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Roller skating is back in fashion and is more diverse than ever before

Journalist Marta Popowska has published ‘Roller Skaters - Life Is Better On 8 Wheels,’ a book about the renaissance of the sport that features stories from some of its biggest icons

Roller Skaters. Life Is Better
Anke Dregnat, a member of the Hamburg skating community in Germany.Clemens Rambow
Armando Quesada Webb

There is no word that captures the feeling that goes through the body when you’re roller skating. For Marta Popowska, it is synonymous with euphoria, overcoming fear, with happiness. “It is the epitome of freedom,” the journalist, author and former roller derby player explains by email. Popowska, who lives in Germany, has just published Roller Skaters - Life Is Better On 8 Wheels, a book that follows the resurgence of the sport — which Popowska attributes to the pandemic and TikTok — with portraits and profiles of some of its international icons, such as Barbie Patin and Nele van Bogaert.

In the book, roller skating icons are seen performing their best moves on the rinks and on the street, and talk to Popowska about what defines their personal style and what the sport means to them. “Everyone contributes in their own way to the evolution of this sport. It was difficult to choose because there are many excellent skaters, but we wanted to aim for as varied a group as possible,” says Popowska, who has been a journalist for 14 years. In 2018, together with her partner Jonas Vietense, she founded the skating magazine Dogdays Magazine.

Popowska was a professional roller derby skater in Germany for 11 years. She retired, but she never hung up her skates. The 44-year-old continues to roller skate on the street, and still finds great joy in the support. With her work as a journalist and author, she is hoping to show not only that roller skating is back, but that it is more diverse than ever.

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