The late-night Las Vegas attraction of pole dancing is trying to climb its way out of the dimly lit underground and onto the world’s biggest athletic stage, the Olympic Games. With the occasional gym offering pole dancing classes and marketing them as the next great workout, the pastime has been slowly breaking into the fitness mainstream for years. Now, according to an online petition to the International Olympic Committee sponsored by Vertical Dance and Labfitness, “In the Pole Dance community many of us have decided that it’s 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.” The petition, which includes 6,455 electronic signatures, goes on to compare the fitness level required and the skill it takes to master pole dancing right up there with those of figure skating and gymnastics. “They have just introduced BMX biking as an official sport so why not Vertical Dance?” If sports like curling or the one where you ski and shoot stuff can make the cut, does pole dancing—er, vertical dance have a shot? Many officials with the International Pole Dance Fitness Association (yes, that is a thing that is real), believe it is only a matter of time. “There will be a day when the Olympics see pole dancing as a sport,” the founder of the International Pole Dancing Fitness Association, Ania Przeplasko, told MSNBC. “The Olympic community needs to acknowledge the number of people doing pole fitness now.” With regional competitions and even a world championship held in Hong Kong last year, pole dancing officials are taking every step they can to become recognized by the IOC. But don’t tune in expecting to find Amber and Jasmine carrying the torch in lingerie spangled in their nation’s colors just yet. IOC recognition is a process that can take years with even traditional sports. Plus there are still so many questions left unanswered. Would it only air after 11 P.M.? Would admission include a two-Coke minimum? Would the refs double as bouncers? Much is uncertain about this new “sport,” but whether you support or oppose such an addition to the Olympic Games, the verdict from the IOC on its future will be sure to have many people on the edge of their seats… and possibly unable to get up from them.
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