The Wheel Deal: The Charlotte Speed Demons

A local roller derby team pushes the sport toward credibility—and the Olympics

Gone are the days of roller derby theatrics—piped-in music, flamboyant costumes, and outlandish stage names. The Charlotte Speed Demons, a women’s flat track roller derby team established in 2010, dons traditional sports uniforms and competes using players’ real names. “This isn’t the Harlem Globetrotters,” says Craig Bailey, president of the Demons’ parent company. “It’s women, in a full-contact sport.” More serious and less campy measures have helped the sport gain media coverage, which may also help push it into the Olympics. Next year, proponents hope to roll past thirteen other sports—all vying for one spot as an official Olympic discipline.

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