Pole Sports Taking Another Spin at IOC Inclusion
25 Jan, 2017By: Mary Helen Sprecher
When cheerleading first lobbied for IOC inclusion, people laughed and shrugged it off. The cheerleaders had the last laugh in December, however, when their sport was granted provisional Olympic recognition.
So when you hear pole sports (by the way, that would mean pole dancing, not javelin or pole vault) is discussing its own bid, don’t have that same knee-jerk reaction.
According to an article in Inside The Games, a meeting between the International Pole Sports Federation (IPSF) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is set to take place in early 2017 to discuss the sport’s potential for recognition.
The meeting in January “signifies a legitimate advancement of IOC Recognition for the IPSF,” the sport’s worldwide governing body said. “The pole community applauds and eagerly anticipates the outcome of this historic encounter when the IPSF puts pole sports squarely in the room with the IOC,” an IPSF statement added.
The governing body missed out on achieving the status previously, but remains optimistic about its chances, saying having a meeting with the IOC is a huge step forward.
We could not be more thrilled with this response and look forward to the meeting in January,” IPSF President Katie Coates said. “We realize that the IOC is a vast establishment and the recognition process is rigorous and lengthy to say the least, and we are honored to be invited. We look forward to the continued growth of Pole Sports as a whole during these challenging and engaging next steps.”
The International Pole Sports Federation's website showcases the various disciplines within pole sports, including the categories of Men, Women, Doubles, Masters (40+ and 50+) and Youth (10-14 and 15-17). Videos of competitive pole dancing can be found here.
The IPSF confirmed they had submitted an application for IOC recognition in October, which they said was the “beginning of a long process we are proud to be ready for” while claiming they are “rapidly evolving” to meet the eligibility criteria.
Provisional acceptance by the IOC, should pole sports gain it, would be a significant step, but it is not necessarily a ticket to the medal stand at the Games. A sport’s provisional membership lasts for up to three years, and it can only be made full members by an IOC Session. Even with acceptance, a sport may not appear on the Olympic program. For example, the International Ski Mountaineering Federation was fully recognized during this year's IOC Session in Rio de Janeiro, while the World Flying Disc Federation was added last year in Kuala Lumpur. Neither sport appears in the Olympics
The efforts of the IPSF were given a boost recently following their confirmation as a signatory of the World Anti-Doping Agency Code.
The IPSF was turned down for membership of umbrella organization SportAccord earlier this year. However, SportAccord has had its own problems, running afoul of many international governing bodies after its president criticized the IOC.