We know rollerskating has been around for a while, but just how long has it been around? Believe it or not, the first patent was released in 1760(!) by John Joseph Merlin. While the idea was great, without brakes, it made it hard to steer or stop. It wasn’t until 1863 when James Plimpton invented the “rocking” skate that had independent axles and allows you to easily turn by pressing to one side of the skate. This vast improvement is what allowed rollerskating to soar in population in Europe in the 1860s and 1870s, then eventually the United States in the 1930s. The phrase “rinkomania” was used to describe all the craze.
In fact, the Plimpton skate is still used today and was the driving factor in what led skating to enter the sporting world. In the mid 1990s, people began playing hockey with a ball and on roller blades instead of the traditional ice skates and hockey puck. The sport became so popular it was considered for the 2012 Olympics, but has yet to become an Olympic event.
Although it’s no longer called “rinkomania” and it’s not yet in the Olympics, roller sports is one of the sports vying for one of eight spots in the 2020 Olympics. As of last September, roller sports made it to the final five of possible additions to the 2020 Olympics. Who will be added to the 2020 Olympics will be announced during the August 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Keep your fingers crossed skating fans, we might be having an Olympics event at Skatetown, TX in 2020!