Artistic roller skating is a sport which consists of a number of events. These are usually accomplished on quad skates, but inline skates may be used for some events. Various flights of events are organized by age and ability/experience. In the US, local competitions lead to 9 regional competitions which led to the National Championships and World Championships.
- Figures: the individual follows the figure circle line on a specific edge. Figures become progressively more complex with the addition of turns and the use of the third circle (similar to compulsory or "school" figures on ice).
- Freestyle: the individual performs a solo routine with jumps and spins to their chosen piece of music.
- Duo Free (also called Pairs): two individuals perform jumps, spins, and lifts to their chosen piece of music.
- Couples Compulsory Dance: two people perform a dance consisting of a set sequence of steps in a pattern around the rink to a piece of music to a given tempo. There are no jumps or spins.
- Solo Compulsory Dance: an individual performs a dance consisting of a set series of steps in a pattern around the rink to a piece of music to a given tempo. There are no jumps or spins.
- Quartet: A themed routine performed by a team of four skaters. Team skating, similar to synchronized skating on ice.
- Club Show: A club of skaters perform a themed show routine.
- Original dance: the individual dancer or dance couple performs a routine to a musical medley with a set theme. The original dance includes a section that is a set compulsory dance but the rest of the routine is original choreography in keeping with the given theme. In national and international championships at the Junior and Senior level, original dance has replaced compulsory dance.
- Free dance: the individual dancer or dance couple performs a routine to their chosen piece of music. Free dance is heavily focused on footwork and choreography and there are restrictions on jumps and spins, and in couples free dance restrictions on the types of lifts allowed. This is often the final part of a roller dance competition where the first part is compulsory dance or original dance.
Artistic roller skaters use either quad or inline skates, though quad skates are more traditional and significantly more common. Generally, quad and inline skaters compete in separate events and not against each other. Inline figure skating has been included in the world championships since 2002 in Wuppertal, Germany.
The sport is similar to its counterpart on ice, with some differences in moves, technique, and judging. Many ice skaters started in roller skating or vice versa. Famous champion ice skaters who once competed in roller skating include Brian Boitano, Tara Lipinski and Marina Kielmann. Artistic roller skating is often considered to be more difficult because ice allows the skater to draw a deep edge to push off from when performing jumps such as a Lutz or an Axel and roller skates are heavier than their ice equivalents, making jumping harder.