Competitors hope log rolling becomes Olympic event in future

- As the Summer Olympics in Rio approaches, sports such as rugby and golf will be joining 40 others in this year's games. But soon, they might have make way on the medal stand for log rolling.

There are 10 different water-based sports at this year’s games, and there are always new contenders looking to join the Olympic party. Hoping to jump into the pool with swimming and diving is log rolling.

Yes, log rolling.

“You put a log, like a cedar log in the pool and you run on top of it,” explains log roller Olivia Alexander. “You try and stay up for as long as you can.”

Log rolling has been a pastime of loggers since the 1800s, long before lumberjack games were featured on the farthest fringes of the wide world of sports.

“The way that you move the logs is to put them in the river and move them down the river,” Alexander said. “In order to keep them from getting jammed, you had to run to ran across the logs.”

Now, the Fairfax County Parks and Recreation Department has added log rolling to their class offerings so anyone can get down with the cedar scamper. And this sport isn't just for flannel-wearing, bearded men that look like they just stepped off the side of a roll of paper towels.

“Actually, I've only met women log rollers,” said Alexander.

And not just women. She has been log rolling since she was 8 years old and she knows the key to winning a rolling match.

“Your balance has to be good,” said 10-year-old Britta Stratford. “If you look at your feet, it loses your balance. Whenever I’m standing on it, I look at the other end.”

Winning isn't just about staying on top of your log. You have to get your opponent to fall first and that is where the mind games come in.

“You can do that by kicking water into their face, changing the way the log spins and just distracting them,” said Alexander. “There is usually some heckling that goes as well on too.”

Log rolling is hoping for an Olympic invitation in time for the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo.

Even without the Olympic showcase, the sport has at least one local youngster hoping one day she can be log rolling's own Michael Phelps.

“I would love to be in the Olympics,” said Stratford. “I think it would be so fun.”

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