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Roller Derby was invented by Leo Seltzer in the 1930s.

It originated as an exciting racing sport on roller skates and has since evolved into a fast-paced, full-contact game.

For an intriguing look at its transformation over time, check out our comprehensive Roller Derby History article!

Roller Derby Invention Timeline

  • 1935: Leo Seltzer introduces Roller Derby as a skating marathon in Chicago.
  • 1940s: World War II doesn’t stop Roller Derby from growing in popularity.
  • 1950s-1960s: Televised events heighten Roller Derby’s nationwide appeal.
  • 1970s: A decline in popularity leads to the original league’s disbandment.
  • 2001: The Texas Rollergirls spark a resurgence in Austin, Texas.
  • 2004-2010: Roller Derby sees tremendous global expansion; WFTDA and MRDA are established.
  • 2010s-Present: The sport embraces modern technology and inclusiveness.

Facts known about Roller Derby Invention

  1. 1930s Origin: Roller Derby was founded as a skating marathon by Leo Seltzer in Chicago.
  2. Endurance to Full-Contact: Seltzer and sports writer Damon Runyon introduced physical contact and team collaboration elements.
  3. Post-War Popularity: Roller Derby experienced a surge in popularity and media coverage during the 1940s and 1950s.
  4. Decline and Resurgence: Following a period of decline, grassroots movements in the early 2000s led to a Roller Derby revival.
  5. Global Expansion: The sport’s growth is driven by international leagues, media, and governing bodies like WFTDA and MRDA.


Who invented Roller Derby?

Leo Seltzer, a sports promoter, is credited with inventing Roller Derby. He designed the basic rules in the late 1930s.

When was Roller Derby invented?

Roller Derby was introduced in the midst of the Great Depression, specifically in 1935.

Where did Roller Derby originate?

Roller Derby originated in Chicago, United States. It was initially designed as a marathon competition for roller skaters.

Max is a sports enthusiast who loves all kinds of ball and water sports. He founded & runs stand-up-paddling.org (#1 German Paddleboarding Blog), played competitive Badminton and Mini Golf (competed on national level in Germany), started learning β€˜real’ Golf and dabbled in dozens of other sports & activities.

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