Roller Speed Skating
  • Olympic Debut
    YOG only
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Roller Speed Skating spotlight

History of

Roller Speed Skating

Roller speed skating is a fast-paced discipline, with some athletes reaching speeds of up to 50km per hour.

The Basics

Roller speed skating events are usually held on outdoor — and occasionally indoor — rinks with banked walls or on closed road circuits. A maximum of five wheels are allowed on the inline skates athletes wear, and wheels cannot exceed diameters of 110mm. For marathons only, skates can have 125mm diameter wheels. No brakes are allowed. The constant jostling for a favourable position combined with the mass start, velodrome-like walls and 200m track make for thrilling competitions often decided by photo finishes.


The first Roller Speed Skating World Championship was held in Monza, Italy, in 1937. The following year, London hosted the 1938 Track Roller Speed Skating World Championship. At the Olympic Summer Games Barcelona 1992, rink hockey, played on quad skates, was a demonstration sport. It marked the first time athletes on roller skates competed on the Olympic stage.