Peter Hapak

The Interview

I like that I have a strong rear end -- you can hit people with it, play defense with it, and you don't hurt your tailbone when you fall. It's really an 'ass-et' in Roller Derby.

Why pose for the Body Issue?

It's such good exposure for roller derby. It's the best opportunity to show that our sport is genuinely athletic. I want people to know that we are athletes, and we live our lives like athletes. We train hard, like anyone else posing for this magazine. It's not exactly the same as the Olympics, but it's legitimately a sport.

How did you get started?

It came at a weird time. I was out of college with nothing else going on. Roller derby had just come on the map in 2004, and I didn't even know what it was. It was one of those "yeah, that sounds cool!" kinds of things. When I first went to a rink, I could barely skate, but they looked at me and said: "You could be a jammer!" I didn't know what the heck I was signing up for, but I had a hunch.

What muscles do you need in the sport?

It's all about the quads and the bum. That's what you'll see first develop in your body. It's all that time spent on skates. We try to train the whole body and be a well-rounded athlete -- just like cyclists don't just work their legs.

Suddenly, your jeans will get tighter. When your body changes, you become really confident and proud about it. It's not, "Oh, I need to buy pants because I gained weight." It's more like you have to go up a pant size because you became strong. You know that it came from really hard work. The bigger pants is just a way of quantifying that hard work.

How physical is roller derby?

It's like hockey; a full-contact sport with a lot of injuries that are knee-related. Collarbones can get broken. I broke my kneecap once and was back in four weeks. No big deal. We are just used to it, like a hockey or football player accepts that making contact is part of the job. For me, it's instinctual. A lot of it has to do with being physical and playing sports -- the animal emotions, the adrenaline rush and the will to survive. When someone hits me, I hit back. It's reactionary and primal. But the brutality is not all there is to the game. There's also a lot of strategy to it, too.

What do you like about your body?

I have strong arms. People will compliment me on them, and I'm really flattered. I like that I have a strong rear end -- you can hit people with it, play defense with it, and you don't hurt your tailbone when you fall. It's really an "ass-et" in roller derby. It's kind of like being tall in basketball.

-- Interview by Morty Ain

More Athletes

Suzy Hotrod

Co-captain of Team USA Roller Derby
  • Age

    30

  • Body stats

    5-foot-7, 150 pounds

  • Birthplace

    Lindenwold, N.J.

  • Career highlight

    Won the WFTDA National Championship in 2008 with the Gotham Girls Roller Derby All Stars

  • Who knew?

    Her many aliases include: Stabby Hotdog, Suzy Hotmom, Suzy HighTops, Suzy "Blank Check" Hotrod, Scabby Hottub, Skippy Hopscotch, Suzy Hotface and Suzy Muscle Car.