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One step for Pole Athletes – One huge leap for Pole Sports

pole dancing recognition as sport_olympic games

The International Pole Sports Federation (IPSF) announced as one of the first International Federations to be awarded the Global Association of International Sports Federations’ (GAISF) Observer Status.

The Observer Status allows new, young International Federations to take advantage of the GAISF network to grow and develop, and has been designed as the first step in a clear path towards full GAISF membership. Observers will be accompanied by GAISF in their development towards fulfilment of all criteria required for membership, such as increasing the number of members in various countries and receiving the required recognitions by National Olympic Committees or by national sports authorities.

Patrick Baumann, President of GAISF said:

We warmly welcome our first Observers. This is an exciting time for them and for us and we will do everything within our remit to help them realise their full potential as International Federations within the global sport’s family and, one day, maybe become part of the Olympic program. The new sports debuting at Tokyo 2020 and at the Buenos Aires Youth Olympics are evidence that the pathway is there.

Katie Coates, President of the IPSF added:

This is a historical day for Pole Sports, our athletes and our community. The IPSF is very proud to have taken this positive step towards official recognition and the GAISF Observer Status will give our sport the opportunity to develop further, on the national and on the international stage, taking us even closer to full GAISF membership. In just eight years we have created a sport, ignited a global following and inspired a new generation of sportsmen, -women and children. I am thankful to the IPSF and GAISF teams and excited about the future of our sport.

GAISF currently has approximately 100 pending requests for membership, with around 15 of them officially requesting Observer Status. The Membership Commission evaluated the 15 submissions and selected the seven federations with the most advanced applications, one of which was the International Pole Sports Federations. Other federations who have been awarded Observer Status are the World Armwrestling Federation (WAF), World Dodgeball Association (WDA), Federation for International FootGolf (FIFG), International Union of Kettlebell Lifting (IUKL), International Federation of (Match) Poker (IFP), International Table Soccer Federation (ITSF).

The IPSF has seen huge growth over the past 6 years. In 2012, 39 elite male and female athlete from 14 countries attended the championships. By the 2017 championships, this number increased by 83% to 229 male, female, youth and Para Pole athletes from 36 countries.

Development of the sport over the years:

2009 – Formation of the IPSF
2012 – First World Championships
2013 – Introduction of a youth programme
2014 – First contact with SportAccord (now GAISF)
2014 – Anti-Doping programme introduced
2015 – First application to SportAccord (now GAISF)
2016 – Approved as a WADA signatory
2016 – Applied to the IOC for membership
2017 – Signed a trilateral agreement with the FIG and GAISF to allow the IPSF membership of GAISF

What does this mean for Pole Sports now?

The IPSF needs to reach 40 Federations and with the help of the IPSF these federation can now show that they are part of an international federation that is working officially with GAISF which will assist with national government recognition. This will help them gain funding, assist their athletes and grow Pole Sports in their country. The IPSF will be contacting all existing federation with the invitation to apply as well as inviting groups of passionate people to create federations in countries where they are needed, all with the guidance of the IPSF.

What does this mean for our Olympic goals?

Becoming an Olympic sport requires the following main criteria:

To be a WADA signatory  – The IPSF has this
To be a member of GAISF – The IPSF is firmly in the process
To have 50 federations as a summer sport – The IPSF is working towards this

The question we are always asked is will Pole Sports become an Olympic Sport. All the IPSF can guarantee is that they will work towards the meeting the criteria and their long term goals.

How can you be a part of one of the fastest growing sports on the planet?

You can:

  • Join IPSF as an existing federation and they will assist you with your national recognition and develpoing Pole Sports in your country contact them here
  • Create a federation in your country and they will guide you through the process with their dedicated federations and competitions team contact them here
  • Become an IPSF athlete, join your national federation and take part in the 20 competitions IPSF currently have listed here as well as benefit from the national recognition process
  • Become an IPSF Certified instructor or coach and help to educate enthusiasts and athletes around the world see here
  • Join the IPSF as a volunteer and help grow pole sport at the heart of the movement sign up here

One step for Pole Athletes - One huge leap for Pole Sports


The IPSF is a democratic federation and each leading member of the pole sports committee from around the world (South Africa, Canada, USA, Greece, Germany, Singapore, etc) has been voted in at General Assembly.

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Vertical Wise

The international website working to support and spread the word about the pole and aerial fitness

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