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The Reality of Pole in the Olympics

By on November 29, 2017

Now that the Olympic games are one step closer for pole, it’s time to consider the reality of what the Olympics would do for pole as a sport. Pole’s acceptance from the Global Association of International Sports Federation (GAISF) to “observer” status is the first step toward full approval by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the nudge that could propel pole in the Olympic games. There is a better article to explain the Olympic selection process.

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Hopeful sports are vying to get on the Olympic platform for many reasons, but the big one is coverage. Having a sport shown to the entire planet can change the face of a sport forever. The Olympic viewership alone creates a gigantic burst of interest and the sport sees a surge in participation, sponsorships and generally some new cash flow. This statement makes some of us in the pole dance community  happy and frightens others.

There are a multitude of pluses for showcasing at the Olympics. The exposure is a game changer for any sport. Millions of viewers all over the world get to see the highest form of the sport. Pole is flashy and fun to watch, much like ice skating, it’s a bit controversial which most likely will only flame the curiosity of viewers. Pole showing up at the Olympics would not be a quiet affair and the exposure could create a boom in the entire pole industry as new polers enter the scene. This could mean a demand for new studios, instructors, clothing, equipment and accessories.

Pole Dancer Daisy Moore. Photo by David J Harrison Photography

Another plus is that the Olympics legitimizes a sport and encourages new viewers to take a sport seriously. This could be paramount for the growth of the sport as a whole. Interest, and let’s be honest, money attract higher caliber athletes. Being featured in the Olympics leads to sponsorships for athletes, endorsements and the potential to have pole on a Wheaties box. The sport may become more standardized and monetized, but this means that the coaching and process of training improves, which could develop stronger athletes in general.  The simple fact is, if there is money in a sport, great athletes will show up. Hopefully these athletes love the sport and want to push the sport even further. This is not to say that the sport doesn’t have fantastic athletes currently, but the Olympics always pushes a sport to a new place. Snowboarding is a great example; the sport went from being a joked-about mountain pursuit that was assumed to be done only by stoners to one of the faster growing sports with the highest viewership in the Olympic games.

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One of the largest benefits that would come with Olympic coverage is safety. High standards would be set and developmental learning methods would be organized and taught to coaches in order to keep the sport at a consistent level of safety. Higher quality training will lead the sport to flourish and grow. This methodology will end up pushing the sport to new levels as athletes are trained more consistently with better techniques. Pole has been pushing new limits every year with regards to level of difficulty, but an Olympic push could jumpstart a new era. The Olympics create aspiration and drive. Athletes who were already pushing boundaries in the sport may find new focus in getting an Olympic medal, which in turn ups the ante on creativity and difficulty.

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There are, of course, some reservations that polers might have about pole being in the Olympics. I know that some of us fear change and fear the transformation of our beloved sport into a form of gymnastics with 12-year-olds winning medals. The reality is, this may be the future of Olympic pole athletes. Certain body types have advantages in gymnastic sports, hence the reason gymnastic coaches seek out women with the gymnastic build (small, strong, muscular). Someone with this body type does have advantages in aerial arts, pole, gymnastics, and ice skating. This is the reality of genetics; some people win the genetic lottery for the perfect pole body type. It does not mean that those of us without this genetic predisposition cannot achieve great things in pole, we just may have to work a bit harder.  The reality is one does not place an NFL linebacker into gymnastics, one does not place a professional gymnast into the defensive of line of a professional football game. All bodies are composed differently and with different innate athletic qualities. Olympic pole athletes may one day be no different than Olympic gymnasts.

There is an argument that the Olympics would crush the artistry and creativity of pole. Every sport has to organize and oversee itself. Pole comes as a sport, but also a performance art. The art aspect will not be completely destroyed or the sport would just be gymnastics. It is important that the governing body of the sport maintain the essence of pole, including the artistry. The boom that happens when a sport gets into the Olympics will most likely attract athletes who will push artistic creativity. Ice skating has survived as athletic but also hold high points for artistic ability. It is possible for pole to go this route.

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In the near future pole studios may be more like gymnastics gyms. There may be strong children’s programs with sanctioned competitions. Sexy adult pole may slink off to the side, but then again maybe not. Maybe sport pole and sexy pole will continue to co-exist. The sport is friendly to people of all ages and many students may still be coming to pole for themselves without Olympic dreams.

 

What do You think ab out Pole being in the Olympics? Leave a response pin the comment section below.

 

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Rebecca Stokes
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Rebecca Stokes

Rebecca is a certified personal trainer, aerial studio owner and has developed training certification in the aerial arts industry.She is a journalist and is working on her Masters in clinical mental health therapy.
Rebecca Stokes
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