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Copyright © 2005 by Robert Burnson

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Many of Top Inline Speed Skaters Snub the World Games

But Some Strong Teams Will Compete in Sub-Olympic Event

By Robert "Just the Factoids" Burnson

After tomorrow's marathon in Zug, Switzerland, many of the weary and battered World Inline Cup skaters will get a welcome vacation.

The next World Cup race (in Bern, Switzerland) isn't until Aug. 13th.

But a handful of the skaters, tired or not, will be heading straight to Duisberg, Germany, to represent their countries in the World Games.

The World Games are the second largest multi-sport event in the world, second only to the Olympics.

But it appears that many of the top skaters in the world are not impressed.

Of the top ten women in the World Inline Cup, only four are headed for Duisberg:

Of the top-ten men, only two are going:

That doesn't mean there won't be some great racing.

Skaters from 16 countries will be at the World Games. Among them will be large contingents from Italy, Colombia and France, which at this point in the season look like the top inline powers.

The USA is sending only a small team of three skaters. Cash-strapped USA Roller Sports, the U.S. governing body for speed skating, found it hard to find skaters to send to the event.

The reigning U.S. men's champ, Joey Mantia, chose instead to go to the U.S. Indoor National Championships, which start Sunday in Pensacola, Fla.

So did several other candidates for the team.

But Jilleanne Rookard, who emerged as the dominate woman at the U.S. Outdoor National Championships, is headed for Duisberg.

Other top skaters who will be there include:

Each skater will compete in all six events, which vary in distance from 300 to 10,000 meters.

Races will be held on a new 200 meter flat oval.

Some of the racers who won't be competing may be licking their wounds.

The World Cup season has been plagued by injuries. Among the wounded, at this point in the season, are Bont's Luca Presti (cracked ribs) and Francesco Zangarini (facial injuries), Salomon's Arnaud Gicquel (broken collarbone) and Rollerblade Athleticum's Scott Arlidge (broken ankle).

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(posted on July 15, 2005)


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