Roller Figure Skating Finds a Place in the Limelight
Participant numbers are a lower than usual at the 2010 World Roller Figure Skating Championships in Portimao, Portugal because of the conflict in timing with the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China. But it looks like there is something good coming out of the scheduling conflict. An Associated Press article about the roller figure sports debut in the Asian Games complete with a "Johnny Weir" look alike (Shingo Nishiki from Japan) has been picked up internationally, nationally and locally by Yahoo Sports, MSN Sports and many other internet news bureaus:
This worldwide newsfeed coverage is a breakthrough that we could use for every national and international roller sports event. Every artistic roller skater is painfully aware that few people know very much about their chosen sport. Quads are often described as old school skates - even though the frame technology now includes titanium, boots are super lightweight microfiber compounds and wheels can use aircraft aluminum hubs. Some wonder if artistic skating is part of the roller derby revival and our biggest audiences and fan clubs are each other. We even gave in and started using the term "roller figure skater" instead of "artistic skater" to help friends, relatives and media understand that what we do is the same figure and dance skating that the ice skaters do at their championships. This AP article feed clearly explains what we do in language that any skater or armchair skating enthusiast can understand.
European and South American roller figure skaters get a little more media attention than skaters in North America. But, it is still not nearly enough to get the participation numbers, press coverage and fan base needed to slide roller sports into the Olympic circle of sports.
We all do what we can to promote our sport and dispel the myths. One of the best recent efforts was a short edited by Jaymee Mason, a Michigan USARS competitor and coach. Her "Anything You Can Do: Roller Propaganda" video expresses and shows how we all feel. Many skaters and skating enthusiasts have websites, newsletters and other promos for our sport, but what we really need is more timely viral articles by the big news services to spread the word as well and as quickly as this AP Asian Games report. Now, lets find some more media darlings like Shingo Nishiki, continue to fire up your laptops and let the media feel the strength of our worldwide numbers. The digital media is beginning to put us in the limelight.
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