Jeff Schear/Getty Images Pole Dancing Competition

There is still a long road ahead, but pole dancing just took an important step in its quest to become an Olympic sport.

By earning recognition from the Global Association of International Sports Federation, pole dancing is now eligible to go through the application process of being added to the Olympics.

"In the early 2000s people started doing it as fitness and taking away the sex stigma, so no high heels and making it accessible for average people," International Pole Sports Federation founder Katie Coates told the Daily Telegraph. "Pole dancing is not like everyone thinks it is, you need to actually watch it to understand."

In 2012, Australian swimmer Stephanie Rice used a pole for cross-training. That same year, the IPSF began staging its world championships. As part of bolstering its case as a legitimate competition, the IPSF says its rules are compliant with the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Pole dancing was one of seven sports that the GAISF granted what it calls "observer status," which is the distinction required to start applying for the Olympics. The others were arm wrestling, dodgeball, poker, kettlebell lifting, FootGolf (cross between soccer and golf) and foosball.

New sports added for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo include 3-on-3 basketball, surfing and karate. Baseball and softball were dropped at the 2008 Olympics but will return in 2020.

The next step for pole dancing is to request provisional status from the International Olympic Committee. If that is granted, then it has three years to lobby for full recognition. Only after receiving full recognition can a sport be considered for the ultimate status of an official Olympic sport.

In the meantime, Chris Rock may have to reconsider this bit:


 

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