The Federation Internationale de Roller Sports (FIRS) is the world governing body for an extensive roster of roller skating related sports. This organization has a rich history which was started under a slightly different name to benefit one roller sport.
The Federation Internationale de Patinage a Roulettes (FIPR) was started as an international sport organization that was designed to oversee roller hockey events between the existing national federations in Western Europe at that time. The group had a roller hockey focus and it originated in Montreux, Switzerland in April of 1924. The first meeting of FIPR included two Swiss sportsmen, Fred Renkewitz (the first President of FIPR) and Otto Myer (the International Olympic Committee Chancellor) and four European countries (Switzerland, Great Britain, Germany and France).
- The first World Championship organized by FIPR was for Rink Hockey (also known as Ball and Cane Hockey) in 1936, hosted by Stuttgart, Germany.
- The next world championship was conducted in 1937 in Monza, Italy for Roller Speed Skating on the Road.
- In 1938 a FIPR World Championship was held in London, England for Track Roller Speed Skating and in Ferrara, Italy for the second Road Speed Skating World Championship.
- In 1939, the second Rink Hockey World Championship for FIPR was held in Montreux, Switzerland. After this event all World of the level roller skating championships were interrupted by World War II and did not resume again until 1947.
- In 1947 Rink Hockey returned with its third world championships in Lisbon, Portugal.
- Artistic Roller Skating conducted its first FIPR World Championships in Washington, USA in 1947, too.
From that time on, the three skating disciplines of FIPR conducted annual World Championships and expanded to include roller sports athletes from all of the continents around the world.
New Name and New Olympic Recognition
Under the direction of President Victoriano Oliveras de la Riva (1964 to 1973), FIPR changed its name to Federation Internationale de Roller Skating (FIRS) and also became officially recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in the mid 1960's as the international governing body for all competitive roller skating events. There was a lot of interest in getting roller sports into the Olympic Games at that time. The IOC recognition was a first step toward inclusion in the Olympic Games. In the 1970’s, the General Association of International Sport Federations (GAISF) gave similar membership recognition to FIRS.
Under the governance of FIRS, roller hockey became a Demonstration Sport at the 1992 Olympic Games of Barcelona. Then, the fourth discipline of roller sports, Inline Roller Hockey organized the first Inline Roller Hockey World Championship in Chicago, Illinois, USA during the summer of 1995. The FIRS membership authorized a second title change for the International Federation, by substituting “Roller Sports” for the previous description “Roller Skating.” This wording change allowed the federation to keep the FIRS acronym, but they replaced the former globe logo with the more contemporary current logo during the June 2000 Congress in Zell Am See, Austria.
Today the extensive roster of roller skating related sports governed by the Federation Internationale de Roller Sports (FIRS) includes speed skating, artistic skating, rink hockey, inline hockey, skateboarding, inline downhill, inline freestyle, roller derby as well as inline alpine sports. And the four layers of organization structure includes member federations and officials from countries all over the world.
The entire early history of FIRS can be reviewed in the book “Roller Skating – History and Introduction” which was published by FIRS in 1982. This roller sports history piece was written by Rolf Noess of Freiburg, Germany, who was the Secretary/General of FIRS at the time the book was written, and Camille Fetler of Bordeaux, France who served as the President of FIRS Rink Hockey from 1958 until 1976. Camille was awarded for her work with a FIRS Honorary Lifetime Membership.