This week, the International Pole Dancing Championship took place in Tokyo. And they were kind of amazing! But is it...a sport?
Now in its third year, the IPDC is open to both men and women and attracts pole athletes (as they prefer to be known) from around the world. Hometown defending champion Mai Sato retained her crown (see video above), while the men's title went to Australia's Duncan West (video 2). In a new disabled division, the winner was Eri Kamimoto of Japan.
Organizers continue to hope that events like this will lend the sport credence and ultimately make it Olympics-worthy. No one can deny that pole-dancing of this caliber requires remarkable strength and athleticism — and some would argue that with ice dancing in the lineup, it's hard to make the "pure sports" argument. But regardless, competitors feel this burnishes their event's reputation. Says one, "I like the Olympic idea. I think it is good that now we pole dancers aren't just seen as strippers." She's described as wearing "a bikini covered in white feathers and with angel wings."
International Pole-Dancing Championships Kick Off In Japan [Huffington Post/AP]