Roller Skate Nationals Competition Rolls into the Memorial Coliseum

By Scott Sarvay

July 18, 2011 Updated Jul 18, 2011 at 12:22 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) - Thousands of people are packing the Memorial Coliseum the next few weeks for the national competition of a sport you've probably never heard of.

You may recognize the terms "short track" or "long track," popularized by Olympic Gold Medalist Apollo Anton Ono.

But Ono started his career on wheels, rather than blades.

And now roller competition is close to being sanctioned as an Olympic sport.

Fort Wayne has worked for 20-years to bring the roller nationals here, and the competitors and fans are expected to pump about $5 million into the local economy.

And dozens of the racers are home-grown.

Local Speed Skating Competitor Cory Hickson says, “I didn't set out to set the national record. It was my first final ever on inlines and I just won it. I was moving up to the pack, and I found myself up front wanting to go, and I just kept stepping. And when I go around to the finish line and they said new national record, I'm like, yes, you know?"

The speed competition continues all this week.

The figure skating begins next week at the Coliseum.

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