Presenter: Now the 2020 Olympics might seem a long way away to you, but people are already talking about what new sports might be included. Today I’m going to talk to two people who are hoping their sport might be included. The first is Jonny Mills whose sport is wakeboarding. Jonny, can you tell us what wakeboarding is? Is it like surfboarding?
Jonny: Well, a bit. It started in California because people wanted to surf but didn’t have waves ... It’s also a bit like waterskiing in that the rider is towed behind a specially-built speed boat.
Presenter: How fast does the boat go?
Jonny: Usually at about 25 mph, or a bit less. The rider uses the wake the board produces in the water to launch into the air.
Presenter: And then you do a lot of complicated things in the air?
Jonny: That’s right, spins of up to 1260 degrees, things like that.
Presenter: 1260 degrees, that’s impossible isn’t it?
Jonny: Oh no, but it’s pretty crazy. You spin round three and a half times in the air.
Presenter: And then you have to land again without falling over.
Jonny: You’ll have to come and watch some wakeboarding if you haven’t seen any. Come to Wakestock in July if you can.
Presenter: That’s in Wales, isn’t it?
Jonny: Yep, Abersoch in North Wales. It’s a really popular wakeboarding and music festival. It’s right by the beach. It’s not quite the same as California, but it’s cool. It attracts a lot of great riders.
Presenter: Who does wakeboarding?
Jonny: They reckon about 3 million people all over the world. More guys do it, but there are increasing numbers of girls too. The people who compete are usually in their teens or twenties, but anyone can do it. There’s a lot of crossover with other board sports like surfing and skateboarding. The tricks people pull are similar and the names for things are often the same.
Presenter: And looking at you, I’d say the fashion was similar too.
Jonny: Yeah, the clothes and the lifestyle are similar.
Presenter: Right, now I’d like to ask Jules Russell about her sport. She’s a skater in a roller derby team. Tell us about that, Jules. Is it a popular sport?
Jules: Yes, it’s becoming really popular in the UK. There are about 60 leagues in England and 1,200 throughout the world. In the US and Canada, of course, and places like Scandinavia and Australia, but lots of other countries too.
Presenter: The sport began in the States, didn’t it?
Jules: Yes, in the 1930s, but it was more for entertainment than sport and it died out by the 1970s. Then there was a revival in Texas in 2001 and from then on it’s just been growing and growing.
Presenter: So how do you play it?
Jules: Well, you have two teams of five people on roller skates, of course, and they go round an oval track in the same direction. Each team has a "jammer" who scores points by passing members of the opposing team. They do whatever they can to stop her, within reason. The team with the most points at the end of the match wins.
Presenter: It sounds a bit rough!
Jules: Well, it’s a contact sport, so there’s bound to be a lot of pushing and falling over. It’s all good fun, though; people don’t often get hurt. If you try and trip someone up you get penalised. You do try and frighten the other team a bit though.
Presenter: That’s right. You have frightening clothes and special names.
Jules: People used to have incredible costumes a couple of years ago. Now the sport is changing and becoming more professional. Lots of the teams train three or four times a week, and spend a lot of time in the gym you have to be really dedicated and fit. We still have nicknames, though. I’m “The Julifier”.
Presenter: And is the sport all female?
Jules: There are a few men who do it, but it’s mostly female and amateur at the moment. Things are changing fast though, so who knows what the future will bring. It would be fantastic to be an Olympic sport.
Presenter: What do you think about roller derby, Jonny?
Jonny: It’s wild! Those ladies scare me to death! Good luck to them with the Olympics thing though. And good luck to us too.
Presenter: Good luck to you both.