Should Pole Dancing Be An Olympic Sport?

The International Pole Sports Foundation thinks the Olympics needs a little spicing up.

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STR/AFP/GettyImages
STR/AFP/GettyImages

This picture taken on July 2, 2012 shows pole dancing teacher Wang Jing performing at a nightclub in southwest China's Chongqing municipality. Pole dancing (with clothes kept on) is nudging its way into the mainstream Chinese exercise market with increasing numbers of gyms and dance schools offering classes.

When Jeannine Wikering came in third in the European pole-dancing championships back in 2008 she said, “I think one day it should be an Olympic sport — but that will take time.” Four years on, and if the International Pole Sports Federation gets their way, that time may be now.

While pole dancing may have originally been inspired by the routines performed by dancers in strip clubs, today’s practitioners are adamant that it is truly a sport. “These women are incredible athletes. They have such grace and elegance and they absolutely belong in the Olympics. But we do fight the stereotype that it’s for strippers,” IPSF founder and president Timothy Trautman told Buzzfeed. Watch a few routines on YouTube and you may agree that pole dancing requires above average athletic prowess.

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As the ostensible sport attempts to shake its shady reputation, the International Pole Sports Federation has started making tentative steps in the process of becoming officially recognized by the Olympic Committee in the hopes of being included in future Games. According to the Official website of the Olympic Movement, “To make it onto the Olympic program, a sport first has to be recognized: it must be administered by an International Federation which ensures that the sport’s activities follow the Olympic Charter. If it is widely practiced around the world and meets a number of criteria established by the IOC session, a recognized sport may be added to the Olympic program on the recommendation of the IOC’s Olympic Program Commission.” Once the baseline requirements are established, the sport can eventually draft an official petition for consideration by the International Olympic Committee.

The IPSF is just at the beginning of their journey towards establishment, but they are making progress. According to Buzzfeed, IPSF has already written bylaws and and an official rule book for pole dancers. They’ve also organized the first World Pole Sport Championship, an event the organization has cannily scheduled to take place in London just days before the Olympics kick off.

The road to Olympic recognition is a long one, however. Therefore if you are interested in the sport, but have no experience in pole dancing, there’s still time to train for your Olympic dream. The IPSF doesn’t expect to get Olympic consideration until 2020.

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