Recognize Pole Dancing as New Olympic Sport

By Ben Johnson

Pole Dancing. Olympics. When people see these two subjects together, they never connect the dots. However if you put them in the question, “Should pole dancing be considered an Olympic sport?” the answer is undeniably “yes.”

Pole dancing’s reputation has soared in past years. It’s no longer considered just something sexy chicks do at various types of bars, although many still do that. But many also get involved in pole dancing for the fitness workout: pole dancing, as many see, is a physically demanding exercise, yet still artistic. Pole dancing combines physical strength with creativity to produce a whole new way of dancing. In order to pole dance, you must have high endurance, coordination, and flexibility to complete the complicated twist, turns, dips, climbs, and slides down a magically simple metal pole.

The Olympics have accepted pole vaulting, parallel bars, and uneven parallel bars—all which are horizontal pole–based sports. So why shouldn’t the vertical pole be honored by the Olympics too? Others questionable sports include tug–a–war and curling. The various pole sports have been going on in the Olympics for at least a decade, but poor little pole dancing never got its chance to step up and prove itself. Well its chance has arrived.

Numerous organizations are putting their voice out into the public, expressing how they feel about pole dancing, saying that it’s unreasonable that pole dancing still isn’t a sport. Two years ago, the United States Pole Dancing Federation (USPDF) was formed. The USPDF hosts competitions, as well as workshops, classes, and panel discussions, which cover teaching techniques, safety, fitness, dance, and style.

Two organizations by the names of Vertical Dance and Labfitness combined their views to form the Get Pole Dancing Accepted into the Olympics Petition. This petition has currently been signed by over four thousand people and is expected to have another thousand in the next month. A majority of the supporters are coming from England, the country where the 2012 Olympics will be held. The petition was sent to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which decides which athletic endeavors are truly considered to be sports.

People also need to recognize how hard women work at pole dancing. One of the biggest advocates in this heated debate is world–champion pole dancer Mai Sato. Currently 29 years old and from Japan, Sato trains for at least five hours a day, five days a week just like another serious athlete in a qualified sport. Sato, along with countless other women working hard and entering competition, should be awarded with gold medals for all they’ve gone through.
Although people are pushing for pole dancing to be in the Olympics, it quite unlikely it will happen in London. The 2012 Olympics have already closed their doors for deciding which sports will be held. Yet there is still hope. A group supporting pole dancing wants to at least have a test–run during 2012 and then have a follow–up of the formal pole dancing competition held in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil for the 2016 Olympics.

Another problem about promoting pole dancing in the Olympic games is the doubt factor. Many pessimists realize how many other sports haven’t been accepted by the IOC, like cricket. Other sports such as baseball and softball were cut from the Olympics a few years back. In the Summer Games of 1992, the IOC decided to stop supporting “nonofficial demonstration sports,” which was defined by a long list of factors.

The other main reason pole dancing has fewer supporters is due to the actual pole dancers and some of their instructors. They both believe that making pole dancing an official sport, let alone an Olympic sport, would take way from the significance of all the personal labor and commitment that goes into pole dancing. People fear that it might conceal the sensual, sexual, and creative factors that play a huge role in current pole dancer’s lives, especially if the IOC limits how high your stilettos can be or deem something to be too sexual. Questions as to how the judges would actually score someone must come into play as well.

So far, it’s looking like pole dancing will eventually, with enough effort, push through the doors that the IOC guards. The dancers deserve a break; they deserve the right to be in the Olympics.
Pole dancing. Olympics. It’s a hard topic to wrap our minds — and legs — around.