Next summer, Tokyo will host the re-arranged 2020 Olympic Games, but should pole dancing be one of the sports on show in the world biggest sporting event?
The Olympic Games is a constant in sport, something as unchanging as the Olympic flame that burns representing purity and endeavour.
But the reality is very different. This year for the first time skateboarding has been included. Over the years many sports have come and gone with new sports always under consideration.
With 28 sports appearing in the 2016 Summer Olympics, and a further five added to the 2020 Games, competition for inclusion is fierce. The playing field is not as level as it first appears and the sporting format of the Games is constantly in the balance. So just where have the Olympics been and where may they be going in the future?
Back in 1904 even the ‘Tug of War’ was included in the Games. Since then sports have come, gone and even returned to the contest to live to play another day. Cricket, Polo, Lacrosse, Rugby Union, Roque, Softball, Rackets and Golf have all appeared in previous Olympics.
These “discontinued sports” were removed either because of a lack of interest or absence of an appropriate governing body that the IOC could work with.
Both Archery and Tennis are examples of sports that were competed at the early Games and were later dropped by the IOC, managing to return to the Olympic program (in 1972 and 1988 respectively).
New Sports For 2020:
Baseball and Softball (again) – after gaining full medal status at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, it was dropped after Beijing.
Skateboarding – This is the first time the sport has ever been included at the Olympics. It will be contested in a skate park and a street setting.
Karate – Surprisingly, this popular martial art has never been given Olympic status. It came very close in 2005, reaching the final two.
Sport Climbing – athletes will climb a purpose-built wall in a variety of task including speed climbing and bouldering.
Surfing – Like skateboarding, surfing is going to be making its Olympic debut next summer in Japan.
Obviously, the Olympics need to continue to capture the public imagination, particularly these days with sports coming and going. Recently, the IOC began to adapt to some of the modern trends in athletics.
The inclusion of sports like BMX has been a good move by them; attracting new and younger audiences. This is a trend that is likely to continue as a sport isn’t immune to fashion.
One thing is for certain, the Olympics of the future are likely to be an even more exciting spectacle as a plethora of extreme sports become increasingly popular. We will definitely see some of these sports become part of the Games in the very near future.
After all, it wasn’t so long ago that Snowboarding was seen as something ‘outside’ of the acceptable Olympic tradition.
Pole Dancing To Be An Olympic Sport?
With all this going on it seems that a new sport is being invented almost weekly. Wakeboarding, Kitesurfing, Bouldering, Free Running, Hang-Gliding, Free Diving. Just what will the Olympic games of the future look like?
Well, if Tim Trautman, President of the International Pole Sports Federation, gets his way it will be a very different spectacle.
Tim is leading and pushing hard to make Pole Dancing an Olympic Sport and commented on it recently.
He said, “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.
“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”
Never constant, always changing, needing the support of the public to survive. Who knows, maybe the days of Synchronised Swimming and Beach Volleyball are numbered?
Let’s be honest – whilst many may want to see Golf in the Olympics, is another Golf tournament really required? Maybe the danger of Extreme Sporting and even the fluid gymnastics of Pole Dancing are really what is needed to keep the Olympic Flame alive.
After all – in the future purity and endeavour may need to come in all shapes and sizes.