Pan Am Roller Skating

Roller Sports - Figure Skating

Roller Sports - Figure Skating

Photo Gallery

Sport Overview

John Joseph Merlin, the Belgian who first patented the roller skate, probably never imagined what the competitors in roller sports figure skating would do with his invention. Much like the better-known (at least in Canada) figure skating on ice, roller sports figure skating features men and women competing in solo performances of balletic, choreographed routines set to music. The routines include jumps, spins, footwork and dance-like elements scored by judges. The judging panel rewards speed, height in jumps, control, variety, originality and the sense of connection from one element to the next.

Competitors use the familiar four-wheel skates with matching pairs of wheels at the toe and heel.

To date, Colombia has been the reigning champion in both roller sports figure skating and speed skating events.


Roller skating originated in 17th century Holland when a Dutchman, disappointed at not being able to ice skate when the canals had thawed, attached a set of wooden wheels to his shoes and starting “skating” on land. The first patented roller skate, by Belgian John Joseph Merlin, appeared in 1760 and featured metal wheels.

How it works

In roller sports figure skating, competitors wear skates with four wheels —two in front, two at the back — and are judged on routines that include jumps, spins and choreographed movements to music.

Additional Information

Additional Information