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Downhill skating dad

The Sunshine Coast is blessed with a choice of great hills, according to downhill skating athlete and father of three, Greg Casey, who recently represented Australia in the World Skate Games.

by Rebecca Mugridge

Sunshine Coast father of three, Greg Casey, recently had the experience of a lifetime, representing Australia in the World Skate Games in Argentina.

“I found out about six weeks before I left that I was on the team,” Greg said. “I have been downhill skating for 32 years, since I was ten years old, but I’d never thought anything of it. One of the other inline skaters on the Australian team asked me to go.”

And everything just lined up.

“I spoke to my boss and said I need to save the money for my plane ticket and my boss said, ‘Look, you can’t miss this opportunity, it may never come up again,’ and he actually bought my ticket for me!

“I didn’t have a passport as I’d never travelled overseas or anything and the passport actually came through super quickly. All of a sudden, I found myself looking at my uniform the team sent me and then I was on the plane with the rest of the team on my way to the World Skate Games.”

Greg said the World Skate Games is like the Olympics of rollersports, and happens every two years in a different country with almost 60 countries represented.

“There was artistic skating, quad hockey skating, skateboarding, inline, luge, figure skating, ice skating, skate racing events and all these kinds of sports.”

The popularity of skating in Argentina is massive, explained Greg.

“In South America, inline and quad skating are the second biggest sports behind soccer. And in France, inline is one of the biggest sports there as well.

“On the last night, the Australian Team went out to dinner and in the restaurant and every TV in the city the Games was on, celebrating the Argentinian team winning the quad hockey. There were car horns tooting and everyone was celebrating.”

His first time competing ever, and he qualified at 27th in the world.

Greg said it was an incredible experience seeing all the protocols and how serious it is all taken.

“Whenever anyone placed, they were taken for drug testing straight away. I didn’t know what to expect. Even hemp seeds are fortified protein, so they are banned, and asthma puffers have very strict restrictions because they do actually contain a steroid. Asthmatics are only allowed so many puffs per day and they can test the amount in your blood.”

Bravery is clearly in Greg’s blood. While hurtling down hills at speeds of up to 100km sounds terrifying to most, Greg is no stranger to extreme sports and even has a dangerous job.

“I climb communication towers for a living and do work out of a helicopter” he said modestly, but explained that while both his job and sport are scary and exciting they also teach you to always really think about what you are doing, at all times. A skill that absolutely benefits downhill skaters.

“Because of the speeds, we are hitting 100kmph, you have got to know what to do to minimise any sort of damage.

“I’ve always said the best skaters are the best fallers. I’ve seen people stand up in a pair of skates and fall over and break bones, and I’ve seen big stacks and people just get up and keep going. It is about knowing your body and when to roll, when to stop or slow and what to do when you get in those situations, because it happens so quickly.”

This is where training is vital, said Greg. Not something always easy to do for those in this sport, as it does use public roads and you need to navigate cars and people.

“You’ve really got to pick your times,” Greg said, adding that they will usually train very early on a weekend to avoid traffic as much as possible.

In places like Townsville and Victoria, the local councils do close off roads for the athletes to train and hold events. Something Greg says the Sunshine Coast Council could look into, given the perfect conditions on the Coast.

“There is the opportunity to do something with these hills, as there are plenty of them that would be absolutely amazing to have closed off, just occasionally, for just a few hours. You could even have a special weekend that people from Brisbane and beyond from the inline community come up for.” Beerwah-Peachester Road, Maintenance Road and Phillips Road are just a few that come to his mind when asked where the best hills are.

“Phillips Road is my favourite, because it is the fastest. It is an absolute monster!” Greg laughed and admitted, ”I can’t get anyone here to do that hill with me!” It can be dangerous for both skaters and cars when they try to train, but it also affects how they use the road too, which can hamper their training. “There are some hills where you need to go over to the right hand side to be able to get back into the corner of the left hand side effectively at racing speeds and that is too dangerous on a ‘live road’,” Greg explained. One of the greatest things about following his dreams is also knowing others are watching on, like his kids and his dad. “My kids got to take my leather racing suit from the Australian team into ‘show and tell’ at school, so they are quite stoked. It has been a passion of mine for years.

“Because both of my brothers have passed away, I do it for them as well because that is where I started, doing it with them. And it’s for my kids and for my dad, as well as for myself.”

Greg is looking forward to representing Australia again in Rome and is already in training for the next World Skate Games in two years time.

“Since I’ve been back from Argentina I have done more hills than I had in the last 15 years,” he said, as he increases his training and competitive side.

“The next race is actually at Mount Panorama in Bathurst, and I never thought I’d get that opportunity either.

“That will be exciting,” Greg said with a wide smile.

You can follow Greg’s journey on Instagram at Greg.casey.7

If any businesses are interested in sponsoring Greg they can get in touch via his Instagram or email:

Greg is very happy to share tips on equipment and how to get into the sport with other athletes and is looking at potentially coaching at some stage.


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