NSC Welcomes New Zealand’s Own Scott Arlidge
The excitement’s building as we prepare for tonight’s racing, live from Pattison’s West Skate Center in Federal Way Washington. At 6:30 pst, we’ll welcome international inline speed skating superstar Scott Arlidge in the third event of its 2012 NSC season. A New Zealand World Team member and skater for Powerslide/Matter World, Scott has won no less than 50 New Zealand titles, in all divisions, and set several New Zealand records, in addition to having won world titles and World Inline Cup (WIC) podium placements.
A true stand-out on the WIC marathon circuit, this week he’ll take his chances with the pack at National Speedskating Circuit. The NSC News Desk was able to catch up with Scott right after he made the arduous 16-hour flight from New Zealand to Seattle.
NSC News Desk: First off, welcome to the NSC Scott. You’re a huge star internationally, but here in the US our audience is just getting to know you. Tell us, how long have you been skating competitively?
Scott Arlidge: Thanks. I’m excited to be here. I started skating sometime in 1988. My first New Zealand National Champs were in 1989.
NSC: Why did you get into inline speed skating?
Arlidge: Both of my parents were skaters. So it was really a natural thing for me to at least try it out. They are both still heavily involved in the administration side of our sport, and my Dad is actually an international referee and goes to worlds most years.
NSC: You’ve started the outdoor season really strong on the track in NZ. Why are you coming to the US to race indoors?
Arlidge: I like racing indoors. In New Zealand we race indoors. Sure, it’s not like the super-fast floors such as the one in Federal Way, but they aren’t as slow as what everyone thinks either. I grew up skating a lot of indoor back home, and always wanted to come to the US to race indoor. I grew up watching videos of the Muse brothers and Chad Hedrick and thought it was awesome. And now with the NSC it’s another level altogether. It brings a new excitement to the sport.
NSC: This question’s a little self-serving, but we’re curious…do you watch NSC regularly at home?
Arlidge: Yeah, I’ve seen most of the events. I even paid in the first season to watch it online. I was excited to see what all of the buzz was about.
NSC: We’re getting a pretty big following overseas, with an estimated 4,000 people watching the February races in 41 countries. Since most of the rest of the world primarily skates outdoors, why do you think we’re growing globally?
Arlidge: What I think NSC has done compared with the more traditional indoor events, is that it’s been able to cross borders. Sure only a handful of international skaters have raced in it, but for some reason it’s got a strong following outside of the US. Must be doing something right.
NSC: Where’s your strength indoors, sprints or endurance? What races are you going to skate this week at NSC?
Arlidge: My strength is definitely my endurance. I like the race to be hard. Generally my flying lap is the same the first time I do it compared to the 10th time I do it. Being honest, the two endurance events are still a little short for me, but 1,600m on indoor is much different to 1,600m outdoor. So let’s see what happens.
NSC: How do you feel about going up against current Grand Champion and Powerslide/Matter teammate Michael Cheek in the endurance events?
Arlidge: Cheek commands enormous respect everywhere he goes, and having him on board with Powerslide/Matter is a nice coup for us. I like his racing style because you know you’re never going to get cheated, and it’s always the best man wins with him. Let’s see what happens on Thursday night. From what I saw at practice last night he’s definitely the man to beat right now.
NSC: Do you have any Olympic aspirations on ice like your Powerslide/Matter World teammate Bart Swings?
Arlidge: At one time I did, but now I don’t. I’m following a lot of what the inline guys are doing on ice out of interest. I now have a full time job managing the race division of Powerslide/Matter, so that takes up a lot of time, and I didn’t want to commit to something like ice without being able to do it 100%.
If there’s one thing that can be said of Arlidge the man, it’s that those that have skated with or against him say he’s a world class gentlemen and athlete. Fans can look forward to a strong contender and an exciting card when Arlidge joins the field tonight in Federal Way.
Fans around the world can tune in live at www.pronsc.com starting at 6:15pm PST tonight, March 15th, which will be 2:15 pm Friday March 16th in Auckland, New Zealand. Racing starts at 6:30 pst. Live Life Fast – It’s Turn and Burn Time.