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Is Pole Dancing What's Missing from the Olympics?

By Meredith Carroll |

Pole dancing

Is this a medal-worthy performance?

Have you long felt there’s something missing at the Olympics? Something that would give it that extra oomph? Something with a little more pizazz and excitement and sexiness than curling and shot putting?

If that kind of deep thought keeps you up at night, then you probably already know what the answer is: Pole dancing.

And if some pole dancers have their way, it will become a reality at the Olympics — and in primetime, not just in the bars late night after the medals have been awarded.

The International Pole Sport Federation (yup) is moving full steam ahead in an effort to get it included as an Olympic sport, according to

“The biggest challenge is going to be the stereotyping that we have to deal with. And you know, quite frankly everyone thinks pole fitness and pole sport and everything came out of strip clubs but it started long before then,” said Tim Trautman, president of the IPSF.

Pole dancing classes have become a legitimate part of exercise routines for non-strippers over the past decade, with interest doubling over the past six years. And now, “thousands of dancers from around the world train to perform in international pole competitions,” reports.

The IPSF will be hosting a pole dancing world championship in London a few days before the start of the Olympics with competitors from 25 countries, according to BuzzFeed — and the hope is that will gain global attention, and eventually, approval from the International Olympic Committee.

There are now established bylaws and official pole dancing rule books, although official Olympic consideration isn’t expected until the 2020 Games.

Between now and then, serious pole dancers know they have lots of work to do, not the least of which is an effort to shake the perception that pole dancing and stripping are one in the same.

“We have to take some of the eroticism out of the moves and also take off the high heels. We’re going to frame it as these are athletes that you’re watching,” said Trautman.

Can you envision pole dancing as an Olympic sport?

Photo credit: iStock

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About Meredith Carroll


Meredith Carroll

Meredith C. Carroll is an award-winning columnist and writer based in Aspen, Colorado. She can be found regularly on the Op-Ed page of The Denver Post. From 2005-2012 her other column, "Meredith Pro Tem" ran in several newspapers, as well as occasionally on The Huffington Post since 2009. Read more about her (or don’t, whatever) at her website. Read bio and latest posts → Read Meredith's latest posts →

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2 thoughts on “Is Pole Dancing What's Missing from the Olympics?

  1. CF says:

    My small town is famous for its outdoor street pole vaulting contest. I don’t think they’d be keen on adding an outdoor street pole dancing contest. And yes, I get that pole fitness is incredibly athletic. But it isn’t a competition.

  2. Linda, T.O.O. says:

    Flat Track Roller Derby is what’s missing from the Olympics. ;)

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