Fitness Trends Lifestyle
Pole dancing Vadim Ghirda/AP

Natalia Meshcheriakova of Russia performs in the finals of the World Pole Dance Sport Championship 2016 in Bucharest, Romania.

October 20, 2017

Pole dancing could one day be an Olympic sport

Porn star, Philly booster and one-time California guv hopeful Mary Carey fully supports the cause

If you’ve ever tried to straddle a pole at a bachelorette party, you probably know one thing: pole dancing ain’t easy.

The act of gliding, spinning and contorting and suspending your body alongside a smooth pole is not for the weak.

As of late, the strength-training nature of pole dancing has been gaining traction in the fitness community and is now being taken more seriously by physical fitness experts.

Earlier this month, the Global Association of International Sports Federation (GAISF) – the umbrella organization that oversees all Olympic sports federations – recognized that truth when they awarded the International Pole Sports Federation (IPSF) “observer” status.

This means pole dancing can now be recognized as a sport, and could work its way towards the actual Olympics themselves.

Film director and adult film star Mary Carey, known for her role on VH1's "Celebrity Rehab," rarely passes up a chance to stop in Philly. 

Two years ago, she told this reporter she flirted with the idea of running for mayor of our fair city, and celebrated her birthday at the Gold Club in Center City with pornographic actress Lacey Rain, famous for her contortionist acts and stripper-pole acrobatics. 

"I think pole dancing should be an Olympic sport," Carey said Tuesday. 

"It requires so much core, upper body and leg strength. Not only is it hard like most sports, but the girls are super hot, so it could end up becoming the most popular sport in the Olympics!" 

It's true. Dancers are using their arms, shoulders, upper and lower back, abdominals, oblique, gluteus, quads, calves, ankles, wrists and forearms to keep their bodies off the ground. 

“Pole Sports requires great physical and mental exertion, strength and endurance required to lift, hold and spin the body,” a GAISF sport description reads

“A high degree of flexibility is needed to contort, pose, demonstrate lines and execute techniques.”

In addition to pole dancing, the GAISF also has “observers,” or submissions for arm wrestling, dodgeball, footgolf, kettlebell lifting, table soccer (foosball) and match poker.

“This is a historic day for pole sports, our athletes and our community,” IPSF President Katie Coates said in a statement.

“In just eight years, we have created a sport, ignited a global following and inspired a new generation of sportsmen, women and children.”