“Everybody loves wheels,” that is how World Skate promotes the various disciplines of roller and inline skating sports that they administer. This week, people will have a chance to see for themselves whether that statement is true, as the World Roller Games 2019 takes place.
What is the World Roller Games?
The World Roller Games is a separate event from The World Games. It brings together eleven World Championships in each of the skating disciplines administered by World Skate. Whether you enjoy sports that showcase speed, beauty, action, acrobatics, there will be an event that will have you applauding and cheering. All the sports though have one thing in common, they are all performed on wheels, whether that is roller skates, inline skates, scooters or skateboards. If you are a fan of the ice sports at the Winter Olympics, then there is probably an equivalent of your favourite activity at the World Roller Games.
Where is the World Roller Games taking place?
The second holding of the World Roller Games takes place in Barcelona from the 4thto the 14thof July. The premier of the biannual roller sports festival took place two years ago, in the Chinese city of Nanking, just a few weeks after the successful Polish edition of The World Games. Thus athletes who competed at Wroclaw 2017 had a double chance of podium glory in quick succession. Most of the World Roller Games sports venues in the Catalan capital are ones that were used in the 1992 Olympics, though some of the neighbouring towns will also host rink hockey.
What sports will be part of the World Roller Games?
There are eleven different sports in the World Roller Games. The four (with Olympic equivalent in brackets) that will be included in the next edition of The World Games in Birmingham, Alabama in 2021 are:
Artistic Skating (Figure skating and ice dancing)
Inline Hockey (Ice Hockey)
Speed Skating Track (Speed skating)
Speed Skating Road (Athletics- middle and long distance)
The skating community will be officially included in the full Olympic Games for the first time when Skateboarding (snowboarding) medals are contested at the Tokyo 2020 Games. The popular sport showed its appeal in Buenos Aires last year, when it was part of the Youth Olympics programme. In the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, Roller Hockey (hockey) was presented, but only as a demonstration sport. The other sports on display in Catalonia are Alpine (Slalom skiing), Downhill (Luge), Inline Freestyle (Artistic Gymnastics- Floor), Roller Freestyle (Skiing Slopestyle) Scooter (Snowboard Half Pipe) and Roller Derby (a contact form of Short track speed skating).
How can I follow the World Roller Games?
If you are fortunate enough to live near Barcelona, then you will not want to miss this amazing multi sport celebration. Catch the spectacular action in person, as tickets are still available from http://www.wrg2019.com/ticketing/If that is not an option, you can watch all the action on streams provided by The Olympic Channel and www.rollergames.tv. For the latest news on the event visit www.wrg2019.com/news
Which sports stars should I particularly look out for?
The World Roller Games will offer many people the opportunity to see roller sports for the first time. The Games will showcase many of the sports stars hoping to win medals at the Birmingham 2021 edition of The World Games. Here is a brief guide to the athletes present,who could make a huge impact in Alabama.
Inthe Speed Skating events, the Queen of the track is undoubtedly Fabriana Arias from Colombia. Her three golds and two silver medals made her the stand out performer in Wroclaw. However she is likely to face stiff competition from the lightning quick Francesca Lollobrigida, a relative of the famous Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida. The dominant force in the men's races is Bart Swings. His participation in the last two editions of The World Games (Cali 2013 & Wroclaw 2017) resulted in seven different trips to the podium, including four ascents of the top step. 2018 saw Swings have a successful Winter Olympics winning a silver medal. However his form dipped, as he tried to cope with the pressure of being Belgium's first Winter medalist in 20 years. Potential threats to Swings include fellow Winter Olympians Pedro Causil, the Colombian two time champion of The World Games and Peter Michael. The New Zealander was twice unlucky in PyeongChang, finishing in 4th place on two occasions.
When it comes to Artistic Skating, expect the Italians to dominate the podium. Luca Lucaroni's elegant, skilful routines charmed the judges in Wroclaw to award him gold in freestyle, and then again with partner Rebecca Tarlazzi. However, do not discount the challenge of Sara Venerucci in the pairs competition; the veteran skater has medaled at the last three editions of The World Games. In the Artistic Dance competition in Wroclaw, Elena Leoni found a neat way of turning silver into gold, by teaming up with Alessandro Spigal, the man who had beaten her to the top step of the podium in Cali, four years earlier.
There was a surprise in the Inline Skating competition in Wroclaw, when the three times champion, the United States failed to even make the podium, having been displaced at the top by the Czech Republic,who are the current World Champions. France, Italy and Switzerland have all medalled at recent events.
The World Roller Games are set to provide a memorable sports celebration, full of skill, drama, tension and thrills. We will also get an indication of which athletes are likely to shine at the Birmingham edition of The World Games. Will it be Sweet Home Alabama for the established stars of roller sport, or will new skaters emerge and be Rolling in the River of Success?
Brian Salmon for The World Games
The World Games is a multi-sport event staged every four years by the International World Games Association under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee. The 11th edition of The World Games will be held in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, 15-25 July 2021. 3,600 athletes from over 30 sports and 100 countries will take part in the Games.