North & South America
Rollerblade® has opened the team archives and wondered… “What are they up to now?” The Flashback series of interviews allows us to catch up with former Rollerblade® team rider and creative minds that helped grow the brand. We talk about the past, present, and future. In this interview we Flashback with Martina Svobodova from Slovakia.
Martina you started skating in the 90’s. Can you tell us how you first started skating?
When I was little my parents bought me a pair of inline skates. I was 6 or 7 years old. At the age 12, I asked my parents to buy me a new skates, and that’s when I started skating street with other guys from my neighborhood. When I was 14 and 15 I won the Slovak Championships. Started at the age of 16 I began travelling to the US.
Did you have skateparks to skate when you started skating?
When I just started skating there were no skateparks, so we built a little rail park ourselves and started to learn different tricks. Two years later, when I was 14, the first skate park was built.
In 1999 you were added to the Rollerblade® team. How did that happen and what changed for you after you got added to Rollerblade® team?
Over the winters we went skating in Vienna where there was an indoor skate park. It was quite a good time. We went there quite often. And one day there was the manager of the Rollerblade® team, Sämi Raimann. He was taking photos of Samo Bajec. He noticed me and asked me to join the team. In my first year on the “local” team, in 1999, I was travelling to all European competitions, which I won. In that same year I qualified for the ASA Pro (LG action Sports) tour in Frankfurt. The following year I became a member of Rollerblade® European Team and few years later the World team. At that time I started competing at all of the main events in the US and in Europe. I won my first Gravity Games, X-Games, World Championships and ASA tour stops.
From 2000 till 2008 you dominated women’s street and park with multiple wins at events like the X-Games, Gravity Games, LG Action Sports World Championships to name a few. How did you manage to skate at such a high level?
My main advantage was that I learned how to skate with guys. I was doing all the tricks the guys were doing. I didn’t see why I couldn’t do anything they could do. Another thing was that I grew up skating street – rails. Which is rougher than skate parks. So when I came to the scene and was doing all the tricks guys were doing and I won pretty much every competition. I was doing 540s while other girls were barely able to land a 360. I was doing all the big rails which girls couldn’t do, all the alley oops tricks and tru spins, etc.
Interesting fact about you is that you have some skills at golf too. Did you do both of these two during your peak performances?
I didn’t. I started my commitment to golfing after I quit skating.
Do you still skate these days?
I don’t skate anymore, which is a shame. I tried a couple of times, but every time my knee started hurting, which was one of the reasons why I quit. Sometimes I take my fitness skates out maybe once a year. My love is street skating though. I miss the sport, the people, the scene, and the background of it.
What is your current occupation? Does your background in skating still have any influence now?
I am a pro golfer, but more like a Pro teacher. Golf is totally different from skating. But skating taught me a lot. It gave me confidence, relying only on myself, and a lot of experiences and I got to see the whole world, and meet people I never thought I would have met. I am grateful for that.
Is there any chance we will see you on blades in the near future? Either doing tricks on stunt skates, of finishing The Berlin Marathon in an outstanding time?
Haha I don’t know. I wish I could still skate like before. However, I am getting older, and also the conditions here in Slovakia are not the same like before. Shame!
Any last words you would like to share with us?
I hope skating will be big one day again, at least like it was in early 2000s. I hope there will be more and more kids skating, more parks built and more competitions for kids. Skating as a sport and Rollerblade® a brand made me the way I am today and I am thankful for that.