The 70s and Skating: Thick as Thieves

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life25 Comments

During the past year, Dan has been organizing and cleaning our attic. I've mentioned this before and even though I don't actively reap the benefit on a daily basis, every time I do have cause to venture into the rafters of our home and see the level of organization (Halloween stuff in that corner, Christmas stuff over there, National Geographics over there), I'm grateful that I can now find my suitcase and my curling iron, should the need ever arise.

While returning a few things to the attic last weekend, I saw one of the few remaining baskets of stuff that Dan has yet to sort through and I realized it was stuff from my glory days of roller yore.

What? You don't recall my glory days of roller yore? Maybe this will jog your memory:

Glory Days (I was a teen-aged figure roller skater) from Cathy Zielske on Vimeo.

Yes, I came across a basket of roller skating memorabilia, including this lovely award from a meet in Auburn, Washington circa 1979.


Yes, that does say '1st PL.' You're welcome, Auburn.

Buried amidst the other medals and plaques was something I hadn't laid eyes on in years. My United States Amateur Confederation of Roller Skating binder.


How do I know for sure it was mine?


I wish I could tell you how many hours I spent poring over this book… this veritable tome of rules and guidelines put forth by the USACRS.


Enclosed were all of the rules and regulations to this beloved—by me, anyway—sport. 

But what struck me was just how 70s the design of it was. I mean, someone thought this looked good back in the day.

But it got better.


It's not really a surprise that figure roller skating never achieved the superstar sport status of its counterpart on ice. I mean, what does this design say to you?

Exactly. Xanadu forever. 

That cover really belittles the content housed within the pages of this manual.


For the record, I didn't know a single skater personally who could do a Double Axel, let alone a Double Boeckl!

I mean, come on! A Double Boeckl? Let's come back down to Earth, people.

Let's just come right back down to Earth.

This post has not been brought to you by the USACRS. However, I did find this totally awesome video with cheesy music pleading the case of artistic roller skating, laden with typos, as to why we should be included in the Olympic Games.

And yes, I did just say 'we'. 



Cathy ZielskeThe 70s and Skating: Thick as Thieves

25 Comments on “The 70s and Skating: Thick as Thieves”

  1. #1

    I see that young lady in the arena daring greatly – pretty much like the older version today.

  2. #5
    Leanne in CA

    I just sat here laughing out loud watching your video! Thanks for sharing. We are the same age and this brings back many memories. Have a fabulous day!!

  3. #7

    Oh Cathy this is awesome… and I’m British – I don’t even USE the word awesome 🙂 I was really into ice skating as a teenager, then started taking lessons at 18. Needless to say I damaged my knee cartilage within weeks so I never got very far at all. You, my friend, were an absolute pro next to me. Thank you for sharing.

  4. #8

    How did I not know about this sport?!
    My high school glory days involved marching band. WE WERE AWESOME! And you could basically hide in the crowd hoping to not stand out.

    Kudos to you for taking the floor alone!

  5. #9

    LO freakn’ L. You were a very gracefull faller and standin’ upper. thanks for the Howard Cossell play by play. Those are great memories. Thanks for sharing.

  6. #11

    Awe.Some. The graphic design, the videos, YOU! So.freaking.awe.some. I loved rollerskating as a kid, but this? This was not available to me. And I would have been ALL over it. These days, my kids (5, 3) and I spend every other Friday night or so skating at the local community center. We own our own damn rollerSKATES (not those godforsaken rollerBLADE monstrocities) and we are excellent. Not a comb handle in a back pocket to be found though… 🙂

  7. #14

    Hi Cathy — I’ve been following you for a good long while now and am a big fan! I have to say after watching your “play by play” skating routine, that while you did fall a few times, and kept saying that you weren’t very good…you did a GREAT job! I think you are forgetting that MOST OF US (certainly me included!) would be lucky to just skate around that big circle ONCE without falling down. (Never mind doing any sort of jumps or fancy footwork!) Take a teeny step back and see your skating skills for what they were: WAY BETTER than most of us would have ever been able to do. Seriously! You were (and are!) brave, graceful, and fabulous — falls and all! 🙂

  8. #15

    After a long busy day at work I checked out your video and can’t begin to tell you how this made my day.
    You are too funny. When do we get to see Tiffany’s performance?
    All kidding aside, you are amazing on roller skates.

  9. #16
    Judy Sanza

    Oh my, you made my day! I too was a roller skater. White square suitcase, white skates with great big pom poms on the toe, to stops of course, a silk skating skirt (very shiny) and a tight sweater…ooooooh! I don’t think at that time I had a curve to be seen….just one tall girl!

    Thanks for sharing your memories!

  10. #17
    Ann G.

    I needed a good laugh today Cathy. Had the worst day at a new job and am decompressing by looking at my favorite blogs. I totally loved your commentary, it cracked me up! Your are hilarious. 🙂

  11. #18
    Julie S

    I skated many laps at the Skate Deck in Everett dreaming that I was doing this – how did I not know it was a sport?! Think it’s too late to start?

  12. #19

    OMG, ROFL!! I actually think the Xanadu design is pretty rad, actually– it’s retro!! And the Olympic pitch video would have been MUCH better served without that cheesy music, I think. The phrase ‘competition roller skating’ first me in the mindset of ‘That 70s Show’ and their rainbow-colored outfits (I think the roller-skating character is Eric… it’s a classic! If you haven’t seen it, you really need to google it- I’m sure it’s out there), but watching the video, it’s pretty much the same as ice skating, isn’t it??

    (although I personally will always think of roller skating as something to be done as a middle school school-sponsored activity involving arcade games like Ms. PacMan or Asteroids, nachos with bright yellow melty cheese, and maybe some mid-80s, middle-school hijinks in the dark on the school bus on the way back home, lol!! ahhh, nostalgia… sigh. Thanks for that!!

  13. #21

    Now that you’ve blogged about (“scrapbooked”) the manual, are you still saving it or tossing it? I’m going through my attic, too, and wonder how others are handling all that stuff.

  14. #22
    Roz James

    A fellow figure roller skater from Down Under here! And I do know several people who can do double Axels 😉 (the most ‘famous’ skater I know is Jayson Sutcliffe [google or you tube him] and he has recently made a movie/doco called ‘Rollerboy’. He was Wrold Champ one year)

    ‘WE’ know how cool our sport was!

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