From pole to podium

Pole dancing may become an Olympic sport sooner than you may think

by Jillian Zacchia

The Vancouver Olympics have just ended and already many people are looking forward to the 2012 summer Olympics in London, England.
Japan’s Mia Sato is one of those hopeful athletes whose sights are set on the Olympics, but there’s a slight set back in her path to the podium. She’s a pole dancer.

Sato is the world pole-dancing champion and she wants her sport to be recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Sato is among thousands of international “athletes” in her field who have signed a petition to make pole dancing an official Olympic event.

Although pole dancing has a lingering sexual stigma attached to it, it has become well known as an aerobic exercise as well as a performing art. Even Oprah is jumping on the pole dancing bandwagon, as she dedicated an entire show to pole dancing which explained it as a great way to exercise and lose weight.

Katie Coates, the director of Vertical Dance, takes it a step further by saying that pole dancing is on the same level as gymnastics.
Sato trains for five hours a day, five days a week and has immense upper body and abdominal strength to suspend herself from a steel pole.
But is that enough to qualify it as a sport?

Coates thinks so and she is leading the petition, which has been signed by over 4,000 people.  Coates hopes to get 5,000 signatures which will hopefully make pole dancing a “test” event in the 2012 summer Olympics. Coates is ready to present a more formal pitch for the 2016 summer Olympics in Rio de Jeneiro.

There is some confusion over what sports can become official Olympic events.

After all, women’s ski jumping is no longer one of the winter Olympic events, and at one point in time tug-of-war was an Olympic sport.
This lack of a concrete definition gives pole dancers hope, however there is another slight problem that arises.
Any new Olympic sport has to be for both male and female, meaning we would have to watch male pole dancers compete as well.
Wendy Traskos, co-founder of the U.S. Pole Dance Federation, says there’s a long way to go before pole dancing can join the Olympics as an official event. The first q step will be to standardize scoring for the competition as well as the names of the various techniques and moves that the dancers can use.

With a lot of work maybe we will see pole dancing in the upcoming Olympics. Who knows, maybe Canada will bring home the gold seeing as how Montreal is notoriously known for their erotic pole dancers.

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