The beginnings of speed skating activities can be traced to around 1880, when roller skating rinks conducted professional quad skating races to attract spectators and held amateur quad races to attract more skaters. Back in 1937, skaters raced in quad speed skates at the first Roller Skating World Championships. By 1992, inline speed skates came into use for international roller race competitions.
Today, inline speed skates have replaced quad skates in both domestic and international events, and inline speed skating - sometimes called inline racing - is a very popular and challenging low impact aerobic activity as well as an internationally recognized roller skating sport. Either name describes this sport accurately, since this is the sport for racing on inline skates. Inline racers sometimes travel at speeds of 30 to 50 kilometers per hour. Inline racing grew from quad racing, but it is similar enough to ice speed skating to allow many athletes with an interest in Olympic level competition to cross over between the ice and inline speed skating disciplines. There are even transfer camps to help inline racing athletes make this transition.
Inline speed skating is an extremely competitive international sport that can be conducted using either short or long distance races. These races can be held on a variety of surfaces including indoor roller skating rinks, multi-use sports facilities, outdoor road circuits and banked tracks. In this inline sport the athletes wear high-tech inline speed skates and aerodynamically designed skin suits which are both designed to facilitate speed. Safety helmets are always worn and gloves are added for road competitions.
People choose inline speed skating as their sport for many reasons:
- Speed skating is a lot of fun
- Speed skating is a great way to achieve fitness goals
- Inline racing has social benefits
- Medals can be won and records can be broken
- There are many opportunities for domestic and even international travel
- Speed skating can become an easy access family activity
- Racing is an on-going challenge for dedicated participants
Speed skaters can join a racing team, skate with friends or skate alone for fitness or in training. Equipment and gear can be very expensive, but new entry level skates or carefully selected used equipment is affordable for beginners. Your team will tell you where to get skinsuits and other official gear. You should learn the basics first, then enjoy years of skill development and athletic achievements as an inline speed skater.
Speed Skaters Combine Skill and Strategy
Inline racing is not for dummies. A thorough knowledge of a variety of strategic maneuvers and specific speed skating techniques may be needed by athletes who want to skate fast and clean enough to be the first skater to cross the finish line. Some of the tactics used in inline racing are similar to those used in bicycle racing and ice speed skating marathons. Take a look at some of the skills and strategies inline racers use:
- It Takes More Than Skating Fast and Turning Left
- Learn to Use and Control the Pack
- Skating as an Individual or Part of a Group
- WKnow Yourself, Your Competition and Your Event
World Inline Racing Records
The World Class outdoor speed skaters skate to the the international standards of road and track racing. These courses require constant power, with little or no opportunity to coast, so endurance is a key factor in success. Take a look at the current world record holders in inline racing: