Pan Am Roller Sports Speed Skating © 2013 Rollersports Canada / Eric Gee
Pan Am Roller Skating

Roller Sports - Speed Skating

Roller Sports - Speed Skating

Photo Gallery

Sport Overview

Men and women compete in three different events to identify the fastest athletes on eight wheels. Skaters push forward from a standing start and pursue gold in the 200-metre time trial, the 500-metre event and the 10,000-metre points event.

No country was able to beat the dominating Colombian team in the roller sports – speed skating events at the Guadalajara 2011 Pan Am Games, as they garnered five out of six possible gold medals. Ecuador took home the remaining gold, followed by Argentina who earned three silver and two bronze.


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.

Roller speed skating athletes now compete using inline skates, though the sport evolved from racing on traditional roller skates. As skate technology improved and advanced, so did roller speed skating as a competitive sport. The first World Championship for roller speed skating on the road was held in 1937, and the first World Championship for track roller speed skating was held in 1938. The sport first appeared as a demonstration sport at the 1979 Pan American Games, and has been in every Games since 1987. It was a demonstration sport at the 1992 Olympics, but has yet to land a spot in the Olympic program.

How it works

In the speed discipline, competitors wear skates with all wheels in a single row. Athletes compete in three individual events: 200-metre time trial, 500-metre sprint, and the 10,000-metre points race. The 200-metre time-trial begins with a standing start and each participant is timed individually, with the fastest time winning the event. In the 500-metre sprint, the first- and second- place skaters from each heat proceed to the next round until the field is reduced to four skaters in the final round. The 10,000-metre points race begins with a mass start – skaters race for points when the referee informs them, and the athlete with the highest number of points is the winner.


Finishing kick
An athlete’s final burst of speed in the last few metres of a race.

Additional Information

Additional Information