Country Dancing

American Roller Sports Championship


In June and July 2023, the Olympic Fun Center in Hermitage, PA hosted the American Roller Sports Championship Competition. The US Roller Speed Skating races were held from June 14-18; then the American Artistic Roller Skating events took place from June 28-July 2. This rink has a special place in my heart for a few reasons: it is where my son first learned how to roller skate, he also eventually joined their speed skating team, and his first job as a teenager was there. He still works for them on occasion, and continues to train and practice when time permits. 

When I heard that Olympic was chosen as the host site for these competitions, I was happy for the owners; they are family-oriented people who deserved this opportunity. Since the rink is so close to where I live, I was also excited to be able to watch my son compete in speed skating. I was, however, anxious because he hasn’t competed for several years; his life is busy now with a career, marriage, and my grandson! 

The first race I was able to watch was one of his inline qualifiers; all I could think was “please don’t fall, you’re a dad now!” He’s not a fan of being in the limelight, so I won’t take up too much time here bragging. The 3-man inline relay team he raced with won gold; unfortunately, I didn’t see that race, but his wife and son were there. I was thankful to see all his quad (roller skates) races; he won three individual silver medals. His final race was a 2-man quad relay and they won gold. As proud as I was of his wins, what impressed me most was what every person I met said about him, including his teammates, competitors, coaches, and several parents. They all told me what a wonderful man he is and they were glad to spend time with him at this event. 

Since I had never seen an artistic roller skating event, I was very intrigued; I was able to watch the Solo Dance Competition on the final day. The competitors were both women and men and the levels were Novice, Esquire, and Veterans. The music for these events was played live by an amazing organ player. Each group was given a chance to warmup on the floor before their event. The costumes ranged from basic to very intricate; however, within their level the skaters completed the same “dance” steps at certain points on the floor in a pattern. What struck me was everyone’s ability to smoothly glide around the floor while accomplishing their compulsories. The fan support impressed me; everyone applauded as they skated past, and some rang cowbells! 

The artistic skaters, coaches, and families were very welcoming to me and my questions about their sport. I realized that their routines had a few similarities to line dancing: from basic steps to advanced ones performed at specific points in the music facing various walls. The main difference is they cover the entire floor, since they’re wearing roller skates and not dance shoes or cowboy boots! 

Several months ago, I taught this dance; the steps remind me of the gracefulness exhibited by the artistic skaters: 

Crowded Mind

Dori Yez will continue to write her monthly article here; and may also “guest instruct” at local venues/events!