Rollerblading is derived from the name of the first and largest manufacturer of inline skates. This means that when you say that you are rollerblading, you are only technically doing this if you are using inline skates made by the company, Rollerblade. If you are not using this brand, then you are inline skating.
History of Rollerblading and Skating
Rollerblades, or inline skates, are given the latter name because the wheels run in a line under the shoe or boot. The first records of roller skates are from the early 18th century and these were inline versions. From around the mid-19th century, the settings of the wheels changed to two pairs on each side of the base. These skates gave skaters more balance and were popularly used by children and teenagers. They were called roller skates. In the 1980s, designs returned to the much earlier eras and skates were made with one row of wheels.
The Development of Rollerblades
Brothers Scott and Brennan Olson of Minneapolis, Minnesota, are credited with reviving the old inline tradition for skates and started converting hockey boots to them with large wheels and a rubber heel brake. They continued with manufacturing these skates from their home until they sold out to the North American Sports Training Corporation in 1985. Rollerblades grew in popularity and the design was refined and enhanced to the versions that are currently being used.
Popularity as an Organized Sport
An organised body for the growing sport of inline skating was formed in 1991. It is the International Inline Skating Association and it gives guidance to skaters in safety matters as well as training and certifying instructors. International recognition of inline skating came in 1999 when it was included in the Pan-American Games. There are extreme versions of inline skating and these are promoted by the Aggressive Skaters Association.
Popularity as a Pastime
Not all skaters want to compete formally and it can be used as a fun activity that enhances fitness. It improves cardiorespiratory performance and muscular capacity. It is recommended that participants use protective clothing when skating. Rollerblading is also utilised by some young enthusiasts as a means of transport, particularly in urban areas. The advantage is that, while somewhat dangerous unless you are an expert, you can weave in and out of congested sidewalks or even streets and make better progress than some other urban transport modes.