Conversations with the Movers and Shakers of the Inline Skating World, listed in reverse order of publication.
Jessica Smith Talks Seoul and the Olympics
Just back from Korea, where she won the Seoul World Inline Cup, Hyper's Jessica Smith talks about the race, her winning hawk and ... what you do next when you've already won all the marbles in the inline world. (Go the Planet podcast with Jessica Smith.) (April 13, 2006)
'Skatin' With the Big Girls'
Florida phenom Brittany Bowe talks about her win in yesterday's Disney World Inline Marathon in this post-race interview with the Planet. The World Team star also discusses her plans for the 2006 season and her preference for 100mm wheels. (Go to the Planet podcast.) (April 3, 2006)
The Planet Podcast With World Champion Joey Mantia! - This year, the young U.S. skater Joey Mantia proved himself to be one of the top inline racers in the world. Returning from a bout of mononucleosis, he won three individual gold medals at the Inline World Championships in China. In this, the Planet's first-ever podcast, Mantia talks about his early days as a rink rat, his skates, the World Championships and his plans for the future. (Go to the Joey Mantia podcast.) (Oct. 20, 2005)
The Planet Interview With Ultra-Distance Champ Kim Perkins
No one, least of all Kim, would have predicted her transformation from geek to chain-smoker to ultra-marathon champion. But somehow that's what happened to the skinny kid from Cleveland, Ohio. She started life as a gym class-reject and went on to win the Athens to Atlanta Road Skate three years in a row. (Here's the first installment of the Planet Interview with a2a champ Kim Perkins!) (July 26, 2005)
Saab-Salomon Team Expected to Race on 110 mm Wheels in Seoul
Supersonic co-founder Juan Carlos Betancur says he expects the Saab-Salomon World Team to race on 110 mm wheels tomorrow in the Seoul World Inline Cup Marathon. If so, it would mark a new jump in size for wheels used in the World Cup. Last year, Fila International sparked the move to 100 mm wheels. ... Betancur talks about Saab-Salomon's prospects for the 2005 racing season in his interview with the Planet. He is joined by Saab-Salomon's team leader Pascal Briand. ... (Here's the Planet interview with Betancur and Briand!) (April 9, 2005)
Fila's Manager Says Team's Best Could Be Enough To Win World Cup Again This Year
Last year, it wasn't even close. The Fila International men's team made hamburger of the World Inline Cup. It racked up almost 800 points more than its nearest competitor and placed skaters one-two-three in the individual rankings. ... But can the Fila juggernaut continue to roll in 2005? ... We'll get some idea Sunday when the team lines up in Seoul for the first World Cup marathon of the season. But in the meantime, here's an interview with Fila's manager, Ippolito Sanfratello, who says, "We'll just try to do our best, and this will be enough to be on top." (Here's the Planet interview with Ippolito Sanfratello!) (April 4, 2005)
Another Online Merchant Reports Strong Skates Sales
Could this be the start of a trend? A month ago, Skates-dot-com reported that its Internet sales had "taken off." Now we hear from the Inline Warehouse that its sales are increasing every month. ... So what's happening? Are more people buying skates? Or is it just that more people are buying them online? ... We'd like to believe the former, but whatever it is, it sure is making the online merchants happy! (Here's the Planet Interview with Stan Chaves of the Inline Warehouse!) (February 25, 2005)
Barry Publow Talks About His Return to Racing Form
Barry Publow has a pretty spiffy resume: former Canadian National inline speed champion, current coach of the Canadian National team, author of Speed on Skates (often referred to as the Bible of speed skaters), and founder of the popular Breakaway Skate seminars. But that wasn't enough from the man from Ottawa. This year, he has reinvented himself as master of the North American ice marathon. ... So what's going on with Barry? We thought we better ask. Here's the Planet Interview. (Tuesday, January 25, 2005)
Julie Glass Says Her Heart Wasn't in Ice Speed Skating
Inline skating has lost more than a few of its champions to the ice. Enticed by the Olympic dream -- so far unavailable to inline skaters -- have been Chad Hedrick, Derek Parra and Apolo Anton Ohno. ... But the ice won't be getting Julie Glass! The 2004 world champion gave ice a try. But now she's back. Why? Because, as she explains in a Planet Interview, her heart wasn't in it. Here's the interview. (Saturday, Januaray 22, 2005)
New Grand Prix Event Is Intended to Boost Participation in the Long Beach Marathon
The new Long Beach Grand Prix event (April 3) is actually four events, including an eight mile inline race and a triathlon, in which the usual swim portion will be replaced by a skate portion. Bob Seagren of International City Racing says the idea of the new event is to "grow" participation in the Long Beach Marathon. ... You've got to hand it to Bob and the others at International City Racing: Rather than retreating from inline racing, they are trying to develop it. Sure hope it works! Here's an interview with Bob, in which he talks about the new event. (Friday, January 14, 2005)
Interview with Nordic Skater's Jamie Hess ... Just because it's snowing outside doesn't mean you have to hang up your skates or skate indoors. You can also strap on some ice blades and sign up for an ice marathon. A few years ago, this wouldn't have been possible in North American. But this winter, there will be at least a dozen ice marathons. ... To tell us about them, we talked to the Pied Piper of Nordic Skating, Jamie Hess, who abandoned his software career to devote himself to Nordic skating. (Tuesday, December 6, 2004)
The Indoor Racing Season Is Underway!
What do Derek Parra (Olympic ice gold medalist), Theresa Cliff-Ryan (2004 World Inline Cup champion) and Jessica Smith (2003 World Inline Cup champion) have in common? ... They all started racing on indoor roller rinks! That's right. And do you know where many of the future inline champions are training, right now, as we speak? That's right ... indoors. So we decided we better get with the program. Here's the first "Indoor" Planet preview, featuring the Motor City Madness Thanksgiving Invitational with an interview with Wolverine Coach Robb Dunn. (Saturday, November 20, 2004)
The Roces Interview ... Roces was just a little Italian boot maker ... a Gepetto, so to speak ... before the inline skating explosion of the 1980s. But then the owner of Roces met the inventor of the Rollerblade. And it was goodbye, Gepetto; hello, Hollywood! ... Rollerblade became a star, Roces a supporting player. And the rest, as they say, is history. (Or something like that.) To get the full story, read the Planet Interview with Roces USA's president, Keith D'Entremont. (Tuesday, November 16, 2004)
The K2 Interview ... K2 has been making headlines (Planet headlines, anyway!) with its new Big Wheels skates and its reentry into the freestyle skate market. But did you know the company's skate division has been through some tough times lately? ... Yup. You guessed it: Skate sales are down. In fact, they plummeted $4.2 million in the third quarter of this year. ... So we decided it was time to check in with the world's second largest skate maker. Here's what we found in the Planet Interview with K2's Mike Powell. November 5, 2004
The Rollerblade Interview ... Rollerblade has been through a lot lately. The move to New Jersey. The downturn in the market. The sale to Tecnica. So how is it doing? ... That's what we asked Rollerblade's Nick Skally during a Planet Interview. And we liked what we heard! Aside from his upbeat assessment of the market, he let us in on Rollerblade's exciting 2005 product line, which includes four BIG wheel skates AND women's specific protective gear! It's clear this company is not ready to give up its title as the inline instigator. Here's the Planet Interview with Rollerblade's Nick Skally. Saturday, October 23, 2004
Eddy Matzger Interview ... Inline Skate Legend Eddy Matzger talks about his climb from hapless hacker to world champion in this nine-part Planet Interview. Among the topics discussed are Eddy's early humiliating defeat, his training methods, his advice to students, the double push, and much much more.
The Dan Joyce Interview: In which the Long Beach Inline Race Director talks about why the 2005 Long Beach Inline Marathon May Get the Axe
The Pleasure Tool Man Talks Skate Bearings ... Pleasure Tool's web site features the all-time top No. 1 tutorial on skate bearing care and maintenance. And it sells a kit that makes cleaning your bearings as easy as Shake 'n' Bake chicken. ... Now Pleasure Tool Man Ed Lynn shares his know-how and tips with the Inline Planet. If you have any questions about taking care of your skate bearings, Ed's got the answers. Read the Inline Planet interview here.
Interview With the NorthShore Marathon Man ... You betcha this Minnesota guy was ready to talk skating. And as one of the founders and still executive direction of the greatest U.S. inline marathon, Chuck Carlberg had a lot to say. Read it!