A group of pole dancing advocates wants the activity, more commonly associated with dim nightclubs, recognized as an Olympic sport. The Pole Fitness Association and other pole dancing advocacy groups are circulating petitions to have vertical dance, which they compare to gymnastics, added to the London 2012 lineup.
Petitioning the Olympic Committee isn’t a futile effort. Women’s boxing petitioned the committee and will debut as an official sport in 2012. Pole fitness, or vertical dancing — as advocates prefer to call it — is incredibly athletic. Exercise classes became popular over the last decade, with more than 500 pole dancing fitness studios across the U.S., according to the AFP. Amateur pole-dancing enthusiasts now participate in national and international championships.
But one big obstacle is standing in the way of the pole fitness bid: its notorious past. Pole dancing advocates want to be taken seriously, but to achieve legitimacy and make an R-rated activity PG for national broadcast, they’re trying to tone down the sexy. A Facebook inquiry on the Pole Fitness Association of America’s page recently put out a call for “good positive role models for the pole dance community” for a PSA that they play to broadcast nationally.