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Skaters ready to roll at Buenos Aires 2018

24 March 2017

BUENOS AIRES 2018: A fourth new sport will make its Youth Olympic Games (YOG) debut at Buenos Aires 2018.

Roller sports will see 12 male and 12 female athletes race around a patinodrome in Argentina’s capital city in October next year.

The inline speed skating discipline will consist of a combined event, where athletes will compete in 500m, 1000m and 5000m races. The combined results from these races will then determine the medallists.

Roller sports joins sport climbing, karate and break dancing in making their YOG debut in the Argentinean capital.

With these additions a total of 32 YOG sports will be contested by the world’s best 15-18-year-old athletes from over 200 countries.

President of Skate Australia, Karen Doyle was thrilled with the annoucement.

"It is a fantastic achievement to the work FIRS (Federation Internationale de Roller Sport) has undertaken in demonstrating to the IOC over a number of years that Inline Speed Skating was worthy of recognition culminating in inclusion for the 2018 YOG program," Ms Doyle said.

"Exposure to this discipline of our sport to the youth of the world on such a prestigious global stage, we hope, encourages young people to take up this exciting fast sport both here in Australia and overseas."

According to Ms Doyle the inclusion of the sport in the YOG programme could be the opportunity young Australian skaters have been hoping for to progress their performance on the international stage.

"Skate Australia has between 20 and 30 skaters that meet the age criteria set down for the 2018 YOG with a 60/40 split of male and female athletes," she said.

"Many of these skaters are starting out their representative journey for Australia at the Oceania Inline Speed Championships that will be held in Brisbane at Easter.

"Australian Inline Speed Skaters will benefit from the increased recognition of our sport and more competition on the road to qualification for the YOG in Buenos Aires, 2018."

The sport has never been contested at any version of the Olympic Games in the past, but did feature in the ‘Sports Lab’ at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games.

The Sports Lab was a unique venue at Nanjing that showcased the sports of skateboarding, speed climbing, roller sports and wushu in a fun, non-competitive environment to the public in the Chinese city.

An IOC statement said: “Roller speed is a completely new event on the Olympic programme at Buenos Aires 2018 and fits with local youth appeal and culture.”

With skateboarding and sports climbing set to debut at Tokyo 2020, and wushu already part of the Asian Games, it might not be long until we see roller sports making its mark on the world’s largest sporting stage.

Georgia Thompson
olympics.com.au

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