'clock every morning and for two hours, I rollerblade on the streets of Paris. Paris is always empty at that time. You know, you get down low, like a speed skater. I like it very much." (Here's the story about Francois.) (May 18, 2005)

It's Gold or Bust for Hedrick as He Prepares for 2006 Olympics - "Anything less than a gold medal will be failure for me," inline-to-ice skating champ Chad Hedrick says in a profile in today's Houston Chronicle. Hedrick is a favorite to win the 5000 meter speed skating event at the 2006 Winter Games in Turin, Italy. He says he has some work to do in the other distances: "At 10,000 meters, I need to relax on the straightaways. I'm out there sprinting 25 laps, and the guys who have been out there for years know where to relax and where to focus their efforts to be efficient. ... At 1,500, it's all about keeping my upper body relaxed and going hard through the turns." (Here's the Chronicle profile.) (May 11, 2005)

Rollerblade Stunt Skater Was Skating Downhill Backwards When Fatally Injured - Rich Taylor was playing a game of chicken with two friends last August when he was killed in his hometown in Wales, his friends said Wednesday at an inquest. The object of the game was to see who could roll the furthest down a steep hill skating backwards. Taylor, 23, was in the lead when he jumped aside to avoid a car. One of his skates clipped a curb and sent him flying into a concrete lamp post. Taylor, who was not wearing a helmet, fractured his skull and broke both of his legs. He died later in a hospital. Taylor was a champion stunt skater and a member of Rollerblade's aggressive team. (Here's icWales' inquest story.) (May 5, 2005)

Burgh Man Flies the Coop, Looks for New Roost in Florida - Burgh Man, the inline skating mascot of the Pittsburgh Pirates, has packed up his cape and moved to Florida! No longer a meek and mild alcohol counselor by day, he has taken on the guise of Mark Bedillion, the capable manager of a Hollywood Beach law firm. ... So is this curtains for our caped crusader? .... Fear not, faithful readers, Burgh Man will don cape and mask on Sunday to skate in the Disney Inline Marathon. Later, Bedillion says, Burgh Man may reinvent himself as a Florida-flavored super hero. (Here's the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Burgh Man story.) (April 29, 2005)

Figure Skater Returns to Ice After Undergoing New Hip Procedure - U.S. National figure skating champion Rudy Galindo was told that his skating career was over after he was diagnosed with avascular necrosis, a degenerative bone disease. But a new kind of hip replacement surgery has returned the 35-year-old skater to the ice. The surgery employs a ceramic-to-ceramic technique. ... Galindo is currently on tour with Champions on Ice. (Here's SFgates story about Galindo's recovery.) (April 27, 2005)

Inline Skater Dies After Collision With SUV in Florida - A 16-year-old inline skater died Tuesday after he was struck by an SUV as he crossed an intersection in a suburb of Miami. The boy was crossing Stirling Road on Waterford Drive in Davie when he was hit by a gold Lexus SUV heading west on Stirling. The driver of the Lexus told police she never saw the boy. A witness said the boy was moving fast and looking down at his digital music player when he entered the intersection. No charges were expected to be filed against the driver. (Here's the Sun-Sentinel's story about the accident.) (April 13, 2005)

Teen Skater Killed While Being Towed by a Car in Canada - A 15-year-old inline skater was killed Wednesday night when he fell and was run over by the car that was towing him. The boy suffered head injuries and died later at a hospital. No information was available about how the boy was being towed. Some thrill-seeking skaters "skitch" by hanging on to moving cars. Skitchers sometimes grab hold along the side of cars. That way they can see what's coming on the road. But if they fall, they risk sliding under the car and being crushed by the wheels. (Here's the short Canada.com news story.) (March 24, 2005)

Baseball Player Starts Cross-training on Inline Skates and Finally Makes the Big Leagues - Pitcher Heath Bell toiled in the minor leagues for years without getting an invite to the Big Show. But last year, he started cross-training by inline skating 16 miles a day. (Sometimes, he'd take the kids along, pushing them in a jogging stroller.) The result: the formerly chunky Bell lost 34 pounds, got into the best shape of his life and was transformed into a strikeout machine. Now, he's a 27-year-old rookie relief pitcher with the New York Mets. ... Unfortunately, his coach has ordered him to stop skating; he says he worries his new star might break his wrists. ... Apparently, he's never heard of wrist guards! (Here's a newspaper story about the new major leaguer.) (March 19, 2005)

New York Court Tosses Lawsuit Filed in 1999 Skating Death - A New York appeals court has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the widow of a 40-year-old man who was killed while inline skating on the Heritage Trail in Orange County, New York. Ed Quick was skating with his wife of five weeks when he was struck from behind by a car. The car was driven by a county prosecutor who was later found to be not guilty of vehicular manslaughter by reason of insanity. Quick's widow sued the county and the prosecutor's psychiatrist. The Appellate Division of the state Supreme Court ruled that neither could be held responsible. (Here's a brief story about the ruling.) (March 16, 2005)

Actor Sentenced to 30 Days in Jail for Accident That Injured Friday Night Skater - Former Baywatch actor Michael Bergin has been sentenced to 30 days in jail for a drunk driving accident in which an inline racer was injured. Police said Bergin was rushing to make a left turn on July 16th in West Hollywood just as a group of Friday Night Skaters were crossing the intersection. His SUV hit the lead skater, Jenni Armstrong. She was thrown into the air and suffered a broken left leg. ... Bergin pleaded no contest to felony DUI on Thursday in Superior Court in Beverly Hills. He was also sentenced to three years probation and 60 days of community service. He told the television show Celebrity Justice, "I just hope that Miss Armstrong and her family are doing well. I really do." ... Armstrong, a member of the LA Speed racing team, reportedly approved the sentence. (Here's the report from Celebrity Justice.) (March 11, 2005)

Blade America Completes Coast-to-Coast Charity Roll - Charles Dabney rolled into Pensacola, Florida, last week, completing his coast to coast skate for charity. ... Dabney began Blade America on Aug. 27 in Imperial Beach, Calif., but temporarily suspended his trip a month later after being hit by hurricanes and other proble✤❉❅❇❏✎ ✈★❅❒❅✇▲❈❉▲❅■❄✍❏❆✍❊❏◆❒■❅❙❁■■❏◆■❃❅❍❅■▼❏■ ▼❈❅✧❅▼✲❏●●❉■❇ ◗❅❂ site.) (February 21, 2005)

No Chance for the Olympics, But Roller Girls May Be Headed for Prime Time - Those demure Lonestar Roller Girls -- among them Honey Homicide, Scarlett O'Terror, Miss Conduct and Helena Handbasket -- may get some help this year with their oversized bills for fishnet stockings and dog collars. They've been optioned to do a cable television show. (Read the Planet story!) (February 19, 2005)

Chad Hedrick's Web Site Is Up and Rolling, Although Not Completely Finished - The wrappers have come off the web site of inline and ice skating champion Chad Hedrick. Some parts of the site are still under construction, but much is finished, including a short biography, a photo gallery and several short clips from Hedrick's much anticipated (and yet to be released) DVD, Push. ... On one of the clips, the 52-time inline world champion gives a pithy summary of his signature move, the double push: "The whole concept of the double push ... is pushing in the same direction with both feet simultaneously." Got that? ... If not, you'll have to wait for the DVD to come out. (Chad's web site) (February 14, 2005)

Inline Skating is Reportedly Attracting More Older Adults - More older adults are taking up inline skating these days as a way to stay in shape, according to this story from Seattle's King5.com. The anecdotal basis of the story includes interviews with a 62-year-old man who started skating after a motorcycle accident; a 53-year-old heart attack survivor; and 66-year-old woman who says "skating makes me feel like a kid again." The story doesn't provide any hard evidence to back its claim. But hey, sometimes you just have to believe! (registration required) (February 11, 2005)

Bidding Hits $1000 in the Shaun Thompson Auction - Mike van Erp, the webmaster of the London Skaters, has pushed the bidding up to $1000 in the auction for ailing Aussie skater Shaun Thompson. (See Monday's news below). Bidders have until March 1 to place their bids on the one-of-a-kind Bont Super Mold Vaypor racing boots. (Click here to place your bid!) (February 9, 2005)

Bont Starts Auction for Ailing Skater - At 18, Australian Shaun Thompson appeared to be on the verge of a great inline racing career. Already, he had won several junior world championships and a spot on Bont's international racing team. But then, a little over a year ago, he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Surgery and four rounds of chemotherapy slowed the cancer but did not stop it. Now Shaun is pinning his hopes on an experimental gene replacement therapy administered in China. The treatments cost $25,000, which Bont is helping Shaun raise with an auction on its forum. To the top bidder will go a beautiful pair of Super Mold Vaypor racing boots in a limited edition silver with a 3-D green honeycomb effect. ... So far, several hours into the auction, the bidding has reached $600. (Click here to place your bid!) (February 7, 2005)

Chad Hedrick Was Reportedly Victim of Kidnap Attempt in Moscow - Here's how the story goes: Inline and ice speedster Chad Hedrick, in Moscow for the World Allround Speed Skating Championships (Feb. 4-6), decides to do a little sight-seeing. He visits Red Square and then hails a taxi to take him to his hotel. When the taxi arrives at the hotel 15 minute later, the driver demands 4000 rubles ($143 US). That's crazy, Hedrick says, and offers 1200 rubles ($42). But the driver won't bargain and instead, locks the car doors and speeds away. Hedrick has heard horror stories about Moscow. So when the taxi slows at a crossing, he throws 1200 rubles at the driver, breaks a window with his elbow, and escapes. ... It's not clear whether Hedrick was injured. But he is quoted as saying he will be fit enough to compete in the Championships this weekend. (The Russian newspaper story is posted in Yahoo's speed skating forum.) (February 3, 2005)

The BladeAmerica Saga Continues - The on-again, off-again adventures of Charles Dabney are back on again. Dabney, as you may recall, is the skater who is rolling across the U.S. to raise money for Children's Hospital in San Diego. He started out from Imperial Beach, Calif. on Aug. 27 and planned to reach his destination, Daytona Beach, Fla., in a few months. But things didn't turn out that way. ... First, he lost his chase vehicle. Then hurricanes in Texas and his mother's failing health forced him to interrupt his trip. But Dabney didn't give up and finally yesterday, after a three or four month hiatus, he resumed his Odyssey with a motor home and a chase vehicle in tow. As Liz Miller of the Get Rolling web site says, "1242 miles down ... about 1650 to go!" (January 23, 2005)


- Racing