Once seen as seedy, now recognized as a respected art form, pole dancing could be about to get even more international acclaim. Pole dancing has already been granted “observer status” by the Global Association of International Sports Federation (GAISF,) which means it’s conditionally recognized as a sport. This means it just got one step closer to being in the Olympics. Once it’s formally recognized as a sport, pole dancing groups will officially be able to apply for Olympic entry.
What are the reasons for this? If you think about the requirements, it’s obvious. Pole dancing requires incredible agility and strength. It requires intense physical and mental exertion, as well as a high degree of flexibility in order to execute the contortions and poses. Certain communities revere it as much as, if not more than, gymnastics.
But it’s still got a long way to go before we’ll be seeing it in the official Olympic Games. Prospective sports need separate recognition from the International Olympic Committee. And even then, it needs to petition to become an official Olympic sport. Additionally, the International Pole Sports Federation (IPSF) must comply with anti-doping regulations, fulfill GAISF sports regulation compliancy and increase global membership significantly.
Though it could be a long time before we see the first gold medal pole dancer, many thought that pole dancing would never reach observer status with GAISF. It just goes to show that when there’s a pole there’s a way.
Even without Olympic recognition, there’s still a thriving sporting event community for pole dancing. For example, the IPSF began a pole dancing world championship in 2012. The inaugural games were held in London, to coincide with the 2012 Olympics. They’ve been held every year in the same city since. As many as 30 different countries join together to compete, with categories for men, women, doubles, masters and youth participating.