Observer Status

[Daniel Green | Kent Online]

Once confined to sleazy strip club joints, pole dancing could be on its way up to the biggest stage in international sport.

It has become an increasingly popular fitness activity. And after more than a decade of campaigning, it has been recognised by the Global Association of International Sports Federation and could become an Olympic sport.

The news was welcomed cautiously by Faye Miller, who used to work in debt recovery but is now a pole and aerial fitness instructor.

“It’s great it has been recognised at last. After all, it is the ultimate workout, just like gymnastics except the pole is not horizontal, but is the other way.”

— Brook Kimber

Faye, 30, who lives in the Singlewell area of Gravesend, owns Athena Fitness, a fitness company in Milton Road, Gravesend,which teaches pole, aerial loops, trapeze, twerking, stretch classes and classic style.

She said there were more negatives than positives of it becoming an Olympic sport.

She said: “Pole has gone down a quite long road when it comes to fitness. A lot of people were quite strong-minded about it and only saw the bad side, like a strip club.

“There’s always a bit of a stigma with it because it’s a bit taboo.

“I do feel that by placing it in the Olympics it will be trying to hide where it originally came from.

“I think in the Olympics it will become very regimented – you can only do it in certain ways. When people do classes it’s quite free and they do any style.

“If people see it in the Olympics, they would think we have to be super-strong.

“I don’t mind it becoming an Olympic sport, but it is not the be all and end all.”