History of Roller Sports

Tracing the legacy: the captivating history of roller sports.
Tracing the legacy: the captivating history of roller sports.

Roller skating began in the 1760s as a fast sport. Furthermore, roller skating began in the performing arts sector in the 18th century. It began to gain widespread popularity in the 1880s. In fact, it was prevalent in the United States in the 1930s (from 1930 to 1959). Particularly, roller skating became popular again in the 1970s. At the time, it went side by side with disco.

Meanwhile, the sport is speedy. It has recorded impressive speed limits of up to 50 km per hour. According to historical records, the earliest roller skates are 18th-century items.

These skates can be traced to Europe. However, skating was mostly a part of theatre at the time. It was used for musical performances and to simulate ice skating for audiences. 

In particular, 18th-century roller skating was on straight lines. It was like this because skating was extremely difficult at the time. The designs then were old and less innovative than the present options. Also, it was only used as a performance prop in the 1840s. It continued until the latter part of the 1840s. After this era, the sport began to grow.

The Basics

Roller speed skating tournaments are usually outdoor sports events. However, the event can hold indoors occasionally. There are traditionally rinks with banked walls for skating. Meanwhile, inline skates can have a maximum of five wheels. Additionally, the wheels worn by athletes can’t be more significant than 110 mm.

Brakes aren’t allowed, although you can combine a mass start with velodrome-like walls. Furthermore, the wheels can be 125 mm in diameter for marathons. You can also skate on 200 m tracks either outdoors or indoors.


The first nation to host roller skating is Italy. Meanwhile, the event was one of the leading sports in Monza in 1937. Additionally, in 1938, London hosted the roller speed skating championships. There was also another world championship in Barcelona in 1992. This time it was the Olympic summer games of 1992. Mainly, the sport that took place during the games was rink hockey. Rink hockey usually goes on quad skates. It is a demonstration sport. Additionally, the 1992 event was the first time that roller skating athletes participated in the Olympics.

Another milestone came in 2016. At the time, the governing body for the Olympics accepted roller skating as a game. It was for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. Meanwhile, roller speed skating appeared as a demonstration sport in the Olympics. It was at the 2014 Nanjing Summer Youth Olympic Games. Remarkably, it became part of the 2018 Summer Youth Olympic Games schedule in Buenos Aires. It was after getting a good reception in China.

Combined Challenge

Roller skating can go along with other sports, just like it happens at the Olympics. Additionally, as stated above, it has been part of the Olympics in previous seasons. Skating was a part of the games alongside other sports like running, javelin, high jump, and long jump. It was during the 2014 Summer Olympics in Nanjing. The same can be said about roller skating’s other appearances at the Olympics. The goal is to ensure that the sport gets highly competitive. It needs more recognition on the world stage.

Olympic History

Roller sports have always been a part of many tournaments. It is an exciting sport with a long history in the Olympic Games. Additionally, it was a part of the 1992SummerOlympicss games in Barcelona. Meanwhile, rink hockey was a part of the games. Rink hockey is one of the most famous roller sports. Also, roller sports were part of the 2014 Summer Olympics and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.