Pole dancing for fitness

It's classy because it's in black and white

It’s classy because it’s in black and white

Forget swimming and gymnastics, the Olympic sport to watch in 2016 could well be pole dancing.

Yep, that’s right. Pole dancing is trying to strip off its seedy reputation (so to speak) and has submitted an official bid to be recognised as an Olympic sport.

“These women are incredible athletes. They have such grace and elegance and they absolutely belong in the Olympics,” said Timothy Trautman, CEO of the International Pole Sports Federation, in an interview with BuzzFeed.

A far-cry from its sexualised counterpart, performance pole dancing requires immense strength and coordination. Their routines are often impeccably thought-out and sometimes even imaginative.

Despite this, many believe the cultural resistance against pole dancing will be too robust to overcome, at least for now. U.S. National Pole Dancing Champion Natasha Wang is pessimistic about their Olympic aspirations. “While I support the pole community’s efforts to get pole into the Olympics,” Wang says, “I don’t think the general public is ready for the sport yet on such a mainstream/public scale.”

Regardless of whether it gets into the 2016 Olympics, there’s no doubt that pole dancing, as a sport, is growing in popularity.

A friend of mine, Tran, aged 28, has been pole dancing since October last year.  “I had a lesson for my 22nd birthday and really enjoyed it,” she says, “Last year, I saw an ad for a pole dancing class in my area and thought, ‘Stuff it, I’ll sign up’ and I’ve been going ever since.”

She says it’s improved her upper-body and core strength and that she prefers it to more conventional forms of exercise. “I used to go to the gym but I found the night classes were repetitive and boring,” says Tran, “Pole dancing is a lot more fun and that keeps me motivated.”

So why not? It keeps you fit, it’s interesting and it subverts the patriarchy. Yay feminism!

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