The Roller Derby World Cup Crosses the Pond

Egle Vaitekenaite talks the Roller Derby World Cup as it heads to Manchester

Egle Vaitekenaite
12th February 2018
Roller Derby has become an increasingly popular sport across the world. Image: Wikipedia Commons

Not many British people might know about one of the most popular indoor roller staking sports in the United States.

The roller derby, which is played by two teams racing against each other, emerged in 1935 in Chicago, Illinois. Because of the growing popularity of roller skating in the US, the activity started to convert into sport by the end of the 19th century, attracting many fans and enthusiasts who raced for the cash prizes.

The first races were held on both flat and banked tracks, as people enjoyed the falls and spills of the racers. It became a more popular sport by the late 1930s and made its debut on the New York television in 1948. The roller derby hit its peak in 1972, where more than 50,000 fans came to see a game in Chicago.

The contemporary roller derby is not so difficult to understand. The game consists of short matches called jams. Both teams have to select the jammer who wins the points, while lapping the members of the opposite team.

There are three positions in the roller derby: the jammer, blocker and the pivot, and the jams are usually two minutes long.

At the moment, there are more that 4,700 roller derby clubs around the world. It can be argued that the roller derby is more popular among females as there are around 2,000 amateur female leagues worldwide. Another interesting fact is that roller derby is under consideration for the Olympic Games.

For the first time in its history, the roller derby came to England to attract the fans and admirers of the sport. The Roller Derby World Cup 2018 took place in Manchester as the third World Cup so far.

The championship, which took place in Event City arena from 1-4 February, attracted participants from 38 countries. For the first time it was available to watch via the BBC's website, reflecting the sports growing popularity this side of the Atlantic.

The teams competed on four tracks, with the United Stated winning first place, Australia second and Canada coming in third.

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