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Is pole dancing really going to be in the Olympics?  Some say yes, we are close.  An expert tells us we are far off.  After doing some research of our own, we’ve come up with interesting facts about what the road to the Olympics is really like…

Recently, we had an interview by Gianpaolo Ciavolella sent to us.   Gianpaolo is an expert in the sports field and has extensive knowledge on the Olympics and its many procedures.  His accomplishments are listed below.  The interview in question was transcribed from Italian to English and was originally released by USPSF.  The interviewer was listed as Massimiliano Friniman, yet we cannot find any information on his other writings or work.  We also reached out to Gianpaolo Ciavolella to confirm that these were indeed his thoughts.  He has not yet responded to our messages.

The interview was meant to clear the air about the Olympic push within the pole dance industry and is titled “The truth about Pole Sport in the Olympics”.  The entire interview was released on the USPSF website on or around April 20, 2016.  We have included excerpts from the interview below.  To read the full interview, click here. 

It was important to us that we give you the most accurate information as possible when releasing this information to you. Therefore, on several occasions, we reached out to people of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and have not received any comments back.  But with no real clarification, we are still left wondering.  How close are we to the Olympics?  Is what Giampaolo saying correct?  Let’s take a look at some of the things he said in a recent interview.  We’ve also done some research ourselves and have information to share with you regarding our Olympic journey.

Gianpaolo Ciavolella

Gianpaolo Ciavolella

Massimiliano starts…”We are here with Gianpaolo Ciavolella, a kind of a living “Encyclopedia” of gymnastics, and sports …. Here’s who Gianpaolo is: a coach from 1992 to 1995 in INTERNATIONAL CAMPS at the OLYMPIC PREPARATION CENTER of the BEKESCSABA in HUNGARY. He is in technical contact with various technical training centres around the world with which he organizes exchanges and joint training. He was the coach of the acrobatics in the national team of Aerobic Gymnastics of Lithuania, participating in the World and European Championships. From 1993 to 2004 he was in charge in the F.G.I. (Italian Gymnastics Federation) as the Regional Technical Director for the section General Gymnastics. From 1993-1998 Regional Director of the Jury, Regional Manager during the same years for the activities of Aerobic Gymnastics, both professional and amateur. From 1992 to 2004 he held the following positions: Regional Manager in CONI (Italian National Olympic Committee) for C.A.S. in gymnastics. Member of various National technical committees and creator of various technical programs for the Italian Gymnastics Federation (Mare di Ginnastica, Gymteam, etc.), Technical Staff Member in CONI (Italian National Olympic Committee) – Bologna. International Judge in UEG (European Union of Gymnastics), the Teamgym (European Championships in 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2014) and Head of the Italian Delegation on Teamgym European Championships in Ostrava (CZH) in 2006, Ghent (BEL) in 2008 and Malmo (SWE) in 2010. Head of the Delegation for the Gymnastics Federation of San Marino on Teamgym European Championships in Aarhus (DEN) in 2012…”

The list goes on and on, as Gianpaolo is a decorated coach and member of many committees throughout his lifetime.  Giampaolo is listed on the F.I.S.A.C. website as a contact for this federation along with David Lacagnina (the source of this interview) and Alessandra Marchetti, well known International poler.  See listing on here

Regarding pole being in the Olympics, Gianpaolo states that pole is “at least not before about 20 years from now (to be optimistic).”

Massimiliano askswhat does an international Pole Sport federation need to be recognized by the IOC and to go to the Olympics?

Best-Olympic-Rings-Wallpaper-Download2Gianpaolo saysThe road is very long: before appearing at the Olympic Games, a sport represented by an international federation, must be recognized by the IOC, but before the IOC, it must sign the SportAccord. What is SportAccord? It is simply an association that, on behalf of the IOC, deals with “educating” and preparing new sports and new federations waiting to be recognized, to have all the necessary requirements to sign the “Accord.” But please bear in mind that it is not said that the federation which signs SportAccord has an official international recognition (it means you have reached the maturity to be considered a federation at all levels), or that the IOC recognizes it immediately! They can also go for another 10 years before the IOC decides that the sport is a sport. To give you an example, the Chearleading signed SportAccord about two years ago, but has not yet been recognized by the IOC as a “sport.

From Massimiliano, “So, which requirements does an international federation need to have in order to sign the SportAccord?”

Gianpaolo repliesThe requirements are many and are very clear … That is why I wonder how certain international federations claim to be close to the recognition, without even having a third of what SportAccord asks for! Let’s name them: the International Federation, in order to sign the SportAccord, has to have a minimum of 40 affiliated national federations (scattered among the five continents), it has to organize a continental competition on every continent, has to have a continental federation on every continent (as in all sports) and of course, a huge number of affiliated athletes….”

We found a PDF document on the SportAccord website that only half confirmed what Gianpaolo says, that in order to be considered, a sport needs to have forty active member federations across three continents.  Seen here on page 7, section 8.  

Furthermore, we found on page 7 of section 2 a very interesting requirement:

“a written declaration justifying that the IF is the only federation governing its sport on a world level. Provide, if any, the name of dissident organisations and explain how and which solutions were arranged”

With the launch of the International Pole Sports and Art Federation (IPSAF) in March and the already existing International Pole Sports Federation (IPSF), we now have two world wide federations with the same agenda.  To get us to the Olympics!


Pictured here are committee members KT Coates and Cindy Cooijmans at an official SportAccord event.  They stated on their blog “At this exclusive meeting, Mr. Stephan Fox, and his colleagues Charlotte Van Den Booren from memberships and Matteo Vallini of WADA memberships, at SportAccord, fervently addressed the International Sporting Federations, all in the same application process as the IPSF, but many at different levels of application. A very clear explanation was given as to the path that every sport must follow to become officially recognised by SportAccord. The three main requirements for membership are (1) to have convened five general assemblies under SportAccord criteria, (2) to have membership of forty National Federations with National Governing Body (NGB) status within their countries (3) to have obtained membership to WADA. In these requirements, it was noted that the IPSF and Pole Sports is in the front of the pack and is delighted to have already convened five qualifying general assemblies, as well as already received its approval from WADA as we undertake anti-doping testing, which means the only requirement the IPSF has left to fulfil is that of expanding our National Federations membership.”  Read the full blog entry on here. 

Gianpaolo goes on to say “every 4 years, the nation hosting the Olympic Games, can decide which sports to present as “Demo Sports” … Among these sports, one of them, at most two, can have the possibility to be inserted at the following Games …. Taking into consideration that the Olympics are held every four years … You can do the math!! But I want to give you examples, so you can understand better: the demo sports that will be presented at the Olympics in Rio in 2016, have been chosen before the Games in London in 2012 … The demo sports that will be in Tokyo in 2020, have already been chosen! And even if these sports will have the chance to be seen in the Olympics as demo sports, it is absolutely not said that they will be admitted as official sports in the following editions. Want some examples? Karate was a demo sport at the 1988 Games in Seoul … And it will also be one in Tokyo in 2020 … and it is not yet an Olympic sport!

It seems that sports are decided on anywhere from 5 – 7 years before the actual Olympics takes place.  Meaning 2020 has already been decided.  Moreover, meaning by next year, 2017, pole will have had to signed into the SportAccord to even be on the table for 2024.  We found information on this process on which you can read here on

Gianpaolo finished off with this message, “I recommend getting more information… but above all, I advise everyone to stop making false claims giving false information and hopes to athletes and national federations … Unfortunately, I discovered that several national federations, were founded specifically to join this or that international federation, and unfortunately this means that in most cases, people who fund them, have no past experience or vision in sports, and therefore no appropriate knowledge to understand the sports policy … and this is very dangerous because it can be manipulated by international federations putting around false truths or not fully clarifying what is really happening in the sports policy. We thank Gianpaolo Ciavolella for clarity and for having finally spoken of how things really are for the Pole Sport in the Olympics.”

IPSFThe IPSF commented on Gianpaolos’ interview…

It seems inappropriate to respond to specific claims and opinions of a close friend and colleague of a person who has left the IPSF on bad terms, so instead of focusing on any possible federation differences of opinion, we would much rather communicate our belief that any athlete currently in Pole Sports, is in fact a part of the Olympic journey.

They are the ground breakers, the pioneers, and the leaders who share our goals for the future. There are always those who are unable to see that all great things start from a dream; every sport that is now an Olympic sport started with that dream. The goals and missions of the IPSF remain the same and have never wavered. These can be found here:

So, the real question we are left with is, are we close to the Olympics?  If so, how close?  If 2020 has already been decided, then 2024 is the only next choice.  That is, if we are even ready.  Eight years from now may seem like a long time.  Eight years ago, Breaking Bad was freshly released, along with Sons of Anarchy and True Blood!  Meaning, eight years will go by in a flash!  But in eight years, will we have 40 federations across 3 continents?  We guess only time will tell at this point.

This story is one that just may have some twists and turns in it as time goes on.  Our goal is to keep you updated on the situations as they arise.  We will not give up on contacting the IOC directly and getting as much accurate information on this subject.

To do more reading on your own on this subject, we’ve provided useful links for you here…

Here you will find proposed sports for 2020

Sports of Future Olympic Games

Olympic Criteria Form PDF

This application process must take place a minimum of six years before a scheduled Olympic Games. 

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