As anyone who has been forced to hoist their awkward, pubescent body up on a bar in front of their fellow middle-schoolers for the Presidential Physical Fitness Test is well aware, lifting your body up off the ground with only your arms is no small feat. Trying to do so on a vertical pole, while artfully twisting yourself into different shapes requires a tremendous amount of strength and skill, which is why, this month, the Global Association of International Sports Federation (GAISF) granted pole-dancing an “observer status” in the federation, officially making it an internationally recognized sport, and bringing it one step closer to the Olympics.
“Pole Sports is a performance sport combining dance and acrobatics on a vertical pole,” the GAISF wrote on its website. “Pole Sports requires great physical and mental exertion, strength and endurance are required to lift, hold and spin the body. A high degree of flexibility is needed to contort, pose, demonstrate lines and execute techniques.”
According to the Washington Post, being granted observer status is the first step to becoming a full-fledged member of the GAISF, international recognition that would significantly boost the sport’s chances of gaining entry to the Olympics (though that is many years down the line).
Pole Sports is one of seven sports to receive an observer status from the GAISF this month, including dodgeball, arm wrestling, and kettlebell lifting.