Updated: January 3, 2012 9:11AM
Flat-track roller derby is going global with its first World Cup set to begin Thursday in Toronto. But Hogtown hasn’t seen such pushing and shoving since the last time the Blackhawks were in town to play the Maple Leafs.
Our city will make its presence known as two of Chicago’s favorite daughters, Jamie “Varla Vendetta” Ramsey and Alisa “Sargentina” De Pedro, take the track. Both women hail as all-stars from the roller derby club known as the Windy City Rollers.
Ramsey will skate for Team USA, and De Pedro will compete with the Argentina All-Stars.
“This is probably just about the right time,” Ramsey said of 2011 being the kickoff year for the first international competition. There are more than 150 derby leagues within the United States, plus established international clubs in London, Paris, Belfast and Tel-Aviv. Start-ups have sprung up in Singapore, Japan and South Korea.
“The World Cup will not only spark some new interest but show the new leagues overseas that there’s a place where they can be competitive,” Ramsey said.
Roller derby started in the 1920s, gained popularity in the 1940s, then got a 21st-century push in 2001, when four women in Austin, Texas, founded their own league.
“The sport’s always evolving,” De Pedro said. “It’s the fastest-growing women’s sport, and I’m honored to be a part of the World Cup in Year 1.”