by the Left Coast Rebel
Sam Foster came across this story at the Associated Press, I had no idea that there was such a thing as the International Pole Dancing Championships. The downside is that dudes are included in the festivities, which is....well, unsettling and disturbing - to say the least:
I don't know about you but I don't see pole dancing hitting the Olympics any time soon, I could be wrong.
TOKYO (AP) -- Riding a wave of popularity that has transformed a striptease genre into a cleaned-up and clothed version for fitness clubs around the world, Judd and dozens of the world's top pole dancers - male and female - gathered in Tokyo this week for the International Pole Dancing Championships, a premier event in the budding sport.
As always - the championships are in their third year - it was a colorful field.
Along with Judd, of Oren, Utah, who was named the Pole Athlete of the Year 2010 by the American Pole Fitness Association, the competitors Thursday included Ana Marie Garbo, the 2008 world champion, who got her start dancing in night clubs in Manila; Chris Measday, of Australia, a competitive trampolinist who found the pole after breaking his back in five places; and Loic Lebret, a dance teacher at the prestigious Centre de Danse du Marais in Paris.
Japan's Mai Sato defended her title as the women's champion, and Duncan West of Australia won in men's. This year also had a disabled division, which was won by hearing-impaired Eri Kamimoto of Japan.
Organizers said Thursday's championships marked a major step forward for sport pole dancing. The competition was held in a large arena near the Tokyo Dome, the Japanese capital's main sports stadium, with competitors from countries ranging from Malaysia to Moldova.
Performers got four minutes and two poles about 12 feet (three meters) tall to show what they could do. Stiletto heels were checked backstage, and rules required outfits be "dignified and appropriate for athletic competition."
But even its most devoted followers admit pole dancing as a credible sport has a long way to go.
Measday, the Australian men's entry, said that compared with Olympic-style gymnastics - which he was heavily involved in before he broke his back - pole dancing has a rather disorganized judging system and a pool of competitors with highly developed skills but widely varying styles that don't easily lend themselves to unified scoring systems.
Turning pole dancing into a sport also raises concerns among many aficionados about how much of its trademark sexiness and suggestive creativity should be given over to the kind of precision and mainstream look that would be needed for the Olympics.
Regardless, a perfect Rule 5 opportunity presents itself, (just a few) of the girls of the International Pole Dancing Championship: