Pole Sports, often referred to as poling, combines dance and gymnastics on a vertical pole. This particular sport requires a great deal of strength, agility and flexibility. Together with balance and endurance athletes experience an improvement in their posture and strength. The sport is performed by participants of all ages, which includes para-athletes. Performances can be done either alone or as doubles. Originally poling formed part of a fitness activity in the early 1990s and later developed in to a sport in the 2000s. It was in 2009 that the International Pole Sports Federation or IPSF was created by Tim Trautman and Katie Coates with the main aim of turning poling in to an Olympic Sport. The IPSF now oversee the development of the sport worldwide and the management of international competitions. These include the World Championships and together with participation in major events like the Arnold Classic and Mr. Olympia, the sport is gaining a big increase in popularity. In 2017 poling was granted observer status by the Global Assocation of International Sports (GAISF). In addition, there are also professional pole sports leagues of which Oksana Grishina’s O.G. Pole Fitness is the most well known.
Poling athletes normally perform a range of spins that involves technique and artistry. The performances are done to music and judging is based on choreography and expressiveness. Further areas of importance include the ability to perform complex spins highlighting the strength and the flexibility of the athlete. Poles can be static or spinning and athletes perform in clothing that exposes their skin, further aiding in grip. A very important key area for IPSF is to draw more male athletes to the sport. When the first World Championship was held in 2012, only five participants were men. Leading up to that competition, up to 95% of athletes were girls and women. Since then IPSF have created categories for senior male athletes, which also included the junior male category in 2017. Pole Sports are growing around the world and it will not be too long before the IOC can see no option but to include it at the Olympic Games.