Congratulations! Pole at the Olympics! What`s next?

I know that majority of my fellow pole dancers daydream, watching the Olympic games in Rio, about pole dance becoming the part of this incredible event.

There is so many argument in our community: should or should not pole be the Olympic discipline?

Shall we shame the strippers to get ourselves a ‘sporty’ reputation?

Who and how should work on our Olympic future?

As all of you, I am the devoted fan of the Olympic games since the early childhood.

More than that, being the TV choreographer I have worked with several Olympic champions and their coaches. I was the winner of the Pole Sport Championship the moto of which one is the Olympic future for pole dance.

Now I want to give you several facts about the pole in the Olympics.

What are the pros of pole dance becoming the recognized sport discipline?

- More people will accept it. Your jealous boyfriends will stop blackmailing you into quitting your favorite hobby, your Dad will boast with your pole successes at the office Christmas party, Moms of your child`s classmates will ask if you give them a discount for classes if they bring in their kid. Fabulous, isn`t it?

- Children on pole won`t be bullied anymore. Everybody loves little gymnasts, runners and figure skaters. Pole kids will finally receive the appreciation they deserve for their equally hard work.

- We will get government support. We won`t have to spend crazy money on PR, venues, training studios. The part of our country`s budget that we actually create by paying taxes will be spent on pole dance (sounds like a dream!).

- We will get big sponsors. To tell you the truth, I have been contacted by one of the biggest sportswear companies in the world (yes, the one I am sure you have in your closet). We had long fruitless negotiations that ended up in them asking me if I ever consider exchanging pole for street workout, they would be ready to talk then. I bet, we would have a different conversation if pole dance was an Olympic discipline.

- We will earn more money. Studios will have more students, there will be more studios, athletes will get scholarships, awards, money prizes for all the medals and achievement, and even potentials. Athletes would actually earn their living by training. As you know, all the high-ranked sportsmen get salaries or scholarships for the training period and for any of the achievements.

- Major brands will be making pole accessories. Pole top by Marc Jacobs, why not? A stainless pole by Philips, we can try!

- There will be more professionally equipped spaces to train. All your wildest dreams will come true – the highest ceilings possible with secure poles, different mats and spotting systems.

- There will be professional coaches and certifications for the schools and studios. Choosing a studio to attend will stop being a lottery - there will be the certain standard everywhere. Pole dance might become a discipline to study in the University, more research will be done on the special diets, regimes, muscle works especially for the pole dancers.

What are the contras of pole dance becoming the recognized sport discipline?

- More people get interested in anything - more negative people get involved in trendy sports. It means there will be more cyber bulling, more public figures basing their PR strategy on somebody`s fails or reputation. More attention always means more critics, and only one per cent of them is actually sane.

- The discipline will become more and more demanding. When I was performing in London with a bone fracture, it was a shock for many pole dancers. Though, for the sportsmen that train for Olympics it`s quite a common thing to do. Broken bones, broken backs, fragile joints – all this comes in the packages. Have you seen the latest video of Samir Ait Said(www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyjbwvzIBrI) ? Did it make you cringe? Unfortunately, that`s the real face of professional sport on the highest level.

- It will be controlled by government. We all get frustrated when we are judged by people who do not understand our discipline. We try to argue the scores, write angry posts on Facebook, demand justice. Now imagine that it`s not about a competition you trained hard for several months, it`s something you have been training for your whole life. You have been doing this, ruining your childhood, your health, your life, just to get one, maximum two chances, to go to the Olympic. Then you are not picked up, because somebody in your country`s committee simply doesn`t like you. Or, as it happened to Russia this year, you get punished for something you didn`t do, because you are the part of the team and the part of one big political game.

- It will become more and more competitive. I sometimes watch a gymnast, or a dancer, or a hand balancer and think – if that guy became a pole dancer, I would be screwed! Many people have natural talent for pole dance, but only very few of them actually dare to try it. Now imagine all of them training our discipline. The championships will stop being a celebration of beautiful community, it will be the bloody battle.

- Even though many of you think pole dance world is a cruel place to be, in reality it is not. Whenever anybody gets hurt because of their size, weight, skin color, clothes choice etc.,(www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4kJt5QfW3s) there is always, without any exception, always a higher number of people protecting the victim of trolling. It doesn`t happen in the cruel world of popular sport. You get judged all the time whatever you do. Your body, your face, your past, your habits, even your… hair. You can decide for yourself if you personally support the Olympic future of pole or not.

However, there is one question I can`t answer for myself. Will every cute girl still be asked to lap dance after pole dance becomes an Olympic discipline? Does Jessica Ennis get asked to do a sexy run to entertain her date? Or does Micheal Phelp get asked to show his body in his swim trunks (because you work in that, don`t you)?

What do you think?

Last modified onTuesday, 09 August 2016 18:59

9 comments

  • Ana Luz Navarro

    un sueño q algún día veremos realizado! !!!

    Ana Luz Navarro Tuesday, 09 August 2016 19:58 Comment Link
  • Analine

    I've been"attempting" pole for 3 years, but in those 3 years, and with a friend who works in Portland with Nike, I've been wondering why they've taken so long to embrace the sport. I laughed when you wrote, "I'm screwed", because I've often thought the opposite. "Wow, if that kid does pole, she/he is going to be amazing". Here is my only concern, I've always wanted to take a class with you Alex, and now you're going to be more expensive.

    Analine Tuesday, 09 August 2016 20:07 Comment Link
  • Sevi

    I personally love the no rules life of pole (well some rules depending on the type of competition and whether you want to compete). It's more about doing what you love and for so many a means of expression. I feel that pole as an Olympic sport would potentially turn more rigid and into a strict points system. On the other hand, it would be nice to see all these young athletes earn scholarships and support to live their dream, rather than spending ridiculous amounts in the process. I can only imagine that pole will become even bigger either way in the coming years. Look how much has been accomplished just in the recent years :)
    Thanks for writing this Alex.

    Sevi Tuesday, 09 August 2016 22:10 Comment Link
  • Anandi

    You are a sweetheart!
    I think we all have, all around the world our own lovely competitions. Ofcourse If Pole Dance is on the Olimpic games it will be a bust to all our business, will be great, but we don't really need all this.
    It is to much pressure for the athletes and the standar of freedom and pole will be banned. More physical or technical judgment will be on everybody's mind.

    Anandi Tuesday, 09 August 2016 22:37 Comment Link
  • Andrea James Lui

    I love your writing, Alex! You make so many great points on either side of the story. With so many new sports being included in the Olympics - rugby, kitesurfing - I say, why not pole dancing! Obviously, there's no perfect model for judging an artistic pursuit, but the hope alone that sexual harassment of pole dancers could be reduced is benefit enough to outweigh all other arguments! Or maybe the popularity would increase it the requests for lap dances...

    Andrea James Lui Wednesday, 10 August 2016 01:20 Comment Link
  • Chris Measday

    I have been in this industry for over a decade now and can honestly say I rarely get asked if I am a stripper anymore. The work that groups like IPDFA, UPA and IPSF have done, a long with all those brave competition and show case organisers and of course Social Media junkies has helped to bring Pole into a positive public light.. It has come a LONG way.
    Im not a huge supporter of the idea of Pole in the Olympics because I worry for the unique creative element of pole and what will become of it. But I cannot doubt their drive and enthusiasm. and I know the sacrifices that have had to be made; Financial, but especially, personally. To have pushed our community this far has sometimes meant sacrificing your good name or putting your reputation on the line to see it through. I always remember those Polers who were there at the start and who continue to work hard for us all. The fact we can even talk about it now as a possibility was impossible 10 years ago!!
    Nice article brother.

    Chris Measday Wednesday, 10 August 2016 02:07 Comment Link
  • Cleo

    Great article alex!

    Cleo Wednesday, 10 August 2016 05:45 Comment Link
  • Melisande

    I don't mind pole dance being considered as a sport like gymnastics, it's probably a very good thing, but my favorite pole competition will stay pole theatre. I don't like rules !

    Melisande Wednesday, 10 August 2016 05:54 Comment Link
  • Krista

    Really nice breakdown of benefits/costs of this direction! My two cents: I think we should promote professional/Olympic level pole development. Just like there will always be recreational and more theater-based versions of figure skating for example, there can always be the fun side of pole. But to really develop the full potential of the activity, we need those natural talents, we need the 'bloody battle[s].' It bothers me that many prefer a safe space to real greatness. With more talent, money, regulations, competitions will also become more fair & more objective. I love art, ballet etc... and a great artistic performance can still be that, but well-defined events and niches will improve the entire endeavor. And pole can still be inclusive. We have the best of the best elite NFL players at the professional level. It doesn't mean 'regular' people can't play in leagues etc.

    Krista Wednesday, 10 August 2016 16:14 Comment Link

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