Pole dancing — which guys love to watch and girls love to try to learn at bachelorette party classes — may be looking at Olympic status in the future.
The International Pole Sports Federation (IPSF), which has officially existed since 2009, has been granted “observer status” by the Global Association of International Sports Federation (GAISF) which officially recognizes activities as a sport. This move will allow the pole sports federation to apply for the Olympics once they are full members. National pole dancing groups can now also apply for official recognition as a sport on the national level.
Pole dancing joins the World Arm Wrestling Federation, the World Dodgeball Association, the International Table Soccer Federation (yes, foosball), and a few other lesser-known sports as Observers in the global sports organization.
“We’re proving everybody wrong,” ISPF president Katie Coates told Times UK. “I’ve been told again and again by the traditional sports that it will be very difficult for us to be recognized as a sport, but that just spurs me on to achieve what they all say is impossible.”
Pole dancing requires strong upper body, core, and leg strength to do flips and tricks on a vertical pole.
Pole dancing has become popular as alternative fitness classes in recent years, but it is not easy.
“There are several reasons why pole, as a sport would be qualified as an Olympic sport. It requires strength, timing, coordination, flexibility and an extreme amount of dedication for it to be safe and to excel in the sport,” Wendy Traskos, the owner of NY Pole Dancing studio, which offers pole dancing classes, told the Daily News. Traskos is a 16-year veteran of the sport.
In order to move past Observer status, the International Pole Sports Federation must comply with anti-doping rules, fulfill GAISF compliancy of what constitutes a sport and increase global membership within two years.
“Myself personally,” Traskos said, “I don’t really want pole to be in the Olympics. I like that it is a sport for adults. If it goes into the Olympics it will be overpowered by 16-year-olds. And there will be no place for mature adults.”
Pole dancing, which has been considered by some a sport since 2009 and earlier, may one day be an Olympic sport.
The International Pole Sports Federation is made up of 25 national federations including Japan and Mexico, with the U.S. and China looking to join next year.
“I like that pole incorporates resistance training with sensual dance,” Traskos said. “Keeps it very unique from other sports.”