Women Everywhere Turn to Roller Derby

Women Everywhere Turn to Roller Derby

MADRID—When Clara Colome's small business failed in Spain's grinding recession, she picked up the pieces with a little help from her friends, "Pandemonium" and "Hell on Wheels."


The knock-down drag-out sport of women's roller derby is fast becoming a global phenomenon. Madrid's Black Thunders Derby Dames takes to the blacktop, and WSJ's Matt Moffett tries not to get run over.


Those are the nicknames of her teammates on the Black Thunders Derby Dames, a local roller derby team that is part of a global boom in the full-contact skating sport. Ms. Colome, who skates as "Heidi Maiden," says that roller derby lifted her out of the doldrums by giving her renewed self-confidence as well as a sense of camaraderie.


But what Ms. Colome really needed in a recent exhibition bout against the camouflage-wearing Murcia City Bombers was some extra body armor. On a curve on the oval track, Ms. Colome got sandwiched between two Bombers, who dug in their shoulders and sent Ms. Colome's helmet swiveling sideways on her head. Ms. Colome took it in stride. "You learn to keep skating even when you've been knocked around," she says.

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