Orlando speed skating team races toward gold

Astro Speed team to represent Orlando in USA Roller Sports National Championship

ORLANDO, Fla. – Next week, Orlando's Astro Speed team will be going for the gold as they compete in a popular roller sport: inline speed skating.

"We're getting ready for the USA Roller Sports National Championship which is going to be in Spokane, Washington," Joe Hanna, Director of Indoor Inline Speed Skating for World Skate and coach said. "We're taking about 10 skaters. We've got several that are already national champions that are going in to defend, we've got our relays-- all kinds of good stuff and they're in all age divisions."

The team has been practicing every day, twice a day to prepare for the national championship.

"It takes a lot of work and you have to commit yourself to the sport,” Faith Walters said. “It takes a lot of technique and technique you can't just get overnight." 

Walters is well aware of the level of discipline it requires to become a top roller-athlete. At 13 years old, she ranked second nationwide in her age group.

Walters will be skating in a two-girl relay alongside Paige Nodarse from Tallahassee. It's a roller sport both girls joined 4 years ago, and although it's left them with some injuries, it's the love for the sport that keeps them rolling.

"I wouldn't really say the injuries are that bad because overall it gets you to a better place," Walters said.

Though the injuries can be rough, Hanna said that it builds strong athletes who become strong and accomplished people.

"We produce about 80 percent of the Olympic ice team comes from rolling, so we've got a lot of them that transfer over from this to ice," Hanna said.

"Our sport is good for the kids, it's good for the community, it's very good all the way around. I'm very proud to say that most of the people that I've taught have grown up to be fantastic people. They've all grown up to be doctors, lawyers and good things."

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