Roller derby, if you’re unfamiliar with it, involves two teams of 14 maniacs speeding around a ring on roller skates in a no-holds-barred contest to lap their opponents and knock over anyone standing in their way.
Victorian team The All Stars has just won the women’s flat-track roller derby world title, which makes it the first team outside of the US to win.
The team beat reigning champions Portland’s Rose City Rollers at the grand final in Philadelphia and are taking home the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) Hydra Trophy. The win cements The All Stars has as a powerhouse in roller derby around the world.
Team member Samara Pepperell also took out championship MVP.
This is a long-awaited victory for the team, which made it to the semi finals in 2015 and 2016 before being knocked out.
“This is the kind of thing you dream of achieving, and to hear all the messages of support [from] back home in Australia means so much,” team captain Lauren Foote told Broadsheet. “Not many people can call themselves the world champions, but I feel very proud that we can.” In the ring Foote is better known as Screw Barrymore.
Although The All Stars held a steady lead throughout the match, it was still anyone’s game, according to Foote.
“At half time we had a comfortable lead, but Rose are known for massive comebacks, and in roller derby, you can get a power jam and get 20, 30 points on the board, so you know, a 50 point lead isn’t comfortable. It wasn’t until we had eight minutes left, and I think we were about 60 points ahead, that I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I think we’re going to do this,’” says Foote.
The All Stars made its way into the WFTDA championship ranked number one in the world after winning division one playoffs in Dallas in September.
To get to the championships, The All Stars raised $10,000 through a GoFundMe campaign,; what they raised made up only a small portion of the costs involved.
“To do this, it’s all self funded. And as a team we spend about $100,000 a year, so it’s really quite expensive to play. We all have jobs, so we work all day and we’re training all night,” says Foote.
After taking out the win, Foote hopes to see The All Stars get “more support for what we’re already excellent at, and to see more women in sport being celebrated for being strong and athletic.”
Tonight, they’re off to celebrate their win at the afterparty.