Local speed skaters to compete at nationals in Spokane

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Courtesy photo From left, Tammy Kolda, 54, of Coeur d’Alene, Russell Kinney, 60, of Liberty Lake and Lucas Kinney, 16, of Liberty Lake competed in the recent regional speedskating championship in Puyallup, Wash.

Tammy Kolda, 54, of Coeur d’Alene, and Liberty Lake residents Lucas Kinney, 16, and his father Russell Kinney, 60, recently qualified for the 2019 USA Roller Sports National Championships, which are scheduled for July 17-Aug. 7 at the Spokane Convention Center.

It’s the first time the three competitors have qualified for nationals.

Roller sports are recognized by the International Olympic Committee. Inline speed skating was introduced as a separate category from quad skates in the early 1980s, and is a candidate sport for future Olympics. The sport is similar to ice speed skating, and some competitors are known to switch between inline and ice speed skating, according to the season.

Russell Kinney described the sport as “rollerblades on steroids, with larger diameter wheels and custom-fitted boots for a much faster ride.

This will mark the first time Spokane hosts the national championships, which had been held in Lincoln, Neb., for years. Spokane put in a successful bid to the governing body of USA Roller Sports (USARS).

“I think this will be a great springboard for our sport,” Russell Kinney said.

All disciplines of roller skating will be contested at nationals. Figure skating is scheduled from July 17-28, rink hockey from July 28-Aug. 3, speed skating from July 30-Aug. 6, and roller derby from Aug. 5-7.

Kolda and the Kinneys train at Skate Plaza in Coeur d’Alene.

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