The Olympics recently ended, and it was two weeks of athletic power. Most people think if you or your sport are in the Olympics you’ve made it. And while it’s not the end all be all competition for every sport, it is a huge stage for the world to recognize your sport.
There’s been talk of pole dancing being in the Olympics. It’s even started the journey to qualify. But that is a many years and intense journey, so it wouldn’t be any time soon.
Pole being in the Olympics would be a wonderful thing for the sport: the athleticism would be validated, people would see that it is a legitimate form of art and exercise, and that it is appropriate for everybody at every age (Yes, even kids!). You’d get to compete against some of the best in the world. If you won, you’d be placed in that elite few. But would it take the place as the top competition for polers? Would it surpass the likes of Miss Pole Dance Australia or IPC or PSO or others? If it ever does enter the Olympics (summer obviously), I would watch of course. Seeing Amy Hazel on that international stage would be so cool!
But…pole being in The Games makes me nervous.
How would it be structured? Would there be different age groups for men and women? I’m going to use gymnastics as a reference. Most of those competitors are around 16. They’re young. But some of the best pole dancers are in their late 20 or 30s. Unlike gymnasts, pole dancers have long careers in competitions. And flexibility and style range greatly over the years. It doesn’t seem fair to have them in the same category.
I fear the scoring system would harm pole, too. Now in pole competitions the themes and costumes vary greatly from person to person. There isn’t a set list of moves that have to be in routines. Points are awarded based on transitions, floor work, difficult of tricks, etc. For Olympic scoring, they tend to place higher value on power moves than flow or transitions. To help with scoring, because there are so many moves in pole, there would have to be a list of required tricks. These would decrease the creativity of a routine and the choreography from dance to dance would start to look similar. Gymnastics used to have much more dance elements in it, but after the score system change a few years ago, it was all but eliminated and now it’s just trick after trick.
In pole you can focus on the dance side, power side, exotic side, or combine all three! That’s what makes it so unique and wonderful to watch! Would there be different events that highlight these categories? Or would it be one category to determine who wins? Some people who train power moves don’t like adding a lot of dance elements. Some people who train the dance side don’t want to learn power moves. If the judges only wanted to see large tricks, it would eliminate a lot of competitors. Would they allow heels? That’s such a big part of pole! I don’t think the Olympics would want exotic pole to be included. Sexy moves would be limited or points would be removed. Some competitions that have Olympic dreams are being a bit stricter with things like body waves or sultry floor work already.
If these things do happen, I’m glad we’ll still have other competitions that are less structured and allow for more creativity in execution. I never want any aspect of pole to go away. Everyone has their favorite genre of pole and they should all be celebrated.