Looks like the Olympic Committee is considering running exotic dancing “up the pole.”
Apparently, pole dancing is gaining a bigger following than just guys who want to stop off at the local strip club after work and lighten their wallets of a few dollar bills. Now there is an organization, the International Pole Sports Federation, fighting hard to gain respectability for a “sport” that has long been considered . . . uh . . . “recreation.”
Here’s the deal.
Pole dancing has generally fallen into three distinct categories. First, there is the well known “entertainment” category. This would include strippers dancing naked with a pole. Next, there is pole fitness. People take classes and get fit in this unique and challenging way. Finally, there are pole sports where people compete for prizes, perhaps even dollars, which presumably they stuff in their own wallets and not elsewhere as typically occurs in the first category.
I’m guessing that a few people who participate in Category 2 later find that they prefer Category 1 or 3. It’s one of those few “sports” where the options are so wide ranging.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the Federation is making a huge push for Olympic acceptance. For example, they’ve now written a guidebook for judging competition, and they’ve even renamed the moves common in pole dancing to make them seem more “official.” For example, the “Spatchcock” is now called the FM10. Doesn’t that sound better? Actually, the figure skating world could take a page from the pole sports crowd. I always thought a Salchow jump and Camel spin didn’t sound like something a self-respecting athlete would be doing.
Still, I think pole dancing has lots of hurdles to overcome. For one thing, some of its more notable contestants are also burlesque dancers and strippers. Is this really the image we want on our Wheaties box?
While I don’t want to judge the sport too soon, I really don’t think now is the time to elevate it into an Olympic sport. For example, who on Earth would NBC get to cover the competition for the network?
I can see it now . . . .
A Brent “Creepyburger” Musburger redux calls the action while former Olympic great “Luscious” provides color commentary. (“Notice how she slowly slides her left leg up the pole while extending her posterior backwards.” “Did you see how she slid her chest down the pole? If that’s not a 10, I don’t know what is.”).
Besides regulating the moves, the Federation is also trying to provide rules about the “uniform.” For one thing, you can’t compete naked. That’s good. You also can’t use a hat or cane as a prop. Everything must be firmly affixed to your uniform. If something falls off while you’re spinning around the pole, too bad. Better luck next time.
In this regard, they are better than the nearest Olympic counterpart I can think of . . . again . . . figure skating. Have you seen some of those outfits?
Still, I can’t picture the whole competition, or better yet the awards ceremony. While I usually tear up whenever I see the American flag drop from the rafters while the national anthem plays in the background and the athlete smiles proudly up on the stand, I would find the ceremony celebrating a pole dancing competition actually sort of embarrassing for everyone involved.
Which brings up another thought . . . would they hang the medal around the contestant’s neck or just stuff it down their shorts as some sort of tribute to the sport’s origins?
Honestly, I just don’t think the world is ready for this.
But if it happens, don’t be too surprised when Will Ferrell’s sequel to Blades of Glory is a pole dancing film.