Bonnie Thunders

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Bonnie Thunders
2010-08-15 Portland (GGRD v RatCity)-5141.jpg
Bonnie Thunders (in red) jams against Rat City
Personal information
Birth name Nicole Williams
Nickname(s) Bonnie Thunders
Nationality American
Born 1983
Youngstown, OH
Residence Portland, OR
Country United States
Sport Roller derby
Gotham Girls Roller Derby (2006-16)
Rose City Rollers (2017-present)
Team GGRD All Stars (2006-16)
Wheels of Justice (2017-present)
Achievements and titles
World finals World Cup winner: 2011, 2014, 2018
Regional finals WFTDA East Region Playoffs winner: 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012
WFTDA Division 1 Playoffs winner: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
National finals WFTDA Championships winner 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

Nicole Williams (born 1983), known as Bonnie Thunders, is a roller derby skater. Widely considered to be one of the greatest players of modern roller derby,[1] Bonnie Thunders has been referred to by multiple writers as "the LeBron James of roller derby".[2][3][4]

Early life[edit]

Williams grew up in Rome, New York, where she was a four-year varsity soccer player at Rome Free Academy,[5] before studying conservation biology with the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, linked to Syracuse University. She was a leading member of the college's synchronized skating squad,[6] the Syracuse Orange Experience, and also spent time playing soccer competitively.[7][5]

Roller derby[edit]

After moving to New York City, Williams found roller derby and traded in her ice skates for roller skates. In 2006, Williams successfully tried out for the Gotham Girls Roller Derby, and was placed on their Bronx Gridlock team.[8] Taking the name "Bonnie Thunders", in her first season, she was named the league's Rookie of the Year.[5] She soon became part of Gotham's travel team (All Stars), and skated for them when they won the 2008 WFTDA Championships, at which she won the Most Valuable Player award.[9] Although she worked for several years at a conservation charity,[10] in 2010 she opened Five Stride Skate Shop, a roller skate shop in Brooklyn, NY.[9]

By 2009, Bonnie Thunders was the captain of the Gotham Girls All Stars, and was also a member of the Women's Flat Track Derby Association's Tournaments Committee.[9] She currently[when?] holds the position of WFTDA Competition Manager. In 2012, Bonnie elected to retire from the Bronx Gridlock team in order to focus on playing with the All Stars.

Thunders won Gotham's Best Jammer award jointly in 2007 and in her own right in 2008, 2009,[7] 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013. She also won the Derby News Network readers' Most Valuable Jammer award in 2010[11] and again in 2011.[12] She is double jointed, which she believes helps her maneuver while jamming.[9]

At the end of 2016, Thunders moved to Portland, Oregon, and in January 2017 it was announced that she was officially joining the Rose City Rollers all-star team, the Wheels of Justice.[13]

International play[edit]

Bonnie Thunders has represented the United States in international play, having been selected for the Team USA roster for the Roller Derby World Cup in both 2011[14] and 2014.[15] Thunders will be representing USA Roller Derby again for the 2018 Roller Derby World Cup.[13]


  • Gotham Girls Rookie of the Year 2007[5]
  • Gotham Girls Best Jammer 2008, 2009,[7] 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
  • Bronx Gridlock MVP 2008, 2010
  • Gotham Girls All Stars MVP 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
  • Gotham Girls League MVP 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
  • WFTDA East Region Playoff MVP 2008
  • WFTDA Championships MVP 2008[9]
  • WFTDA Division 1 Playoff (Asheville) MVP 2013

In December 2016 at Gotham's end-of-year awards night, Bonnie Thunders' jersey was retired by the league.[16]


  1. ^ "A Roller Derby World Cup Roster Of Red, White And Bruise". espnW. ESPN. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  2. ^ Casey, Liam (1 December 2011). "Roller derby's race for respect | Toronto Star". Toronto Star. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  3. ^ Frye, Andy (1 May 2013). "Meet ... the LeBron James of roller derby?". ESPN. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  4. ^ Gerbasi, Thomas (23 June 2012). "Is Gotham Girl All-Star Bonnie Thunders the LeBron James of Roller Derby?". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d "Star player for NYC roller derby team has connections to Rome". Rome Sentinel. 20 November 2008. Archived from the original on 25 April 2012. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  6. ^ Glavin, Kristina (10 February 2004). "Synchronized skaters practice for perfection" (PDF). Syracuse. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 September 2004. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  7. ^ a b c "Skater Profile: Bonnie Thunders of the Bronx Gridlock | Gotham Girls Roller Derby". Gotham Girls Roller Derby. 29 June 2010. Archived from the original on 29 July 2010. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  8. ^ Scarff, Liz (May 2007). "Roller Girls: The Fact and the Furious". Marie Claire. Archived from the original on 25 April 2012. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  9. ^ a b c d e "August 2010 Featured Skater:Bonnie Thunders - Featured Skaterof the Month - Women's Flat Track Derby Association". WFTDA. 1 August 2010. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  10. ^ Abby Luby, "Bronx Gridlock team skates in citywide women's derby league", New York Daily News, 14 March 2009
  11. ^ "DNN Best of 2010 Reader Poll: Results", Derby News Network, 31 December 2010
  12. ^ "DNN Best of 2011 Poll: Results", Derby News Network, 26 December 2011
  13. ^ a b Frye, Andy (18 January 2017). "Roller derby legend Bonnie Thunders, aka Nicole Williams, leaves Gotham for Rose City". espnW. ESPN. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  14. ^ Justice Feelgood Marshall, "Team USA Announces 28-Skater Roster", Derby News Network, 7 August 2011
  15. ^ Talionis, Lex (15 October 2013). "2013-14 Team USA Roster Revealed". Derby News Network. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  16. ^ Powell, Dylan (4 December 2016). "Bonnie Thunders, OMG WTF, Vicious Van Go Go and Flo It All Retire From Gotham". The Apex. The Derby Apex. Retrieved 4 December 2016.