In-line skating is a recent recreational sport. During the 1990s it experienced an incredible boom that relegated traditional roller skating to the museum. Widespread throughout many countries, this new sports discipline enjoys its greatest popularity in North America where there are more than 30 million followers. For most, it is mainly for pleasure but for some it is a method of getting from place to place that often enrages motorists in large cities. There is also a rapidly developing competitive element, and it is not unusual to see some skaters taking part in marathons or short distance races alongside expert runners. Some event administrators organize skating competitions within their running contests.
In-line skates have many uses: hockey, artistic skating, racing, and simple outings for physical fitness, and numerous leaders of this new sport hope that one day it will be among the Olympic disciplines. Meanwhile, the best individuals are participating in international competitions for which the highest achievement is a world championship. The discipline is also part of the Pan American games in the form of hockey. The North American rollerblading market is in full bloom. An American manufacturer has developed a skate whose wheels are equipped with a mini computer that transmits data to a watch that records the maximum and average speeds and distances covered - daily and from the beginning of the season. This is a far cry from wooden wheels.
The International Federation of Roller Sports establishes the governance of international tournaments, and Roller Sports Canada is responsible for organizing national meets. On the Québec provincial scene, the smooth running of competitions is ensured by different federations according to whether events are artistic or for racing. The Canadian Amateur Hockey Association also offers its members an active program of in-line hockey from community competitions to national and international meets.