More than a decade ago, French skater Cecile Klaus was competing in a 24-hour speed skate race in Le Mans, France. As the only woman on her team, Cecile had to wonder where all the females were – skating, after all, has a long and rich history with both males and females showing their talents on eight wheels. At that time, Cecile couldn’t find many women getting into the racing side of roller skating, so she decided to create her own team, which she dubbed the Miss’iles. Women from all different skating style groups (free skate, hockey, street skating, skate dancing) joined with Cecile, meeting randomly on the streets or at Friday night skate park events. None of the Miss’iles had previous speed-skating training on in-line skates, but she was determined to bring the group to the 2004 Le Mans racing events. She was pleased that in that first year they managed to place in the event.
“We all did our best and finished in 5th place which was not bad at all – it showed how much we could achieve with passion and determination,” she said.
Subsequently the Miss’iles have had third-place podium wins, in 2007 and 2013, and a second-place win in Montreal in 2013.
After that first year, the Miss’iles set up regular training sessions, and one group became two – a sports team for speed-skate competitions, and an artistic team for skate dancing at events.
“We have a strong identity promoting female skating and training racers for ten years now,” Cecile said. “We have association groups in Paris and New York, members all around the world, a rollerdance calendar and clothing line, and soon a rollerdance show for theaters.”
In a sponsored partnership with Nutcase helmets, the Miss’iles personally choose and wear their helmets both at racing events and in artistic performances. Cecile said by picking their own designs, the Miss’iles find a helmet that will inspire them in challenging moments.
“The designs we pick definitely have an impact on our state of mind,” she said. “Magali, our speed-team captain, chose Purple Dazzle because she loves that color and she needs to shine. Ines, on the other hand, chose Pretty Pink because of the feminine look – it stands out in relay races. I personally chose the Fly Boy because the stars make me feel like I’m already a winner when I race.”