Aug 8, 2012 10:36 AM

Should pole dancing be an Olympic sport?

TUCSON- "I think everybody would turn on the television to see what it's about," Jessica McCain says.

She's the owner of Tucson Pole Fitness and she supports an effort to make pole dancing an official Olympic sport.

This summer's Olympic Games have 26 official sports, including everything from taekwando, to table tennis. But there is a push to add pole dancing to that list.

It's an idea that is facing a lot of controversy, since the stereotype for pole dancing is sex appeal.

"When you tell most people you do pole fitness they automatically go to thinking you're a stripper or dancer," Tammie Milliken says.

Milliken works as an author and spiritual psychologist, but takes pole dancing lessons at Tucson Pole Fitness. She says the fitness routine is much more than sex appeal. "I definitely think the strength it takes and the ability it takes to perform on the pole is not recognized."

She and other dancers at Tucson Pole Fitness say making pole dancing an Olympic sport would show the activity is valued for more than what it appears to be in a strip club.

A global push took off just days before the start of the London 2012 games. The International Pole Sports Federation held a world championship competition in London, hoping to grab the attention of the International Olympic Committee. "They had judges, they had criteria for costumes and ethics," McCain says.

It didn't make the cut for the 2012 games, but Tucson dancers hope holding even more competitions will grab the attention of the IOC for the 2014 Winter Games in Rio De Janeiro. "It's the perfect cross between gymnastics and figure skating and both of those are in the Olympics," McCain says.

Whether or not it becomes an official Olympic sport, dancers just hope all the recent exposure to their sport will clear up misconceptions.


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