Rollerblading's History That Never Happened

'Barely Dead': The skating video that (almost) makes you want to blade again

If the world listened to the 2012 Olympic organizers, Londoners would be strapping on their Rollerblades to commute to and from work during this year's Summer Games. If the world listened to climber Majka Burhardt, injured athletes everywhere would be donning inline skates for joint-friendly exercise. And if the world had listened to this 2006 documentary…well, Rollerblading (that's right, with a capital "R") would be cool again by now.

Barely Dead claimed that the sport of inline skating wasn’t gone, but that it had simply moved underground to build the history that—back in its ‘90s heyday—it was accused of lacking. The documentary chronicled how the sport was a prominent factor in the formation of the still-beloved X-Games and how and why “aggressive inline skating” eventually became the black sheep of the extreme-sports family.

No, the world did not listen to this documentary in 2006 (and one has to doubt that they'll listen to the Olympic games organizers, today), but the bottom line is that Barely Dead is worth a watch. Sure, it’s six years old and missed the mark on a few predictions, but that’s part of its beauty. Watching today, not only can you catch some amazingly retro, borderline kitschy footage from the ‘90s (4:46 to 4:51 is seriously not to be missed), but quite honestly, the film does the job of making Rollerblading look…well, almost appealing again. If, though, a watch pushes you to dust off the old wheels and go for a spin (full disclosure: it did for me) just remember that this century, neon spandex is no longer required.