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Inline Skating History - Roller Skating - Rollerblades

Whether you're using them to play hockey, get to the corner store or just blow past that old granny that's walking about two miles an hour - inline skating, otherwise known as rollerblading, is one of the most convenient ways to move yourself around. So where did this whole skating on shoes thing start anyway?

Well, it all started more than 250 years ago in Belgium. A man named Merlin (no relation to the magician) took a pair of skates and attached some wheels to the bottom of them. Great idea, right? Well, this genius, Merlin, failed to build a braking system for his new invention. On his first attempt with the wheels, he flew out of control through his hallway and slammed into an expensive mirror. He was severely injured and had seven years of bad luck on top of that.

Despite Merlin's little episode, roller skating technology made some advances. By 1840, roller skating was a big hit in Germany. A bar in Berlin even had pretty, young girls wearing roller skates while they served customers. When roller skating came to the United States in the early 1900s, roller rinks popped up all over the country. By this time roller skates had a front brake and four or six wheels.

In 1980, the modern day inline skate began to take shape. Two brothers from Minnesota redesigned the roller skate so they could train for hockey in the summer time. They added a brake on the back and changed the wheels so they could skate on it as they did on ice. Out of that came the modern day inline skate. Inline skate brands like Oxygen, Rollerblade and K2 are as commonly known as many clothing lines. Roller hockey is now one of the fastest growing sports in North America. There's now extreme inline skating with competitions on half pipes and ramps - kinda like skateboarding. So next time you're burning around the neighborhood on wheels, be sure to remember the sacrifices Merlin made hundreds of years ago.

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