SCOTT OLSON

This is the story of a St. Louis Park boy who made a fortune by figuring out how he could play hockey in the summer.

Scott Olson didn’t invent the concept of rollerblades, but he did develop “softer, polyurethane wheels for better traction and dual bearings for greater speed.”  Neighbors remember him and his friend Tommy Howard playing hockey in the street at Coolidge and 43 1/2 Street – in the summer.  He developed the skate and created Rollerblade, Inc. in 1979. 

Unfortunately, he was a better idea man than businessman, and ended selling the company to Robert Naegele of the billboard Naegeles.  Scott left the organization in 1985, at the behest of the company; he says he was “given the boot.”  Next came a five year lawsuit that resulted in his collecting six figure royalties every year. 

He created and sold another company – Innovative Sports Systems – that marketed another invention, the Switchit Skate, which switches from in-line rollers to ice skating blades.  That company was sold in 1991. 

And then there was that bike he developed that friend Tommy rode from New York to Florida.

Scott was born in 1959 and graduated from St. Louis Park High School in 1977.  His father Charles was a teacher at Susan Lindgren Elementary School.  Growing up in St. Louis Park, Scott lived at 2916 Jersey. 

Click for an interview with Scott conducted by Steve Hahn for Steve’s “Hockey in the Park” series. 

Also see a video about Scott posted by the Patch.