MONDAY, JUNE 7, 1982

High Rollers In The Park
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                                                                                                                    Examiner photo by Kim Komenich
They say it gets them high, this fancy form of roller skating. Freestyle freewheelers of all ages, like Diana Hadon and David Walter, above, roller out to Golden Gate Park yesterday to participate in a contest of graceful movements and a bit of humor. Story and more photos on page B5.

Freestyle Skating Contest Draws Freewheeling Folks To The Park

By Amy Linn Examiner Staff Writer

While the rest of us trip around on 10 toes and two shoes, these folks roll through life with their ankles loose, their fingers snapping and their knees trussed up in leather.

Just ask the "GeritoI Kid," alias Myron Olmsted from Oakland. "Roller skating gets me on a high," said Olmsted, who said he doesn't drlnk or smoke. At 64, Olmsted sports psychedelic shirts and skates to upbeat music, preferably Strauss waltzes,

"It's very relaxing. It's like dancing, but you're moving along and you can interpret the music any way you want to," Olmsted said. "It just feels so good, I can't believe it"

Olmsted was just one of 25 contestants who rolled into Golden Gate Park yesterday to compete in the Outdoor Freestyle Roller Skating Championships, a popular event for a crowd of regulars whose typical Sunday haunt is the section of cement in front of the Conservatory of Flowers.

With awesome ease, contestants whirled and. swooped and slid around the pavement, puttlng to shame their clumsier counterparts - the pedestrians - who stood gawking on the sidelines.

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Diana Haydon, competing in the freestyle event for couples, spent most of her time twirled high above the competent head of her well-muscled partner, David Walter. Shelby Bytd, flying along to a heavy bass boogie, had moves as smooth as hot buttered rum. And the Golden Rollers, a skating trio with a knack for exciting the feminine half of the audience, dscoed their way to rounds of applause. .

"Whatever you can do on your feet, .you can do on roller skates," explained bystander Ruth Lasch, herself on a pair of skates. Lasch's roller skating history dates back to the time she was 8 years old. Once an "artistic" skate teacher, Lasch is now an acupressurist. "It's great - the two go hand in hand," Lasch said.

"Skaters need acupressure every now and then."

SFExam6-7-82-2.jpg (166346 bytes) The day's events were held in honor of the Golden Gate Skate Patrol, a troop of volunteer whiz kids who patrol the park, enforce the skating rules and watch for criminals..

Matt Dillon used a cow pony. Dick Tracy used a squad car. David Miles, skate patrol leader,uses roller skates with day-glow polyurethane wheels."Our motto is 'Have Skate, Will Travel," said Miles, the organizer of the skate contest. _

Miles and other well wheeled members of the skate patrol are trained in first aid and CPR. With $5 to $10 entrance fees fot contestants, they figured they could raise enough money to buy new equipment and new T shirts

As the last disco numbers faded into the rhododendron groves, Miles collected more than $l00

Happy contest winners collected trophies and free tickets to a hot tub. And onlookers, some 300 of them, went home with new tans and a better grasp of top-notch skating technique.

"There's no consciousness for roller skaters in the South Bay," said. Ron Lyons, who travels from San Jose each weekend to skate in Golden Gate Park. Lyons, an inurance salesman, wore leather knee-guards, wrist guards and hand guards. An avid skater, he was happy just to watch the show. Here, you pick up a great feeling from the other skaters. In. the South Bay, they look at you like you're some kind of freak," Lyons said. .

Diana Haydon was clearly the high point winner for the day, taking first place in both the women's singles and the couples' competition.. ' I've been skating for three years," said Haydon, 27, who met Walter, .her boyfriend and skating partner, at a skating rink three years ago. One look at his dips and turns, and there was nothing else she could do."I fell in love right on the spot"