Q & A: Bumble Rumble Roller Derby: One grad student and her community on skates


RACHEL SUN | The Daily Evergreen

Rachel Olsen, aka “Rumble Bee” said her favorite part about roller derby is the the supportive community.

RACHEL SUN, Evergreen reporter

Name, age: Rachel Olsen aka “Rumble Bee,” 31

Occupation: Ph.D. student at WSU studying bumblebees

How did you get into roller derby?

“I was looking for an activity outside of school, and I had a friend who played and she recruited me. It’s the best decision I’ve ever made in my life. It was about two years ago.”

What is the best thing about roller derby for you?

“The people. The community is incredible. I’ve said many times that the only reason I’m still in grad school is because of the support of both the people on my team, and other teams. The community is so strong, supportive and empowering to anyone looking for a friend.  You put on a pair of skates, and you’ve got 40 new best friends.”

Did you ever roller skate or do other sports before this?

“I hung out at the roller rink as a kid, but I hadn’t skated as an adult until I started playing with Palouse River Rollers. I did competitive gymnastics when I was younger, and I played golf. But we have a lot of skaters that have never done any sport before. This is their first sport, this is their first team sport, and it’s such a good one to get into.”

So you’re a grad student studying bees at WSU. Where are you from?

“I’m originally from Olympia, and I moved here about three years ago.”

What are some of the big differences you’ve noticed here versus Olympia?

“The town is a little smaller here, so the community seems a little tighter. That sort of translates into roller derby also.”

What do you like to do outside of roller derby and your research?

“I knit and I play video games a bit.  But honestly school and roller derby take up 95 percent of my time.”