A new Olympic sport
And it will increase spectator interest, too
Conan O'Brien Tuesday evening was a rerun, but I hadn't seen the full show before – I'd stuck around for the monologue last time, but missed the rest. This time, I watched the whole thing, including the final act, which was a performance by the world champion pole dancer, supported by some of her cast-mates from Cirque de Soleil, Zumanitye.
It was an awesome performance, impressively athletic as well as stunningly beautiful. This lady is nimble, strong, graceful, and very, very sexy. She wasn't simply shimmying against the pole; she was climbing it, bending around it at seemingly impossible angles, and even vaulting up onto it, twelve feet in the air.
As I was watching, it occurred to me: This should be an Olympic sport. The latest decisions by the Olympic powers-that-be have shortchanged women's sailing, but this could be a venue where women can expand their influence. Pole dancing is certainly more athletic than, say, rhythmic gymnastics or ice dancing. It combines the rhythm of music with the athleticism and gracefulness that are valued in traditional gymnastics. And a pole is a lot more substantial than those silly hoops or ribbon-on-a-stick thingies.
Plus, with the changes in the past couple of decades that have allowed professional athletes to compete in the Olympics, pole dancing opens the games up to a really broad spectrum of new talents who otherwise would be relegated to obscurity. What more could anyone want?