North and South America
An exclusive interview with a long-time staff member at Rollerblade®
Since 1992, Sämi has challenged Rollerblade as an Athlete, Team Manager, Product Tester, Promoter, Marketing and Communications Manager, Social Media Rep, Project Leader, Salesman, Rollerblade Fan and much more, and it is clear that his experience and passion is what drives him to work hard every day for Rollerblade®.
This year, I managed to catch up with him after the Berlin Marathon to get his perspective on the whole event and to see how it has changed over the years. By Joel Robinson
Sämi, you’re an experienced and seasoned staff member at Rollerblade®, how many times have you worked at the Berlin Marathon?
I have been a part of Berlin since the beginning. I started off as Team Manager for the Rollerblade® World Team and every year we went for victory! In 2001, 2007 and 2009 we managed to achieve this and take home the victory. For some years now Rollerblade® has also been the only partner of the Saturday Inline Race event.
How has the event developed over the years?
It’s like a wave. It first started small and was together with the running Marathon, the event took place before the runners on the Sunday. Then it got bigger and thanks to Mark Milde it also got its own day. The Berlin Saturday! This gave the sport the presence it deserved, and for some years it has been biggest Inline event worldwide.
What is the role of Rollerblade® at the marathon?
Our focus has always been to be there for the 6’300 skaters at Berlin - the different skaters with their different needs and focuses have always been important to us. Not all of them want to be pro-skaters with big wheels and carbon boots, most are there just to have fun, and we are there for them all. Even in the future our focus will be to take care of the 6’000+ skaters… we’ll keep providing the Service Station, good wheels, good products and a big smile!
Do you normally take-part/compete in the marathon?
You will not believe it but in 2012 I skated it for the first time. My focus was always on working and taking care of the athletes, the exhibition and the Rollerblade family. However, after the tragic death of Alex Uphues (Berlin Inline Marathon organizer for many years) I had to do it… in memory of a good friend and a big pusher of the sport.
So this year was the second marathon of my skating career… we started all together in the party block… and I still got a good time of 1.33 hours.
What skates did you use this year, and would you recommend them for future competitors?
This is another story, as I skated with the Maxxum 100’s - a new skate from the 2014 collection. Maxxum was a famous skate from 1994 and some people will still remember it as it was when the trend came from the USA to Europe. It is a moulded skate, with Hydrogen 100 mm wheels. A great skate for everyone with good control and stability… skating is 80% technique anyway.
What was your main focus at the event this year?
Do you mean my focus or the focus of Rollerblade? - Anyway it was similar. Our focus was on the new Rollerblade Hydrogen wheels – a great wheel to help skaters get to the finish line in a good time and also to let them have fun rolling, gliding and maybe even flying!
What did you enjoy most about the event?
Speaking with all the different people and seeing their passion and the enjoyment of the event. It was incredible meeting so many people at our stand for the wheel action. Some of them did not even know the size of their wheels… they just wanted to skate and have fun!
What new things will Rollerblade® bring to Berlin next year?
We are working on a hybrid bearing and also a solar powered wheel. We will focus on the rolling materials – this is for sure!
What are you looking forward to most about next year in Berlin?
We look forward to bringing even more people with us from all over the world! This year we brought 50 Argentinian, 20 Polish, 10 Dutch, 10 Italian, and many more Rollerblade® skaters to the wonderful event. The event has big potential as the city is just incredible and the skating event is always a great experience!
We hope to see all of you next year on 27th September 2014 in Berlin at the Rollerblade® stand… and maybe you can even win something at the wheel of fortune!
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