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Nick Friedell

Is it medal worthy: pole dancing

Fourth-Place Medal

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Now wait a minute.

I know what you're thinking.

But read this article from China Daily and then you'll see why pole dancing might have a shot. It seems that this "sport" has become very popular in China over the last few years.

The exotic blend of dance, gymnastics and acrobatics is now also taught in Shanghai, Nanchang, of Jiangxi Province, Suzhou, of Jiangsu Province, and Guangzhou, of Guangdong Province.

It sounds from that description like pole dancing has elements of several different Olympic sports in it.

Now, what about all those negative connotations that go along with pole dancing?

Well, the Chinese have tried to take care of that as well. They said that Oprah helped make pole dancing the "sport" that it is today.

Pole dancing had been the domain of nightclub strippers since the 1970s, but emerged - with clothes on - as a popular form of exercise, performance art and competition sport. In 2003, it was trumpeted by US talk show queen Oprah Winfrey as a new celebrity workout, and schools have since opened across the United States, United Kingdom, Europe and Australia in response to demand for classes with an artistic and athletic focus.

The beauty of pole dancing is that it's not just a sport for women anymore.

From this account in the same story, it sounds a lot like pairs figure skating in the Winter Olympics.

At a special event in Shanghai, an energetic male-female duo of expatriate dancers performs under a glitter-strewn stage. On twin poles, they execute a seamless series of aerial tricks, spins and flips, drawing gasps from the hundreds-strong crowd.

Pole dancing could have three seperate medal competitions: male, female and pairs.

So now we have a couple other key questions to answer.

Who would judge the pole dancing competion?

There are plenty of great candidates all over the world, but I'd have to go with Carmen Electra, Demi Moore and Elizabeth Berkley. Electra because she (along with Oprah, I guess) has helped popularize pole dancing in America. Moore and Berkley (a.k.a. Jessie Spano) get the nod because they've both starred in movies that centered around pole dancing.

Is it a Winter or Summer Olympic sport?

That's the best part about having a pole dancing competition, it could be held during either Olympics. I'd have to think that organizers would push for this to become a winter sport though. The Winter Games need a boost, and I am quite certain that this sport would provide just that.

Pole dancing would instantly become one of the most popular Olympic sports. Men and women all over the world would tune in and be glued to the television set ... for different reasons of course.

It would be a ratings smash!

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