Last month, the third annual U.S. Pole Dancing Championship was held in NYC, and competitors told reporters that they want to be considered athletes and for their practice to be thought of as a sport. Now, the pole dancing community is taking their desires even further -- to the Olympics. Specifically, the 2012 summer games to be held in London.
The "Get Pole Dance Accepted into the Olympics" petition, set up by a British pole dancing company called Vertical Dance, reads:
After a great deal of feedback from the Pole Dance community, many of us have decided that its about time pole fitness is recognized as a competitive sport -- and what better way for recognition than to be part of the 2012 Olympics held in London! Like the horizontal bar, the vertical bar should have a place in international competitive sport.
The Pole Dancing Fitness Association agrees with the idea, saying the Olympic Committee needs to acknowledge the number of people who participate in the competitive sport.
I say, more power to 'em!
Why the heck shouldn't pole dancing be in the Olympics? Gymnastics and figure-skating seem to be in the same ballpark and require similar skills. Pole dancing is acrobatic, gymnastic, and technical. As the petitioners point out, the practice "takes a great deal of physical skill and strength to master." For that reason, I'm not sure what the question is? Although, what it likely boils down to is society's misconception of pole dancing as something that just "strippers do." In fact, some critics have even scoffed that if pole dancing gets the green-light for a test run at the Olympics, lap-dancing will be next. Sounds like ignorant, uptight ridiculousness to me.
We should remember that many current Olympic events were at one point unaccepted and/or misunderstood! Take BMX biking, for instance. It seems like that's the kind of "sport" that falls into a similar gray area. Even 20 years ago, it was probably seen as "alternative." But since premiering in the 2008 games, BMX racing has become a widely accepted addition to the summer sports.
What's more, pole dancing has an international following, which seems as though it would translate very nicely to the Olympics. Specifically, Britain, China, Russia, and Brazil are among at least 25 countries with federations affiliated to World Pole Dancing, which organizes the official world championships.
I think the future looks bright for pole dancing to make a play for the Olympics. At the very least, critics have to admit -- including it in the games next summer will certainly be a spiced-up way to attract more viewers!
Do you think pole dancing should be included as a test event in the 2012 Olympics?
Image via Foxtongue/Flickr