POLE SPORTS IN THE OLYMPICS
IT'S ONLY A MATTER OF TIME
Pole Sports has long been pursuing recognition as an official sport. The International Pole Sports Federation (IPSF), led by industry ground breaker KT Coates, has been tirelessly spear heading this effort, and on July 23, 2014, the IPSF announced that it was duly recognized by both the Federation of International Gymnastics and the SportAccord as the governing body of Pole Sports. This recognition now allows the IPSF the opportunity to fulfill the SportAccord application and criteria to become a recognized international federation, so that Pole Sports may become recognized as an official sport, and then become a non-Olympic sport (which is a necessary step before becoming an official Olympic Sport as this is the pool from which new Olympic Sports are selected). On December 28, 2014, the IPSF advised that Pole Sports will begin its application process to be recognised as an official sport in February of 2015. Once Pole Sports is recognised by the SportAccord as a non Olympic Sport, it will then qualify to compete alongside other sports on an International/World level. At that time, the IPSF will be in a position to petition for Pole Sports to become an Olympic Sport as the IPSF submits its initial application for International Olympic Committee Recognition in 2016.
According to the IPSF, the Federation of International Gymnastics has also advised that it will not oppose Pole Sports inclusion into the World Games, which is the competition for all non-Olympic sports and is only second to the Olympic Games itself. In fact, there are a number of sports that were first presented at the World Games, which are now counted among the list of official Olympic Sports, such as Badminton, Beach Volleyball, Gymnastics-Trampoline, Taekwondo, Triathlon and Women's Weightlifting.
The IPSF and Pole Sports have also been invited to compete at the World Urban Games, which hosts cutting edge sports, and works closely with the International Olympic Committee as well as the SportAccord. The World Urban Games, which will be comprised of at least 17 international federations, will host many predominantly youth oriented sports including BMX, roller sports, skateboarding, three-on-three basketball, and free running. As many as 1,800 athletes could compete in these games in a yet to be determined major city.
In addition, in August 2016, the IPSF became a recognized member of TAFISA, The Association for International Sport for All, and has been invited to send a delegation of IPSF Pole Sports athletes to Jakarta, Indonesia in October 2016 to officially present Pole Sports and participate in the 2016 TAFISA World Games.
This entire process has advanced the legitimacy of Pole as an official sport, and it has also opened the door for Pole Sports to actually become an official Olympic Sport. It's safe to say that the IPSF, backed by a tremendous Pole Sports community, will continue to push in the Olympic direction. In fact, the opening statement on the IPSF website proudly announces that as the governing body of Pole Sports, they are determined to "positively promote pole as an athletic sport . . . and to foster the development of Pole Sports throughout the World." It goes on to say that, "through setting in place a format that will be accepted by international sports governing bodies, the IPSF’s goal is for the Olympic Committee to recognize Pole Sports as an official sport and [for it ] to one day be part of the Olympic Games." As Pole Sports continues on this trajectory, it seems that it is only a matter of time before it is included as an Olympic Sport.