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Roller skates are devices worn on the feet to enable the wearer to roll along on wheels, consisting of a boot with four wheels with ball bearings, arranged in the same way as those of a typical car.

Contents

History

Girl on roller skates, 1921
Women's suffragist on roller skates at the White House, 1917

The first patented roller skate was introduced in the year 1760. The inventor was a Belgian named John Joseph Merlin. His invention did not become very popular. The initial "test pilot" of the first prototype of the skate was his grandson Bernard Tyers, aged 12 from Waterford, Ireland.

In 1863, James Plimpton from Massachusetts invented the "rocking" skate. This was an improvement on the roller skate that allowed skaters to turn easily around corners. This invention opened the door for the masses to enjoy roller skating.

Eventually, roller skating evolved from just a pastime to a competitive sport, beginning with roller hockey. This sport became so popular that it even made an appearance in the Olympics in 1992. Roller Skating was considered as an event at the 2012 Summer Olympics [1]. The National Sporting Goods Association statistics showed, from a 1999 study, that 2.5 million people played roller hockey. Other roller skating sports include speed skating, figure skating and roller derby. Roller skating popularity exploded during the disco era but tapered off in the 80s and 90s.

The Roller Skating Rink Operators Association was developed in the United States in 1937. It is currently named the Roller Skating Association. The association promotes roller skating and offers classes to the public, aiming to educate the population about roller skating. The current President is Wade Avery. The Roller Skating Association headquarters is located in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Health benefits

The Roller Skating Association’s web page offers some health benefits of roller skating. Some of these benefits include providing a complete aerobic workout and burning 350 calories per hour while skating 6 miles per hour or 600 calories while skating 10 miles per hour. Roller skating is equivalent to jogging in terms of health benefits. The American Heart Association recommends roller skating as an aerobic fitness sport.

Museums

Roller skating has become such a popular pastime that there are museums dedicated to its history. The National Museum of Roller Skating in Lincoln, Nebraska claims to own the largest collection of historical roller skates in the world, together with pictures, medals, films, costumes, etc. that have significance. It also hosts a large library of roller skating books and has video clips of highlights from roller skating competitions. Donations of anything that reflects “the history of roller skating on a local, regional, national, and international level” are encouraged.

Entertainment

The activity has also made it to the small screen with appearances in American entertainment. One example of this is a music video of Madonna's featuring Madonna herself sporting some roller skates[citation needed]. A more recent example is in Jessica Simpson's music video for her song “A Public Affair”. The video stars Jessica Simpson, Christina Applegate, Eva Longoria, Christina Milian, Andy Dick and Ryan Seacrest. It shows the four women “stepping out for a public affair” in a roller rink. The women are shown roller skating through the entirety of the video. There is even a dance crew who dances on roller skates named Breaksk8.

Types

See also

References

External links

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