Inline speed skating

Last updated
Inline skaters competing Patinaje Euro2004.jpg
Inline skaters competing
Road race Berlin 2017 Inline speed skating Berlin 2017 gnangarra-101.jpg
Road race Berlin 2017

Inline speed skating is the roller sport of racing on inline skates. The sport may also be called inline racing by participants. Although it primarily evolved from racing on traditional roller skates, the sport is similar enough to ice speed skating that many competitors are known to switch between inline and ice speed skating according to the season.



An inline speed skate is a specialized shoe version of the inline skate. The boot or shoe is close-fitting, without much padding and usually made of leather, carbon fiber, and/or fiberglass composites. For best performance, the boot must conform closely to the shape of the foot, so most inline speed skating boots are custom-fitted or else heat-moldable.

Speed skating boots are low-cut and offer little ankle support, allowing the skater extra ankle movement. Skin blisters due to friction can be a problem, and common solutions include neoprene or silicone "ankle bootee" such as "Ezeefit" or "Bunga Pads"; double thin synthetic socks; smaller boots; improving technique; re-moulding the boots; sports tape; and use of "advanced healing" plasters to help recovery.

The frame (sometimes called the chassis or plate) that holds the wheels may be made of aircraft-quality aluminum, magnesium, or possibly carbon fiber. Frames flex during skating, and the amount of flex can be a personal factor in which frame choice to use. Very "stiff" frames may be favored by heavy skaters. But a frame that is too stiff for a particular skater may feel unstable on corners, while a frame that is not stiff enough will be slower. Frame stiffness also works along with boot and wheel stiffness, so there are endless possible variations. Nevertheless, a light frame is desirable. Ideal frame length is affected by foot size and wheel size. A slightly shorter frame may be preferred for the tight curves of smaller tracks; a longer frame may be preferred for longer distance events.

The frame position can usually be adjusted with respect to the skate to adjust for a skater's individual foot, ankle and leg characteristics. Frame positioning is very critical as even a minor change from the skater's actual frame position can lead to severe foot pain. Also, many times it leads to 'locking' of the skater's ankle and/or calf muscle, thereby restricting its movements. It may take a skater several days to weeks to test and adjust the frame position of his new skates. The common inline mounting is 195mm, which is different from the ice mounting of 165mm. The frame usually mounts three, four, or five polyurethane wheels. The three wheel frames are used by skaters with small feet, otherwise four-wheel frames are commonly used, with 90 mm to 110 mm diameter wheels. Five-wheel frames with smaller wheel have lost favor. Each wheel contains two ball bearings with an aluminum spacer, held in place with an axle screwed into the frame.

Larger wheels require better skating technique, so skaters generally progress upwards in wheel size as they gain experience. "Hi-Lo" arrangements are also available, which usually have three larger wheels and one smaller wheel under the ball of the foot, allowing a lower and shorter overall frame design.

In 2014 Powerslide (a German inline skate company) introduced a 125mm wheel for use on a three-wheeled frame varying in sizes from 11.8" to 13.0". Much controversy surrounded this development since FIRS did not allow 125m wheels at the 2014 and 2015 world championships. On January 18 of 2016 FIRS released a press release that stated: "Dear Friends, Considering the evolution and growth that our sport has attained in the last years, the FIRS and the Speed Technical Committee have decided to allow, starting from February 1, 2016, the use of the w heels up to a maximum size of 125 mm but only for the Marathons (JUNIOR and SENIOR) and the MASTER Category (MEN and LADIES). We will be grateful for the spread of this information and we take this opportunity to send you. Kind regards, Jorge Roldan, FIRS Speed Technical Committee, Chairman & Robert Marotta FIRS Secretary General."

Harder wheels minimize elastic hysteresis energy absorption, due to skater's weight deforming the solid polyurethane "tyre". So, speed skaters tend to select the hardest possible wheels, with the highest polyurethane durometer for their skating condition, limited by either wheel slip or surface roughness. Durometer selection is also affected by skater weight, and temperature. Wheels for indoor use are hardest with a durometer of 88–97. They tend to last well, but can be easily damaged if used outdoors. Wheels for outdoor use are softer with a durometer of 82–87, and tend to wear more quickly. Harder outdoor wheels can also be used effectively indoors. Skaters sometimes combine different hardness wheels on the same skate in an attempt to achieve the best combination.

Skaters also refer to wheel "rebound". This refers to the relative height to which a dropped wheel rebounds. It is a reasonable comparative indicator of the relative energy absorbed by elastic hysteresis of a wheel during skating.

Bearing sizes have been standardized around the popular 608 series. A smaller and lighter 688 series has had limited acceptance. Bearing manufacturing precision generally run from ABEC-1 to ABEC-11, and some skate bearings are additionally designed to be "loose" to minimize ball rolling friction.

Various grades of steel offer better hardness, rust resistance etc. Bearings with ceramic balls (and races) have been available since the late 1990s They are lighter and longer lasting, however significantly more expensive. Black silicon nitride ceramic is superior to white zirconium dioxide ceramic, since it is considerably harder and tougher. At the modest rotational speeds encountered in skates, manufacturer data suggests negligible difference in friction performance between the various bearing materials. At these speeds, ball bearing friction tends to be dominated by seals and lubricants.

Bearing shields reduce the entry of dirt into the bearing. Metal and rubber non-contact shields are commonly used, of which rubber shields are slightly more effective. Neither shield type is totally effective, often resulting in the need for bearing maintenance. The ball retainer is usually made of either metal, plastic, or glass. Plastic types are preferred since they are quieter.

Bearing lubrication is usually either light oil or grease. Synthetic types last longer before breaking down. Grease assists in holding dirt away, and stays in the bearing longer, reducing maintenance and increasing bearing life. The lifetime of bearings used for outdoor speed skating is often quite limited due to damage caused by dirt ingress. These bearings are usually cleaned by soaking them in petrol overnight and then cleaning the dirt.

In search of the maximum speed the principal goal is to minimize wind resistance, hence the use of skinsuits, special helmets and techniques. The second issue is elastic hysteresis energy absorption in the wheel. The distant third is bearing internal friction, a set of bearings in good condition, properly inserted and lubricated is normally enough.

Technique and control

Competitors warming up before a race. Speed roller skating warmup.jpg
Competitors warming up before a race.

Mechanically, strokes in speed skating are deeper and faster (to a sharper angle, closer to the point of losing traction) than recreational skating but not as deep or as fast as in ice speed skating. This is because of the greater frictional forces in the direction of travel and lesser ability to apply friction without slipping of wheels on a hard surface compared to a steel blade on ice.

Speedskaters move each foot across the center line of travel, leading to the double push, a method named by United States skater Chad Hedrick (this is a normal efficient skate technique that is learned as skater gets comfortable with skates). The technique allows two pushes in each stroke of the skate. However, it can be tiring for inexperienced skaters who have improper technique and they will often save it until needed, such as the latter stages or final sprint of a distance race. With proper execution, the double push is an energy saver. The double push is mostly used in outdoor racing and the straightaways of indoor skating.

During Sprints, skaters need to initially push their body with force to get a jump start. For this they tend to take quick and sharp strides. Once they have achieved a good pace, they move to taking comparatively longer strides. Speedskaters also need to take care of their body posture during all of this. They usually bend from their knees to maintain a low posture. This has two advantages. First of all, it increases the reach of the skater's legs, which results into even more powerful strides. Secondly, a low posture reduces the total surface area of the skater's body that comes in contact with the resistive air, thus providing an aerodynamic advantage.

Turning is significantly more difficult with inline speed skates than recreational skates because of more and larger wheels, creating a longer wheelbase. The wheel profile, that is, the cross-section, is parabolic, with a sharper shape than recreational or aggressive wheels, allowing the skater to essentially skate on a smaller, and hence more agile, wheel when leaned over in a turn.

Brakes are not generally used on speed skates so various other techniques to slow down are used, such as slaloming (skating s-curves) or v-plowing (or "snow-plowing"), where the heels are pushed outward and the toes inward. It is not readily obvious to an observer from a skater's stance that the skater is v-plowing, if it were the skater would quickly crash. The v-plow is often the stop used in situations where there is little lateral and forward room to stop. One technique is the T-stop, essentially dragging one foot perpendicular to and behind the other, however this wears the wheels of that skate quickly. Another stop involves picking up one foot and setting it down quickly and repeatedly somewhat perpendicular to the forward motion while keeping weight on the other foot. Hockey stops are possible on speed skates, but require a very deep lean in order to cause the wheels to lose traction and slide, also the fact that wheels are sliding means that the wheels are also wearing down very quickly. Grass runouts are always a last option, given an adjacent grassy area.

An inline speedskater takes much time to stop and often has still fewer options in an emergency, often taking several hundred feet on a level surface to come to a stop at a full, controlled deceleration. Thus, a skater should be familiar with and proficient in stopping techniques before attempting difficult situations such as heavily travelled roads or hills.


Inline speed skating requires professional athletes to go through intense physical training. A strict diet and a rigorous training schedule has to be followed. The training schedule is mainly designed to build and maintain strong thighs and calves. But skating, just like swimming, requires the use of the whole body. Therefore, it is critical that the whole schedule is well balanced to attain and maintain a sturdy upper-body too. Also, a flexible upper body is preferred, which could help in maintaining the balance of the body in a better way. A heavy, protein-rich diet is required to be followed.

Usually, skaters have two sets of skates/wheels, one for training and the other for races and competitions. Wheels and bearings used for practice generally require much more efforts to gain some momentum and speed, as compared to the ones used in competitions. Ultra distance training requires years of training, time, and dedication to reach world class levels.


In outdoor inline racing events, team tactics may apply. If so, tactics are similar to those of marathon ice speed skating and of road bicycle racing, in which members of the team perform specified roles.

Skaters tend to form packs or "pacelines", or "pelotons", in which skaters line up behind a lead skater and match their stride, thereby saving energy by skating in their draft. Sportsmanship requires that skaters in the paceline share the duty as paceline leader. Those who never "take a pull" at the front are likely to find other skaters tactically working together to defeat them.

During the course of a race skaters may make "attacks", speeding up the pace in an effort to weed out the weaker and slower competition. These attacks may include "breakaways" and "fliers", in which skaters try to create new smaller and faster packs or else to escape entirely from the other skaters. Depending on the length of the race and the skills and the cooperative effort of the chasers, these breakaways may or may not prove successful. If a skater escapes a pack in order to join a successful breakaway group, it is known as "bridging up".

When skaters who are member of teams participate in a race together, they often have pre-determined roles. One or two would be designated attackers whose role it is to tire out the competition. Another skater may be the designated winner for the team, and he may avoid chasing any breakaways until late in a race, possibly until the final sprint if the lead pack has never broken up.

Quad speed skating

Quad roller-skating racing is the precursor to the popularity and acclaim received by competitive racing on in-line skates. Up until 1991 all World Championships were held on quad skates. Most events at the 1992 World Championships were specific to quads, however, some events were classed as "open" giving the athlete the option of choosing either quads or in-lines. The same criteria were applied for the 1993 World Championships. In 1994 all events were declared as "open". Despite this, it had soon become evident that in-lines were predominantly quicker than quads on all surfaces and all tracks and to this end athletes opted for in-lines over quads, as is still the case today.

Race venues and formats

Inline speed skating races are held in a variety of formats and on a variety of surfaces.

Indoor races are most common in the United States, which has a long tradition of racing on skates at rinks. The competitions are generally held at roller skating rinks with plastic-coated wood floors and, less commonly, a plastic coated cement floor. The track is about 100 m in circumference. At USA Roller Sports (USARS) events, tracks are marked by four pylons set in a parabolic oval, while at NIRA (National Inline Racing Association) events, tracks are marked by multiple pylons that create an oval shaped track. Events, or meets, are typically structured so that members of numerous age groups race in three or four distances. For the more populous divisions, there may be a series of heats in order to qualify for the final race. To some extent, indoor inline races are similar to short track speed skating.

Outdoor races may be held on regular pavement on city streets or park roads, or they may be held at specialized venues similar to velodromes, sometimes called patinodromes. A patinodrome is generally about 200 m in circumference and may be surfaced with asphalt, concrete or similar material. The curves may be banked. Such specialized skating tracks are relatively common in Europe but rare in the United States. The international governing body for World Roller Sports, Federation Internationale de Roller Sports (FIRS) and its technical committee, Committee International de Course (CIC), are making strides to commonise tracks used specifically for World Championships that have the same size, shape and surface. Plans for such tracks are available from FIRS upon request.

Race formats include:

Time trials
Held "against the clock", each skater races individually or in pairs over a distance of 100 m to 300 m, attempting to establish the best time. Time trials are occasionally held over longer distances, up to 100k which is 62 miles for fastest time. Another format measures how many miles one can achieve alone in 24 hours or 48 hours. All time trials are very physically demanding and not as popular as group racing. The time trial is the hardest of races, called "The Truth" because it's the true test of the individual with no help from drafting, teammates, or other competitors to achieve the fastest times. Bicycling has time trials in the Olympics and the Tour de France, for example.
Sprint races
Skaters race individual short races 100m to 300m against the clock.
Elimination races
In these moderate-distance races, also known as last man out, the hindmost skater is eliminated from the competition each time the pack of skaters complete a lap or when they complete certain specified lap numbers. At one or two laps to before the finish, the group has usually been pared down to four or five skaters. At this point, the first across the finish line is the winner.
Points races
In these moderate-distance races, the first, second and third skaters to cross the start/finish line at certain specified laps are awarded points. Laps late in the race are worth more points, with the final lap worth the most points of all. It is possible to win a points race without actually being the first to cross the finish line at the end.
Points-elimination races
A combination of elimination races and points races.
Relay events include teams of two to four skaters each. Indoor meets may include "mixed" relay events in which teams have either one female and one male OR two females and two males, but outdoor relays (usually held on tracks) are usually if not always single-sex events. In a mix relay, it is traditional that a female goes to the starting line as the first skater to race.
Criterium races
Instead of racing a specified distance or number laps, the skaters skate for a certain amount of time, then plus a (small) number of laps. The time is typically between 15 and 45 minutes, after which a bell is rung and the skaters informed the race is over when they skate one or two more laps around the course. The portion of the race skated after the bell is rung is known as the bell lap (or laps).
Distance races
Although events such as points-elimination races and criteriums may cover a distance of 10 to 25 km, a distance race usually refers to a race over a set distance of about 5 km or longer and without specialized points or elimination rules. The event may be truly point-to-point or may be held on a repeating course with a circumference of at least 1 km. Distance races are often marketed to the general populace and not just to members of inline racing clubs.
Lately there is a new movement of skaters bringing big masses to events, these events are the skate marathons, 42.195 kilometres (26.219 mi). The most popular marathons in the USA are: The North Shore Marathon and Saint Paul Inline Marathon, however they are now taking place all over the world including the Goodwood Roller Marathon in the UK. These races gain more popularity everyday as skaters form friendships and bonds at these events.
Ultra Marathons
Ultra Marathons draw relatively large numbers, given the time needed to complete such events, one could say that they are the equivalent to a running marathon, these events were very popular in the late 1990s but declined after the year 2001, there is a new movement of people keeping this events alive and bringing them back to the forefront of the speed skating world.
There are two very old and popular ultra marathons in the USA:
  1. The New York City Skate Marathon and New York 100K The New York City Skate Marathon & NY 100K has been held since the early 1990s, with Brooklyn's Prospect Park hosting the event since the late 1990s. Various distances are competed at the event, but always including a race of approximately 42 kilometers and another of 100 kilometers.
  2. Athens to Atlanta Road Skate (The A2A) This is the longest running point to point event in the USA, with a maximum distance of 86.7 miles (139.5 km) covering the distance from Athens, Georgia to Atlanta, Georgia.
In the early days of inline racing, sponsors of distance races were often also running event organizers, and the races they organized were commonly the same distances as those of running races, about 5–10 km. By the mid-1990s such events were proving to not be very popular and in the United States, where sales of inline skates were also beginning to slip, there was a decline in participation at races. However, at about that time in Europe, where inline skate sales were beginning to rise, race sponsors began to regularly organize longer events, particularly inline marathons. Such events proved to be enormously popular among fitness skaters, with some events such as the Berlin Inline Marathon (with more than 11.000 at its peak) and the Engadin Inline Marathon in St. Moritz, Switzerland, regularly attracting over 5000 skaters each year.
In about 2000 American event sponsors followed suit, and inline half-marathons and marathons were scheduled more and more frequently around the country. As in Europe the events proved a big draw with fitness skaters looking for events which would give their training a focus. However, by 2005 this surge was tempered as some major events were either postponed for a year or cancelled permanently. In the United States the most popular inline marathon has continued to be the NorthShore Inline Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota.
In 1999, a team of six British men led by Paul Robinson skated from Land's End to John O'Groats, a distance of 886 miles (1,426 km). This is the only known long-distance skating event held in the world to date.
Dryland triathlons
Occasionally organized by triathlon sponsors, these events substitute inline skating for the swimming component of the race. These events were infrequent even during the mid-1990s boom in inline skating participation. Today they are rare to non-existent.
Downhill races
An event most popular in the Alpine countries of Europe, these races are timed events down a steep course. The use of concrete bobsleigh courses in summertime is not uncommon. Racers usually skate alone and the event commonly uses the best time of two heats to establish the winner. Downhill inline racers usually wear skates much more like "regular" inline skates than inline speed skates, along with extensive body covering and protective gear, and strong helmets. They may reach speeds of up to 130 km/h. The International Inline Downhill Association (IIDA) [1] is the largest organization for inline downhill racing, holding races on several continents.

World Championships

NumberYearRoadTrackCountryCityNations Gold medal with cup.svg Silver medal with cup.svg Bronze medal with cup.svg
11937*Flag of Italy (1861-1946).svg  Italy MonzaMen Only
21938*Flag of Italy (1861-1946).svg  Italy FerraraMen Only
31938*Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom LondonMen Only
41948*Flag of Italy.svg  Italy MonfalconeMen Only
51949*Flag of Italy.svg  Italy FerraraMen Only
61949*Flag of Portugal.svg  Portugal LisbonMen Only
71951*Flag of Italy.svg  Italy MonfalconeMen Only
81953*Flag of Italy.svg  Italy Venice-Lido
91954*Flag of Italy.svg  Italy Bari
101956*Flag of Spain (1945-1977).svg  Spain Barcelona
111957*Flag of Italy.svg  Italy Palermo
121958*Flag of Italy.svg  Italy Finale Ligure
131960*Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium Wetteren
141961*Flag of Spain (1945-1977).svg  Spain Voltrega
151961*Flag of France.svg  France Gujan Mestras
161962*Flag of Italy.svg  Italy Venice-Lido
171963*Flag of France.svg  France Nantes
181964*Flag of Spain (1945-1977).svg  Spain Madrid
191965*Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium Wetteren
201965*Flag of Italy.svg  Italy Siracusa
211966*Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina Mar del PlataMen Only
221967*Flag of Spain (1945-1977).svg  Spain BarcelonaWomen Only
231968*Flag of Italy.svg  Italy Alte Montecchio
241969*Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina Mar del PlataMen Only
251975*Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina Mar del PlataMen Only
261975*Flag of Italy.svg  Italy Sesto San Giovanni
271978*Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina Mar del Plata
281979**Flag of Italy.svg  Italy Como/Finale Emilia
291980**Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand Masterton
301981**Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium Leuven/Ostende
311982**Flag of Italy.svg  Italy Finale Emilia
321983*Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina Mar del Plata
331984*Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia Bogota
341985*Flag of the United States.svg  United States Colorado Springs
351986*Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia Adelaide
361987*Flag of France.svg  France Grenoble
371988*Flag of Italy.svg  Italy Cassano d´Adda
381989*Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand HastingsFlag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia Flag of the United States.svg  United States Flag of Italy.svg  Italy
391990*Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia Bello14Flag of Italy.svg  Italy Flag of the United States.svg  United States Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia
401991*Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium OstendeFlag of the United States.svg  United States
411992*Flag of Italy.svg  Italy RomaFlag of the United States.svg  United States Flag of Italy.svg  Italy Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia
421993*Flag of the United States.svg  United States Colorado SpringsFlag of the United States.svg  United States
431994**Flag of France.svg  France Gujan MestrasFlag of the United States.svg  United States Flag of France.svg  France Flag of Italy.svg  Italy
441995**Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia PerthFlag of the United States.svg  United States
451996**Flag of Italy.svg  Italy Padua/ScaltenigoFlag of the United States.svg  United States
461997**Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina Mar del PlataFlag of the United States.svg  United States
471998**Flag of Spain.svg  Spain PamplonaFlag of the United States.svg  United States
481999**Flag of Chile.svg  Chile SantiagoFlag of the United States.svg  United States
492000**Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia Barrancabermeja31Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia Flag of the United States.svg  United States Flag of Chile.svg  Chile
502001**Flag of France.svg  France Valence d´AgenFlag of the United States.svg  United States Flag of France.svg  France Flag of Spain.svg  Spain
512002*Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium OstendeFlag of Colombia.svg  Colombia Flag of Italy.svg  Italy Flag of the United States.svg  United States
522003**Flag of Venezuela (1954-2006).svg  Venezuela BarquisimetoFlag of the United States.svg  United States Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia Flag of Italy (2003-2006).svg  Italy
532004**Flag of Italy (2003-2006).svg  Italy L'Aquila39Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia Flag of Italy (2003-2006).svg  Italy Flag of the United States.svg  United States
542005**Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China Suzhou31Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia Flag of the United States.svg  United States Flag of Italy (2003-2006).svg  Italy
552006**Flag of South Korea.svg  South Korea Anyang46Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia Flag of South Korea.svg  South Korea Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand
562007**Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia Cali42Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia Flag of South Korea.svg  South Korea Flag of the United States.svg  United States
572008**Flag of Spain.svg  Spain Gijon57Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia Flag of South Korea.svg  South Korea Flag of the United States.svg  United States
582009**Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China Haining Official Website 42Flag of South Korea.svg  South Korea Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia Flag of Chinese Taipei for Olympic games.svg  Chinese Taipei
592010**Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia Guarne 34Flag of South Korea.svg  South Korea Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia Flag of the United States.svg  United States
602011**Flag of South Korea.svg  South Korea Yeosu Official Website Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia Flag of South Korea.svg  South Korea Flag of Chinese Taipei for Olympic games.svg  Chinese Taipei
612012**Flag of Italy.svg  Italy Ascoli Piceno 34Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia Flag of Italy.svg  Italy Flag of South Korea.svg  South Korea
622013**Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium Ostend 51Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia Flag of Italy.svg  Italy Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium
632014**Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina Rosario 50Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia Flag of France.svg  France Flag of Chinese Taipei for Olympic games.svg  Chinese Taipei
642015**Flag of Chinese Taipei for Olympic games.svg  Chinese Taipei Kaohsiung 41Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia Flag of South Korea.svg  South Korea Flag of France.svg  France
652016**Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China Nanjing Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia Flag of France.svg  France Flag of Italy.svg  Italy
662017**Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China NanjingFlag of Colombia.svg  Colombia
672018**Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands Arnhem Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia
682019**Flag of Spain.svg  Spain Barcelona Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia
692020**Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia Cartagena and Arjona

Olympic status

Attempts by the world governing body for roller sports, the International Roller Sports Federation (FIRS), to gain Olympic status for any of its disciplines were distinctly insufficient in the closing decades of the 20th century. Most notably, it failed to capitalize when rink hockey (a form of roller hockey) appeared as a demonstration sport at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona.

Efforts by FIRS to obtain Olympic status became more coherent in about 2000, with inline speed skating promoted as the roller sport best suited for the Olympics. However, the federation faces competition from approximately 20 other sports also seeking entry into the Olympics, while at the same time the president of the International Olympic Committee has expressed a desire to reduce the size of the summer Olympic Games. Roller sports was a candidate sport for the 2016 Summer Olympics, following the drop of baseball and softball, but the Olympic Committee eventually chose rugby sevens and golf instead.

Notably, roller speed or in-line speed skating has been an included sport at the World Games since their inception in 1981.

World records


Distance (m)SkaterTime/MarkDatePlace
300Simon AlbrechtFlag of Germany.svg  Germany 23.00328 July 2014Geisingen (Germany)
500Simon AlbrechtFlag of Germany.svg  Germany 38.60129 July 2014Geisingen (Germany)
1000 Bart Swings Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium 1:17.43130 July 2014Geisingen (Germany)
1500G. De PersioFlag of Italy.svg  Italy 2:07.7701 August 1980Finale Emilia (Italy)
2000R. KloessFlag of Germany.svg  Germany 2:54.56028 August 1980Inzell (Germany)
3000Giuseppe De PersioFlag of Italy.svg  Italy 4:21.7641 August 1980Finale Emilia (Italy)
5000Mirko GiupponiFlag of Italy.svg  Italy 7:34.93829 August 1987Grenoble (France)
10000 Alexis Contin Flag of France.svg  France 13:46.48828 July 2014Geisingen (Germany)
15000 Alexis Contin Flag of France.svg  France 21:22.50829 July 2014Geisingen (Germany)
20000Paolo BombenFlag of Italy.svg  Italy 30:52.79229 August 1987Grenoble (France)
30000T. RossiFlag of Italy.svg  Italy 47:42.82029 August 1987Grenoble (France)
50000T. RossiFlag of Italy.svg  Italy 1:20:17.73629 August 1987Grenoble (France)
Hour recordFelix RijhnenFlag of Germany.svg  Germany 39.932 km5 July 2020Geisingen (Germany)
Distance (m)SkaterTime/MarkDatePlace
300Shin SoyeongFlag of South Korea.svg  South Korea 25.70215 November 2015Kaohsiung (Taiwan)
500Laethisia SchimekFlag of Germany.svg  Germany 42.17529 July 2014Geisingen (Germany)
1000Erika ZanettiFlag of Italy.svg  Italy 1:25.27730 July 2014Geisingen (Germany)
1500Marisa CanafogliaFlag of Italy.svg  Italy 2:14.64427 August 1987Grenoble (France)
2000Nicola MalmstromFlag of Germany.svg  Germany 3:02.02528 August 1988Inzell (Germany)
3000Marisa CanafogliaFlag of Italy.svg  Italy 4:38.46429 August 1987Grenoble (France)
5000Marisa CanafogliaFlag of Italy.svg  Italy 7:48.50830 August 1987Grenoble (France)
10000Sabine BergFlag of Germany.svg  Germany 15:05.58728 July 2014Geisingen (Germany)
15000Sandrine TasFlag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium 23:39.99029 July 2014Geisingen (Germany)
20000Annie LambrechtsFlag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium 32:53.97028 June 1985Leuven (Belgium)
30000Annie LambrechtsFlag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium 49:15.90628 June 1985Leuven (Belgium)
50000Annie LambrechtsFlag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium 1:21:26.94228 June 1985Leuven (Belgium)
100000Helle CarlsenFlag of Denmark.svg  Denmark 3:31:58September 1998New York (USA)
Hour recordMareike ThumFlag of Germany.svg  Germany 34.336 km5 July 2020Geisingen (Germany)


Distance (m)SkaterTimeDatePlace
100 Daniel Greig Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia 9.43913 July 2019Barcelona (Spain)
200Joseba FernandezFlag of Spain.svg  Spain 15.87912 September 2012S. Benedetto Tronto (Italy)
300Andres Felipe MuñozFlag of Colombia.svg  Colombia 23.62821 March 2010Gijon (Spain)
500Andres Felipe MuñozFlag of Colombia.svg  Colombia 37.8434 August 2013Cali (Colombia)
1000 Ippolito Sanfratello Flag of Italy.svg  Italy 1:17.75717 June 1999Padua (Italy)
1500 Chad Hedrick Flag of the United States.svg  United States 1:57.69817 June 1999Padua (Italy)
2000Derek DowningFlag of the United States.svg  United States 2:40.65817 June 1999Padua (Italy)
3000Fabio MarangoniFlag of Italy.svg  Italy 4:18.37917 June 1999Padua (Italy)
5000Arnaud GicquelFlag of France.svg  France 6:43.90030 July 2003Padua (Italy)
10000Fabio FrancoliniFlag of Italy.svg  Italy 13:09.1792 August 2014Geisingen (Germany)
15000 Chad Hedrick Flag of the United States.svg  United States 22:11.9602 August 2000Barrancabermeja (Colombia)
20000Bart SwingsFlag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium 28:15.38312 September 2012San Benedetto del Tronto (Italy)
30000Derek DowningFlag of the United States.svg  United States 48:42.17928 August 1997Road Rash Nationals (United States)
42195 (marathon) Bart Swings Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium 56:4926 September 2015Berlin (Germany)
50000Maurizio LollobrigidaFlag of Italy.svg  Italy 1:21:29.10228 August 1997Grenoble (France)
84390Luca PrestiFlag of Italy.svg  Italy 2:14:37.0003 November 1999Santiago (Chile)
100000Philippe BoulardFlag of France.svg  France 2:55:55September 1998New York (United States)
Distance (m)SkaterTimeDatePlace
200Victoria Rodríguez LópezFlag of Argentina.svg  Argentina 17.59412 September 2012San Benedetto del Tronto (Italy)
300Andrea GonzálezFlag of Argentina.svg  Argentina 26.79126 July 1999Winnipeg (Canada)
500Valentina BelloniFlag of Italy.svg  Italy 42.2101998Coulaines (France)
1000Marisa CanafogliaFlag of Italy.svg  Italy 1:28.01428 August 1987Grenoble (France)
1500Marisa CanafogliaFlag of Italy.svg  Italy 2:14.12228 August 1987Grenoble (France)
2000Luz Mery TristánFlag of Colombia.svg  Colombia 3:07.04012 November 1990Bello (Colombia)
3000Francesca MonteverdeFlag of Italy.svg  Italy 4:55.50629 August 1987Grenoble (France)
5000Simona Di EugenioFlag of Italy.svg  Italy 7:40.53030 July 2003Padua (Italy)
10000Hochen YangFlag of Chinese Taipei for Olympic games.svg  Chinese Taipei 15:02.7936 September 2006Anyang (Korea)
15000Sheila HerreroFlag of Spain.svg  Spain 24:57.8202 August 2000Barrancabermeja (Colombia)
20000Seul LeeFlag of South Korea.svg  South Korea 31.58.0079 September 2008Gijon (Spain)
21097 (1/2 marathon)Adelia MarraFlag of Italy.svg  Italy 35:02.93028 August 1987Pamplona (Spain)
30000Marisa CanafogliaFlag of Italy.svg  Italy 52:38.64028 August 1987Grenoble (France)
40000Sheila HerreroFlag of Spain.svg  Spain 1:18:01.0003 October 1999Santiago (Chile)
42195 (marathon)Maira Yaqueline AriasFlag of Argentina.svg  Argentina 1:06:3523 September 2017Berlin (Germany)
50000Marisa CanafogliaFlag of Italy.svg  Italy 1:28:16.85228 August 1987Grenoble (France)

See also

Related Research Articles

Speed skating Competitive form of ice skating in which competitors race each other

Speed skating is a competitive form of ice skating in which the competitors race each other in travelling a certain distance on skates. Types of speed skating are long track speed skating, short track speed skating, and marathon speed skating. In the Olympic Games, long-track speed skating is usually referred to as just "speed skating", while short-track speed skating is known as "short track". The International Skating Union (ISU), the governing body of both ice sports, refers to long track as "speed skating" and short track as "short track skating".

Inline skates Type of roller skate

Inline skates are a type of roller skate used for inline skating. Unlike quad skates, which have two front and two rear wheels, inline skates typically have two to five wheels arranged in a single line. Some, especially those for recreation, have a rubber "stop" or "brake" block attached to the rear of one or occasionally both of the skates so that the skater can slow down or stop by leaning back on the foot with the brake skate.

Bearing (mechanical) Mechanism to constrain relative movement to the desired motion and reduce friction

A bearing is a machine element that constrains relative motion to only the desired motion, and reduces friction between moving parts. The design of the bearing may, for example, provide for free linear movement of the moving part or for free rotation around a fixed axis; or, it may prevent a motion by controlling the vectors of normal forces that bear on the moving parts. Most bearings facilitate the desired motion by minimizing friction. Bearings are classified broadly according to the type of operation, the motions allowed, or to the directions of the loads (forces) applied to the parts.

Roller skating Sport, activity, or form of transportation involving shoes with small wheels attached to the soles

Roller skating is traveling on surfaces with roller skates. It is a recreational activity, a sport, and a form of transportation. Roller rinks and skate parks are built for roller skating, though it also takes place on streets, sidewalks, and bike paths.

Inline skating Sport discipline

Inline skating is a multi-disciplinary sport and can refer to a number of activities practiced using inline skates. Inline skates typically have two to five polyurethane wheels, arranged in a single line by a metal or plastic frame on the underside of a boot. The in-line design allows for greater speed and maneuverability than traditional roller skates. Following this basic design principle, inline skates can be modified to varying degrees to accommodate niche disciplines.

Longboard (skateboard)

A longboard is a type of skateboard. It is often longer than a conventional skateboard and has a wide variety of shapes. It tends to be faster because of wheel size, construction materials and more precise hardware. Longboards are commonly used for cruising, traveling and downhill racing, known as longboarding. Longboard 'dancing' and 'freestyle' are also becoming more popular styles, in which the rider uses skateboard-like motions and steps up and down the board, generally in a fluid manner.


Longboarding is riding on a longboard. Longboards vary in shape and size. Compared to skateboards, longboards are more stable, and have more traction and durability due to larger wheel size and lower wheel durometers. Generally, a skateboard comes in between 28-34 inches long and 7-10 inches wide, while a longboard has a length of 35-60 inches and a width of 9-10 inches. Many longboards use trucks (axles) that have different geometric parameters than skateboards. There are a variety of longboard disciplines, and types of longboards. Longboarding has competitive races down hill where riders can reach speeds exceeding 60 mph (97 km/h). The wider turning radius of longboards, as well as their ability to coast long distances make them more suitable for cruising and commuting on streets than regular skateboards.

Artistic roller skating Type of sport similar to figure skating

Artistic roller skating is a sport similar to figure skating but where competitors wear roller skates instead of ice skates. Within artistic roller skating, there are several disciplines:

Gravity racer

A gravity racer or soapbox is a motorless vehicle which is raced on a downhill road either against the clock or against another competitor. Although most are built for the purpose of recreation, some gravity racing teams take the sport more seriously and compete to win. They are propelled by gravity and can achieve speeds upwards of 164 km/h.

Kick scooter Human-powered land vehicle

A kick scooter is a human-powered street vehicle with a handlebar, deck, and wheels propelled by a rider pushing off the ground. Today, the most common scooters are made of aluminum, titanium, and steel. Some kick scooters made for younger children have 3 to 4 wheels and are made of plastic or don't fold. High-performance Kickbikes made for adults resemble the old "penny-farthing".

Roller skiing Sport discipline

Roller skiing is an off-snow equivalent to cross-country skiing. Roller skis have wheels on their ends and are used on a hard surface, to emulate cross-country skiing. The skiing techniques used are very similar to techniques used in cross-country skiing on snow.

Road skating is the sport of skating on roads, much like road cycling. It shares much with inline speed skating.

Roller sports are sports that use human powered vehicles which use rolling either by gravity or various pushing techniques. Typically ball bearings and polyurethane wheels are used for momentum and traction respectively, and attached to devices or vehicles that the roller puts his weight on. The international governing body is World Skate.

Cross-country cycling

Cross-country (XC) cycling is a discipline of mountain biking. Cross-country cycling became an Olympic sport in 1996 and is the only form of mountain biking practiced at the Olympics.

Skateboard Wheeled wooden board used for skateboarding

A skateboard is a type of sports equipment used for skateboarding. They are usually made of a specially designed 7-8 ply maple plywood deck with a polyurethane coating for smoothness and durability and wheels attached to the underside by a pair of skateboarding trucks.

Slalom skateboarding

Slalom skateboarding is a form of downhill skateboard racing that first appeared in the 1960s and 1970s and has made a resurgence in popularity in the 2000s. Slalom racers skate down a course usually marked by plastic cones. The racer tries to get through the course with the fastest time, while knocking down the fewest cones. Each cone typically carries a penalty of a fraction of a second which is added to the skater's time.

Aggressive inline skating Sport discipline

Aggressive inline skating is a sub discipline of inline skating in the action sports canon, which emphasizes the execution of tricks. Aggressive inline skates are specially modified to accommodate grinds and jumps. Aggressive skating can take place on found street obstacles or at skate parks.

Cross-country skiing (sport) Competitive winter sport

The sport of cross-country skiing encompasses a variety of formats for cross-country skiing races over courses of varying lengths according to rules sanctioned by the International Ski Federation and by various national organizations, such as the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and Cross Country Ski Canada. International competitions include the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships, the FIS Cross-Country World Cup, and at the Winter Olympic Games. Such races occur over homologated, groomed courses designed to support classic (in-track) and freestyle events, where the skiers may employ skate skiing. It also encompasses cross-country ski marathon events, sanctioned by the Worldloppet Ski Federation, and cross-country ski orienteering events, sanctioned by the International Orienteering Federation. Related forms of competition are biathlon, where competitors race on cross-country skis and stop to shoot at targets with rifles, and paralympic cross-country skiing that allows athletes with disabilities to compete at cross-country skiing with adaptive equipment.

World Skate roller sports governing body

World Skate is the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recognised organisational body for roller sports. The organisation is the successor of the Fédération Internationale de Roller Sports (FIRS) and was formed via the merger of the FIRS and the International Skateboarding Federation (ISF) in September 2017, after FIRS was selected by the IOC as the world governing body of skateboarding in preparation for the scheduled skateboarding events at the Japan 2020 Olympics.


  1. " - The Sanctioning Body of Inline Downhill in the World".