Pole dancing at the Olympics? That's right. Serious pole dancers are pushing to make this a sport. But can it shake its naughty reputation?
“It can be extremely challenging. It's Olympic level difficulty depending on what you're looking for what style is,” said Becca Butcher, pole dancer.
And Butcher isn't exaggerating; these pole performers could soon be going for the gold.
Tim Trautman is the president of the International Pole Sport Federation and is spearheading the push to make pole dancing an Olympic sport.
“The biggest challenge is going to be the stereotyping that we have to deal with. And you know, quite frankly everyone thinks pole fitness and pole sport and everything came out of strip clubs but it started long before then,” said Trautman.
“We have to take some of the eroticism out of the moves and also take off the high heels. We're going to frame it as these are athletes that you're watching. “
Over the past decade, pole dancing classes emerged as the latest fitness craze offered at local gyms, but it has moved far beyond a fad. Thousands of dancers from around the world train to perform in international pole competitions.
U.S. National Champion Natasha Wang hid her passion for the sport for six years, until she started winning titles.
“I was in PR for 10 years, working in an office and this was a hobby. It's a sport for regular people, regular men and women are doing it who come from very normal backgrounds,” said Wang.
And that's what you see at the Annual International Pole Convention, where women and men come to train with the best.
Dancer and convention organizer Jessalyn Medairy said there needs to be more public awareness about the sport before it could go on a global stage like the Olympics.
“When people are like ‘why are you in a bikini?’ Well, we're in a bikini because you need that skin to stick to the pole that's what we need to achieve some of our tricks,” said Medairy.
And while pole athletes are excited to celebrate the sport, Wang said the world may not be ready for it just yet.
“I feel like the public's perception has to catch up with what the sport is really about.”
But it could bring some sexy into the world of sweaty sports.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times