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Rika Slam

BACK TO AWE

At what age did you begin participating in roller derby?

27

What first made you want to participate in roller derby?

I thought it sounded fun! I always wanted to play contact sports but felt that I couldn't as a girl.

What were some of the challenges you faced? Early on? Now? As a woman?

I didn't know how to roller skate at all when I started! That was a huge challenge. When I started roller derby, I was scared to try new skills and got very nervous whenever I had to skate in front of coaches or other people. Now I don't struggle with that, but I find myself getting intimidated by people who are more experienced than I am. I am working on keeping my mental game strong, my attitude positive, and just doing my best in those situations.

Greatest moment/accomplishment in your sport?

Completing my 27/5 (27 laps in 5 minutes) for the first time was huge! Also, skating on to the track with my teammates for my first official bout as a Roughneck.

What keeps you going year after year?

Derby gives me a place to be myself, let out my frustration and aggression, and do something completely different than my every day job.

Future plans within your sport?

I want to become a stronger skater in every position and also to be more a confident skater in general.

How far has the sport of roller derby come during the timeframe in which you have been involved?

I have only been involved for about a year and a half. Within that timeframe there have still been many changes in how the game is played and the strategies used by different teams. Offense has become a major part of skating and the way that defense is performed has changed quite a bit as well.

Where would you like to see your sport be in the coming years?

I would love to see it as a much more publicized sport as it currently exists, not just the WWE style game that happened in the past.

What lessons have you taken from roller derby that have helped you in your professional and personal life away from the track?

Derby has helped me to feel more confident about who I am. It has given me a place where I feel strong and that I have accomplished something. When I started playing derby I was in a place personally where I didn't feel I was accomplishing anything and my life was at a standstill. Derby gave me something different and new to try and every victory I gained on the track helped me to be more and more confident! Eventually that led to me making some big life changes and the empowerment I felt on the track helped me change my life off the track too.

What advice do you have for younger athletes coming up in roller derby?

DO IT. Don't let fear hold you back. Train your body to do amazing things and come show us up!

Greatest female athlete of all time?

Serena Williams!