Should pole dancing be an Olympic sport?
July, 17, 2012
By DJ Gallo | ESPN.com
AP PhotoThe artistry and athleticism of pole dancing are as valid as any of the other Olympic sports.Chances are your significant other would get upset if you spent an evening watching pole dancers.
How unfair that would be. Because according to pole dancers, what they do is a sport. They’re even trying to get it into a future Olympics and children as young as 3 are participating. Great job, world!
It’s easy to doubt pole dancing’s merits as a “real” sport, but for pole dancers to get into the Olympics -- and for you to pretend going to a strip club is no different than watching a Cubs game -- pole dancers will have to make the case that the other Olympic sports are also seriously lacking “real sport” bona fides.
Here is that argument for every Summer Olympic sport. You’re welcome, pole dancers.
Archery -- Standing and shooting a weapon at an unmoving target is not a sport. If it is, then fire up your old Nintendo. The targets in Duck Hunt moved, so that means playing that game made you more of an athlete than some Olympians. Congratulations!
Cycling -- You literally do nothing with half of your body in this “sport.” If cycling is in the Olympics, then we also have to pretend that arm wrestling is a sport. And why stop there? One, two, three, four, I declare a thumb war, and I also declare that I am an athlete.
Equestrian -- Not only is this not a sport for humans going along for the ride, it’s barely light exercise for the horses.
Badminton -- Badminton: the sport played at your family reunion? Yeah, not a sport. “But you have no idea how fast the sport is at an elite level!” Oh, really? Then you’ve obviously never seen a dozen drunk relatives play badminton.
Loic Venance/Getty ImagesFencers keep the streets safe by stabbing each other and not innocent strangers.
Diving -- To paraphrase the great Woody, of “Toy Story” fame: “That’s not a sport. That’s falling with style.”
Fencing -- So stabbing people is apparently a sport? Oookay. This is great news for the public defenders of muggers. “Your honor, my client was merely fencing when this man stepped into him and dropped his wallet.” Good job, fencing. You’re keeping muggers out of jail.
Boxing -- Mugging without a weapon.
Judo -- Mugging while wearing pajamas.
Taekwondo -- Judo.
Modern pentathlon -- Modern pentathlon combines five things: pistol shooting, fencing, swimming, riding a horse and running. Clearly, someone just picked five random activities out of a hat and called it a sport. Sounds fun! My turn. I shall call my new sport Post-Modern Sporting and my five events are ... let me open the slips of paper ... mail delivery, baking a cake, hip-hop dancing, whistling and hitting people with a stick. Look for it at the 2016 Games!
Gymnastics -- Nothing but Cirque du Soleil with boring costumes. Next.
Table tennis -- Table tennis: the thing you did with your neighbor friend Kyle in his basement in 7th grade. No, the other thing. Although swigging a can of beer is as physically taxing as playing ping pong.
Synchronized swimming -- Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest and Martin Short covered this a long time ago.
Beach volleyball -- Let’s not be fooled. We all know what this “sport” is really about.
Rowing -- Just because something is an old-timey form of transportation doesn’t mean it’s a sport. Unless I’m wrong, in which case we need to let hobos into the Olympics ASAP. But I’m not wrong. Rowing isn’t a sport. Because if it was, that means we live in a world in which the Winklevii are great athletes. No one wants to live in a world like that.
Canoe/kayak -- Same as rowing, with the added annoyance of someone going out on a canoe trip and not bringing back any fish for anyone to eat.
Clive Rose/Getty ImagesHey, look over here! We're doing an Olympic sport!
Sailing -- It’s kite flying for rich people. Rich people have enough advantages already. We don’t have to also pretend they’re athletes.
Swimming -- Swimming is something people do on vacation. Congratulations, you took vacation and made it competitive. Jerks.
Track and field -- Running is part of a real sport. Jumping is part of a real sport. Throwing something is part of a real sport. But doing them all individually? Clearly these people lack basic coordination.
Triathlon -- The triathlon combines three activities: swimming, biking and running. It feels like a full-body, competitive endeavor. It feels like a sport. But have you ever met someone who competes in triathlons? They are masochists. Only masochists would put themselves through this level of agony. Let’s get them help, not celebrate and legitimize their mental illness by putting triathlon in the Olympics.
Shooting -- See Archery. I’d write more, but I’m in the middle of a game of Duck Hunt.
Handball -- A sort of combination of soccer and basketball, played by people who weren’t good enough to make it in soccer or basketball.
Field hockey -- A sport? Or a prank to make people put on a skirt and run around while uncomfortably bent over for an hour? Most likely the latter.
Soccer -- America is lousy at men’s soccer. So there’s that. And to quote that guy you know at your gym with an NFL tattoo on his calf: “Soccer is dumb.”
Tennis -- America is also lousy at men’s tennis. Between this and soccer, we’re going to need to invent more “extreme” “sports” ASAP.
Donald Miralle/Getty ImagesCan you imagine how much more exciting this would be if a delicious, colorful dessert was involved?
Wrestling -- The invention of Jell-O wrestling kind of blew the lid off this “sport.” If your activity doesn’t change much, and becomes far more entertaining, with the addition of a gelatin dessert, it’s hard to take it seriously.
Weightlifting -- Weightlifting is not a sport. Weightlifting is something you do to make yourself better at a sport. Or as sports philosopher Kenny Powers said: “I play real sports, not try to be the best at exercising.”
Water polo -- Have you ever played water polo? It’s an excruciating endurance event. No one is giving David Blaine Olympic medals. Nor should we.
Volleyball -- If these people are so tall and can jump so high, why aren’t they playing basketball? There is something really suspicious going on here.
Basketball -- This is a tough one. It combines speed, strength, jumping ability and endurance, and it has a ball. Plus, the outcome isn’t decided by judges. It has all the markings of real sport. Maybe it’s too much? Yeah, that’s it. They overdid it with this “sport.” And let’s not forget 2004. Basketball was definitely not legitimate back then.