Pole Dancing, Sport
AP Photo/Luis Benavides

Everything you know about “sports” is changing. The days of team competition like football and basketball exclusively holding that title are no more. Instead, you’ll see breakdancing at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. Cheerleading is most certainly a sport after you see this video. Hell, jumping black bears on a bicycle could earn you a gold medal one day.

By definition, sports are activities that involve “physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes” for entertainment. Well, bust out your poles and get to practicing, because pole dancing is now officially recognized as an international sport.

The Global Association of International Sports Federations is the umbrella body of global sports that include both Olympic and non-Olympic organizations, as well as individual competition committees around the world. GAISF’s mission is to “serve, represent, promote and protect the common interests of our Members and to help them achieve their global objectives.”

In other words, GAISF decides what is a sport, then helps grow it on a global level.

The governing body grants something called “Observer Status.” After an application process, GAISF grants a two-year period for sports leagues and competition committees to strengthen governance and guidelines that help grow a legitimate, global sport.

Currently on GAISF’s list of “observers” are the World Dodgeball Association, the International Union of Kettlebell Lifting, and the International Jump Rope Union.

Now, the International Pole Sports Federation has earned Observer Status. Katie Coates, the IPSF president, posted the news to her Instagram account.

Pole Dancing Recognized as International Sport

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Getting pole recognised has been something I’ve been working on daily for the last 12 years…people said it would never happen but as always I never listened…the @ipsfpolesports are closer still! Thanks to everyone that supports us 💋 without you we wouldn’t be where we are today! ・・・ 💪🏻POLE & AERIAL SPORTS HAS DONE IT AGAIN! THE IPSF HAS BEEN AWARDED GASIF (SportAccord) OBSERVER STATUS – BRING US CLOSER TO OUR OLYMPIC DREAMS – PLEASE SHARE … The International Pole Sports Federation is delighted to announce that it has been awarded GAISF (SportAccord) Observer Status for a further 2 years after the decision to introduce Observer Status for aspirant members was unanimously accepted by delegates at the GAISF General Assembly. … We need your help In order for Pole to grow we need to showcase our sport and its athletes to the greater sporting community and the International media in China in 2020. Think how Surfing, Skateboarding and Sport Climbing did it….All of them funky, exciting and alternative, all of them attractive to those wishing to reignite their passion for a healthy lifestyle. We need approximately £10,000 to take our community to the next step cementing Pole as a sport to be reckoned with. Please donate! … READ THE FULL STORY HERE OR IN OUR BIO – To join us as a federation, athlete, coach, instructor or volunteer email: [email protected] … SEE YOU AT THE WORLD POLE SPORTSCHAMPIONSHIP 2020 IN THE SPORTS CAPITAL OF THE WORLD LAUSANNE SWITZERLAND – OCTOBER 2020 … #aerialhoop #polesport #polesports #breakingnews #polefit #polefitness #poledance #poledancer #poledancing #polenews #polelife #polelove #poledancersofinstagram #poledancersofig #parkour #aerialsports #ipsf #polemove #polemoves #poleart #worldpole #worldpolesports #sportsnews #upa #poleworldnews #poledancenation #pole


A post shared by Katie Coates (@ktcoates1) on

“The International Pole Sports Federation is delighted to announce that it has been awarded GAISF (SportAccord) Observer Status for a further 2 years after the decision to introduce Observer Status for aspirant members was unanimously accepted by delegates at the GAISF General Assembly.”

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I know what your dirty ass mind is thinking, and the answer is no: this isn’t stripper pole dancers straight out Hustlers with overweight businessmen drinking watered down bourbon tossing dollar bills onto a stage.

“Pole Sports is a performance sport combining dance and acrobatics on a vertical pole,” GAISF explains 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.”

The IPSF will now rally support for the newly-minted international sport, with the hopes of eventually applying to the International Olympic Committee to make pole dance an Olympic sport. Karate, rock climbing and skateboarding successfully navigated this path, and you’ll see the world’s best competing for medals at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.


Check out this routine from 2018 PSO U.S. National Pole Champion Ashley Fox, then tell me incredible athleticism like this doesn’t deserve to be a “sport.”

Is Pole Dancing a Sport?

And no offense to J. Lo’s Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show pole dance in Miami, but that wouldn’t exactly medal on the national stage.

Pole fitness classes and pole dancing classes are available all over the country. If you have the guts to learn the floor work and improve your upper body strength to the level of these near-super humans, then good luck.

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John Duffley About the author:
John joins the FanBuzz team with five years of experience freelancing as a sports writer for and A graduate of Penn State University, John currently lives and works in Austin, Texas. He is also a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA).
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