Remember "The Skipper"? He's Back! And He's Working Against Mitt Romney

Slate's Culture Blog
Aug. 6 2012 8:15 AM

We Have Finally Found “The Skipper”

"The Skipper"
A video of Bill Martinelli aka "The Skipper" went viral back in April.

Still from YouTube.

When a video of “The Skipper”—a man who travelled everywhere by skipping—appeared on Reddit in April and began to go viral, many fans demanded that the Internet band together and track him down. The top comment on YouTube read, “WE MUST FIND THE SKIPPER NOW, AND SEE IF HE IS STILL SKIPPING.” One Redditor posted an Ask Me Anything request for “The Skipper.” 

Forrest Wickman Forrest Wickman

Forrest Wickman is a Slate staff writer. 

While at that time we unable to track him down, Brow Beat did unearth a 4,000-word Miami Herald profile of the man—whose real name is Bill Martinelli—from 1988. The profile, “A Leap of Faith,” revealed how even through tough times in the ‘80s—including losing his girlfriend, suffering a possibly homophobic beatdown, and losing a legal battle that threatened his right to skip for a living—Martinelli had never lost the bounce in his step. However, in the more than twenty years since, there appeared to be no further mentions of The Skipper and his whereabouts, and whether he was still skipping remained mysterious.

So you can imagine my surprise when I got a message from Kim “Skipper” Corbin—creator of skipping advocacy site iSkip.com—revealing that she had found “The Skipper.” As Corbin detailed on her site, she had been looking for Martinelli for years, but it was only after the Martinelli video went viral that she was able to recruit the help of others to track him down. It turns out that while The Skipper, as Corbin reported and as Martinelli confirmed to me, “does not currently have a regular skipping practice,” he hasn't lost his faith in skipping. He still believes that skipping is “a better way to move across the earth”:

Better than running because it’s less harmful. Better than walking because it’s faster. When done properly it is a controlled form of locomotion that can certainly be incorporated into everyday life.
Whether it will become more mainstream or not may in part depend on what you and I do in the future.
Advertisement

Martinelli, who now goes by the name Skip Martin, also described how it felt to see his video go viral:

Flipper_shirt
A t-shirt for sale from Bill Martinelli aka Skip Martin.

Credit: MittRomneyFlipFlops.net.

It came as a complete surprise to me and I only found out about it after I started hearing from friends. What doesn’t surprise me is the interest in it. I was always the object of intense curiosity and interest from the day in 1982 when I went public with it. … It reminded me of some of the fascinating things which  happened to me as a result of being the first adult human being to take a childhood form of movement and incorporate it into daily life.

So what is The Skipper up to now, if not skipping? His real passion is working to help defeat Mitt Romney. Martin runs the Web site MittRomneyFlipFlops.net, which sells anti-Romney t-shirts. As he told Corbin, “If he’s elected, I’m skipping town.”

Previously
The Amazing History of “The Skipper”

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

The U.S. Is So, So Far Behind Europe on Clean Energy

The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers

The Best Thing About the People’s Climate March in NYC

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

John Oliver Debunks the Miss America Pageant’s Claim That It Gives Out $45 Million in Scholarships

Trending News Channel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Over There
Sept. 22 2014 1:29 PM “That’s Called Jim Crow” Philip Gourevitch on America’s hypocritical interventions in Africa.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 22 2014 1:37 PM Subprime Loans Are Back! And believe it or not, that’s a good thing.
  Life
Outward
Sept. 22 2014 2:55 PM Nuptial Expert Sarkozy Worries About Gay Marriage and the Family
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 12:29 PM Escaping the Extreme Christian Fundamentalism of "Quiverfull"
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
  Arts
Television
Sept. 22 2014 2:12 PM Crusader, Sans Cape The superhero trappings of Gotham are just a clever disguise.
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 12:14 PM Family Court Rules That You Can Serve Someone With Legal Papers Over Facebook
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 22 2014 12:15 PM The Changing Face of Climate Change Will the leaders of the People’s Climate March now lead the movement?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.