Now where was I in my crazed ramblings (see earlier column) about freestyle in the USA? Ah, yes ... "Now if only there was a way of getting everyone in one place at one time ... "
What an interesting thought!
One day on my recent U.S. tour, Seattle freestyler Stacy Schlutsmeyer and I mulled it over, and on the spur of the moment, decided to make it happen: the first-ever U.S. freestyle competition.
The next two days were full of excited chitter-chatter. Doug Pearsons, the organizer of my Seattle workshop, added his ideas. And within a few days, much of the U.S. freestyle community seemed to be involved.
That was two months ago. Since then, the plan has started to take shape. The consensus is that the event should be a Battle-style competition. The skaters figured Battle-style, which has fewer rules, would be more fun and less nerve wracking than the strict format of the International Freestyle Skating Association.
The location has not been definitely fixed, but at this point the most likely spot appears to be New York City. Philadelphia freestyler Jeremy LaCivita is working on the permit requirements, and says he's "just loving" all the red-tape (right!).
Jeremy's commitment knows no bounds. He flew out to London for the recent BattleUK event. (Here's his review). (And in fact, he did surprisingly well in the competition, considering he was up against some of the best freestylers in the world.)
A New Collaboration
Jeremy and Stacy (along with Denni of Massachusetts, Doug Pearsons of Seattle, Katherine Gresens of Detroit, and Jeff Chung of New York) are now working on putting together a national association for freestyle skating, similar to what we have in the UK.
"The intention is to foster and encourage freestyle skating in the U.S.," Jeremy reports.
As usual with this kind of thing, the biggest controversy seems to be deciding on a name. (Nothing beats keeping your priorities straight, does it?)
We'll see what happens.
Watch this space for updates.
Naomi Grigg is one of the world's top freestyle skaters. She won the 2005 UK Freestyle Slalom Championship and is renowned for the flowing brilliance of her skating. Based in London, she travels widely, competing in international competitions and giving freestyle seminars. She is sponsored by Rollerblade USA.