Paralympics London 2012

How Prince Harry is creating the next generation of coaches

Five years after he had watched the Olympic closing ceremony there, Prince Harry was back at the London Stadium. This time he and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were at the graduation ceremony of the latest bunch of apprentices from Coach Core, the organisation the Princes had established to create a whole new generation of sports coaches. It was, Harry said, the most appropriate place he could be. Because it was on that occasion, watching the end of London 2012, that he and his brother had come up with an idea that they felt would provide a tangible, lasting Olympic legacy. “We believe our graduates are the future of coaching,” he said in a speech delivered from a podium which had been built roughly where Usain Bolt crossed the line to win the 100 metres in 2012. “We believe they are not just great coaches, but great mentors and great leaders of their community.” Watching him speak were some of the 250 young people who have gone through the intensive, year-long apprenticeship programme. People like 18-year-old Alisha Wilson, now working as a full-time swimming coach in Glasgow after graduating in June. Or 19-year-old Muhammed Mumin, who spent a year on Coach Core before heading off to college to study business. Or Andre Nathaniel-George, an 18-year-old from Harrow, who is now working as a tennis coach for the London school sports charity Greenhouse.  Prince Harry attended a ceremony for 250 young graduates at the London Stadium on Wednesday along with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Credit: Getty images “It’s been amazing,” he said of the course. “It’s not just the people who you coach who benefit from this. I’ve learned so much about myself. I’ve become so much more confident, more outgoing. In all honesty, I don’t reckon I’d have been able to stand here and talk to you a year ago.” The statistics Harry delivered about the programme are impressive indeed. 98 per cent of Coach Core graduates are now in employment or further education, 80 per cent are still engaged in coaching six months after graduating. But the Princes’ purpose in setting up the scheme was not simply to create an employment pathway. They wanted to change the way in which coaching is learned, to ensure that their graduates were as versed in psychology as they were in the technical aspects of their sport. In an era when an England football coach can be sacked for inappropriate behaviour and a Paralympic swimming coach removed from his position for systematic bullying, it is clear there is work to be done. The Duchess of Cambridge with some of the scheme's graduates Credit: Getty images To that end, Coach Core involved elite coaches, asking them to mentor those on the programme. And on the day of the graduation, the London Stadium was given over to sessions being led by Will Greenwood, Judy Murray, Mark Hunter and Max Whitlock. Though in truth some of those taking part were more interested in getting a selfie with West Ham’s Mark Noble and Javier Hernandez, who, along with their manager Slaven Bilic, were interested bystanders, than they were in throwing a rugby ball around with Greenwood. As he watched the sessions unfold, Scott Hann, the coach who had progressed Whitlock from a young hopeful to a double Olympic and world champion gymnast, was particularly impressed by the Coach Core philosophy. “I’ve seen so many kids damaged by bad coaching,” he said. “The scariest quote I ever heard was that an athlete should be more scared of their coach than of the skill they need to learn, that way they won’t be frightened of learning the skill. When I was first a coach it was the received wisdom. And then we wonder why we didn’t produce a gold medallist before Max.” West Ham's Javier Hernandez, Mark Noble and Slaven Bilic meet the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Credit: Getty images Greenwood too insisted that no-one ever improves as a sports person by being shouted at. “I played under a coach who was literally purple with rage every time we went into the dressing room at half time,” he said. “He’d spray the walls with rage. Did it make me a better player? No. Did it makes us a better team? Of course not.” Meanwhile, as the royal party joined in the groups, throwing themselves into Judy Murray’s tennis game with particular gusto, Prince William was asked what he believed was the most important thing a coach needs to do. “Listen,” he said. It was sound advice.

How Prince Harry is creating the next generation of coaches

Five years after he had watched the Olympic closing ceremony there, Prince Harry was back at the London Stadium. This time he and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were at the graduation ceremony of the latest bunch of apprentices from Coach Core, the organisation the Princes had established to create a whole new generation of sports coaches. It was, Harry said, the most appropriate place he could be. Because it was on that occasion, watching the end of London 2012, that he and his brother had come up with an idea that they felt would provide a tangible, lasting Olympic legacy. “We believe our graduates are the future of coaching,” he said in a speech delivered from a podium which had been built roughly where Usain Bolt crossed the line to win the 100 metres in 2012. “We believe they are not just great coaches, but great mentors and great leaders of their community.” Watching him speak were some of the 250 young people who have gone through the intensive, year-long apprenticeship programme. People like 18-year-old Alisha Wilson, now working as a full-time swimming coach in Glasgow after graduating in June. Or 19-year-old Muhammed Mumin, who spent a year on Coach Core before heading off to college to study business. Or Andre Nathaniel-George, an 18-year-old from Harrow, who is now working as a tennis coach for the London school sports charity Greenhouse.  Prince Harry attended a ceremony for 250 young graduates at the London Stadium on Wednesday along with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Credit: Getty images “It’s been amazing,” he said of the course. “It’s not just the people who you coach who benefit from this. I’ve learned so much about myself. I’ve become so much more confident, more outgoing. In all honesty, I don’t reckon I’d have been able to stand here and talk to you a year ago.” The statistics Harry delivered about the programme are impressive indeed. 98 per cent of Coach Core graduates are now in employment or further education, 80 per cent are still engaged in coaching six months after graduating. But the Princes’ purpose in setting up the scheme was not simply to create an employment pathway. They wanted to change the way in which coaching is learned, to ensure that their graduates were as versed in psychology as they were in the technical aspects of their sport. In an era when an England football coach can be sacked for inappropriate behaviour and a Paralympic swimming coach removed from his position for systematic bullying, it is clear there is work to be done. The Duchess of Cambridge with some of the scheme's graduates Credit: Getty images To that end, Coach Core involved elite coaches, asking them to mentor those on the programme. And on the day of the graduation, the London Stadium was given over to sessions being led by Will Greenwood, Judy Murray, Mark Hunter and Max Whitlock. Though in truth some of those taking part were more interested in getting a selfie with West Ham’s Mark Noble and Javier Hernandez, who, along with their manager Slaven Bilic, were interested bystanders, than they were in throwing a rugby ball around with Greenwood. As he watched the sessions unfold, Scott Hann, the coach who had progressed Whitlock from a young hopeful to a double Olympic and world champion gymnast, was particularly impressed by the Coach Core philosophy. “I’ve seen so many kids damaged by bad coaching,” he said. “The scariest quote I ever heard was that an athlete should be more scared of their coach than of the skill they need to learn, that way they won’t be frightened of learning the skill. When I was first a coach it was the received wisdom. And then we wonder why we didn’t produce a gold medallist before Max.” West Ham's Javier Hernandez, Mark Noble and Slaven Bilic meet the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Credit: Getty images Greenwood too insisted that no-one ever improves as a sports person by being shouted at. “I played under a coach who was literally purple with rage every time we went into the dressing room at half time,” he said. “He’d spray the walls with rage. Did it make me a better player? No. Did it makes us a better team? Of course not.” Meanwhile, as the royal party joined in the groups, throwing themselves into Judy Murray’s tennis game with particular gusto, Prince William was asked what he believed was the most important thing a coach needs to do. “Listen,” he said. It was sound advice.

How Prince Harry is creating the next generation of coaches

Five years after he had watched the Olympic closing ceremony there, Prince Harry was back at the London Stadium. This time he and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were at the graduation ceremony of the latest bunch of apprentices from Coach Core, the organisation the Princes had established to create a whole new generation of sports coaches. It was, Harry said, the most appropriate place he could be. Because it was on that occasion, watching the end of London 2012, that he and his brother had come up with an idea that they felt would provide a tangible, lasting Olympic legacy. “We believe our graduates are the future of coaching,” he said in a speech delivered from a podium which had been built roughly where Usain Bolt crossed the line to win the 100 metres in 2012. “We believe they are not just great coaches, but great mentors and great leaders of their community.” Watching him speak were some of the 250 young people who have gone through the intensive, year-long apprenticeship programme. People like 18-year-old Alisha Wilson, now working as a full-time swimming coach in Glasgow after graduating in June. Or 19-year-old Muhammed Mumin, who spent a year on Coach Core before heading off to college to study business. Or Andre Nathaniel-George, an 18-year-old from Harrow, who is now working as a tennis coach for the London school sports charity Greenhouse.  Prince Harry attended a ceremony for 250 young graduates at the London Stadium on Wednesday along with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Credit: Getty images “It’s been amazing,” he said of the course. “It’s not just the people who you coach who benefit from this. I’ve learned so much about myself. I’ve become so much more confident, more outgoing. In all honesty, I don’t reckon I’d have been able to stand here and talk to you a year ago.” The statistics Harry delivered about the programme are impressive indeed. 98 per cent of Coach Core graduates are now in employment or further education, 80 per cent are still engaged in coaching six months after graduating. But the Princes’ purpose in setting up the scheme was not simply to create an employment pathway. They wanted to change the way in which coaching is learned, to ensure that their graduates were as versed in psychology as they were in the technical aspects of their sport. In an era when an England football coach can be sacked for inappropriate behaviour and a Paralympic swimming coach removed from his position for systematic bullying, it is clear there is work to be done. The Duchess of Cambridge with some of the scheme's graduates Credit: Getty images To that end, Coach Core involved elite coaches, asking them to mentor those on the programme. And on the day of the graduation, the London Stadium was given over to sessions being led by Will Greenwood, Judy Murray, Mark Hunter and Max Whitlock. Though in truth some of those taking part were more interested in getting a selfie with West Ham’s Mark Noble and Javier Hernandez, who, along with their manager Slaven Bilic, were interested bystanders, than they were in throwing a rugby ball around with Greenwood. As he watched the sessions unfold, Scott Hann, the coach who had progressed Whitlock from a young hopeful to a double Olympic and world champion gymnast, was particularly impressed by the Coach Core philosophy. “I’ve seen so many kids damaged by bad coaching,” he said. “The scariest quote I ever heard was that an athlete should be more scared of their coach than of the skill they need to learn, that way they won’t be frightened of learning the skill. When I was first a coach it was the received wisdom. And then we wonder why we didn’t produce a gold medallist before Max.” West Ham's Javier Hernandez, Mark Noble and Slaven Bilic meet the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Credit: Getty images Greenwood too insisted that no-one ever improves as a sports person by being shouted at. “I played under a coach who was literally purple with rage every time we went into the dressing room at half time,” he said. “He’d spray the walls with rage. Did it make me a better player? No. Did it makes us a better team? Of course not.” Meanwhile, as the royal party joined in the groups, throwing themselves into Judy Murray’s tennis game with particular gusto, Prince William was asked what he believed was the most important thing a coach needs to do. “Listen,” he said. It was sound advice.

How Prince Harry is creating the next generation of coaches

Five years after he had watched the Olympic closing ceremony there, Prince Harry was back at the London Stadium. This time he and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were at the graduation ceremony of the latest bunch of apprentices from Coach Core, the organisation the Princes had established to create a whole new generation of sports coaches. It was, Harry said, the most appropriate place he could be. Because it was on that occasion, watching the end of London 2012, that he and his brother had come up with an idea that they felt would provide a tangible, lasting Olympic legacy. “We believe our graduates are the future of coaching,” he said in a speech delivered from a podium which had been built roughly where Usain Bolt crossed the line to win the 100 metres in 2012. “We believe they are not just great coaches, but great mentors and great leaders of their community.” Watching him speak were some of the 250 young people who have gone through the intensive, year-long apprenticeship programme. People like 18-year-old Alisha Wilson, now working as a full-time swimming coach in Glasgow after graduating in June. Or 19-year-old Muhammed Mumin, who spent a year on Coach Core before heading off to college to study business. Or Andre Nathaniel-George, an 18-year-old from Harrow, who is now working as a tennis coach for the London school sports charity Greenhouse.  Prince Harry attended a ceremony for 250 young graduates at the London Stadium on Wednesday along with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Credit: Getty images “It’s been amazing,” he said of the course. “It’s not just the people who you coach who benefit from this. I’ve learned so much about myself. I’ve become so much more confident, more outgoing. In all honesty, I don’t reckon I’d have been able to stand here and talk to you a year ago.” The statistics Harry delivered about the programme are impressive indeed. 98 per cent of Coach Core graduates are now in employment or further education, 80 per cent are still engaged in coaching six months after graduating. But the Princes’ purpose in setting up the scheme was not simply to create an employment pathway. They wanted to change the way in which coaching is learned, to ensure that their graduates were as versed in psychology as they were in the technical aspects of their sport. In an era when an England football coach can be sacked for inappropriate behaviour and a Paralympic swimming coach removed from his position for systematic bullying, it is clear there is work to be done. The Duchess of Cambridge with some of the scheme's graduates Credit: Getty images To that end, Coach Core involved elite coaches, asking them to mentor those on the programme. And on the day of the graduation, the London Stadium was given over to sessions being led by Will Greenwood, Judy Murray, Mark Hunter and Max Whitlock. Though in truth some of those taking part were more interested in getting a selfie with West Ham’s Mark Noble and Javier Hernandez, who, along with their manager Slaven Bilic, were interested bystanders, than they were in throwing a rugby ball around with Greenwood. As he watched the sessions unfold, Scott Hann, the coach who had progressed Whitlock from a young hopeful to a double Olympic and world champion gymnast, was particularly impressed by the Coach Core philosophy. “I’ve seen so many kids damaged by bad coaching,” he said. “The scariest quote I ever heard was that an athlete should be more scared of their coach than of the skill they need to learn, that way they won’t be frightened of learning the skill. When I was first a coach it was the received wisdom. And then we wonder why we didn’t produce a gold medallist before Max.” West Ham's Javier Hernandez, Mark Noble and Slaven Bilic meet the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Credit: Getty images Greenwood too insisted that no-one ever improves as a sports person by being shouted at. “I played under a coach who was literally purple with rage every time we went into the dressing room at half time,” he said. “He’d spray the walls with rage. Did it make me a better player? No. Did it makes us a better team? Of course not.” Meanwhile, as the royal party joined in the groups, throwing themselves into Judy Murray’s tennis game with particular gusto, Prince William was asked what he believed was the most important thing a coach needs to do. “Listen,” he said. It was sound advice.

Why I'm glad pole dancing is finally being recognised as a sport

I first came across the pole at a health and fitness convention when one of the sellers was bringing it out for the home market. I bought one and started practicing, making up loads of different moves, and started a class in my local area - but I didn't want it to be an exotic dance, as its reputation has long suggested.  I'm very sporty and pole does not suddenly transform me into someone who frequents a particular kind of late-night club at all. I admit, though, that it's not a traditional sport. While we have a strict criteria, we have so much freedom: it has elements of acrobatics, gymnastics, jumping, flying, holding. I took it up purely for the benefits it gave me - a great fitness routine.  I was very fortunate enough to have a husband who worked in IT, long before YouTube came along, so he was able to upload videos of me doing pole dancing. This led to me becoming well known, and people began to watch the videos and got in touch to say they had been inspired to pick up the sport too.  We built a whole community in the UK and it began to spread all over the world. That's when competitions started popping up - just local ones, where nobody made too much effort. The community became a bit fed up of the fact that they would train really hard, spend a lot of money on costumes and then the judges would be friend of friends. So back in 2006, I set up an online petition to make pole an Olympic sport. We received over 10,000 signatures and formed the International Pole Sports Federation (IPSF), of which I am still President, in 2009.  Kerri N'Fuego competes in the 'Exotic' performance category during the 2017 Pacific Pole Championships at the Convention Center in Los Angeles, California on April 9, 2017 Credit:  MARK RALSTON/AFP Things really kicked into gear in 2012, when we ran the first world championships. Then, we had basic scoring system, basic judging, basic criteria and a few standards, but over the last six years we've built on that and created a rule book is in excess of 150 pages. More than 300 moves have now been catalogued: it's basically our little bible of what you can and can't do.  We effectively created a sport in six years. Do you know any other sport that's been created in six years? It's no mean feat. Our next steps would be getting pole sports onto TV, and then of course, the Olympics. To get Olympic status you needed to be recognised by the highest sports governing body in the land. We couldn't manage this before the Global Association of International Sports Federation (GAISF) changed their statute. Originally you had to have 40 federations in four continents, all recognised by their government or the National Olympic Committee. However, they would only recognise the national federation if they were a part of an international governing body - us - who would have to be recognised by GAISF. So it was an impossible task. In 2015 over 2,500 athletes competed in 26 countries to qualify for the World championships Credit:  BraunS/E+ Back in April they voted to change the statute and add a new 'observer' status which means they will provisionally recognise us for two years and in that time they will contact all the governments and Olympic committees and say pole is now an officially recognised sport. It's finally an opening for us to achieve our dream.  Now Pole has today been officially recognised it can be viewed as it should be - a sport - rather than just controversial titillation. I've always dreamed that maybe Nike would sponsor our athletes and competitions, and now that's a possibility. There will still be some naysayers who still associate it with traditional pole dancing, but it is as far removed from the world of strip-clubs and nightclubs as can be. That still exists and has its place in society, but it's almost like saying BMX riding is the same as Tour de France. While we use the same apparatus - the pole - our communities are different. What we do is for children as well as adults. If you put two videos side by side - traditional pole and pole sports - you would see so much difference in how its staged, the lighting, costume, movement - everything.  Katie Coates, 41, has finally won her 11-year fight to get pole dancing recognised as a sport Credit:  IPSF / SWNS.com You start these things just hoping to get into the Olympics, but you don't realise how much goes on behind the scenes - all the paperwork creating policies, constitutions, complaint procedures. Now we've moved onto the Para Pole, which is split into three categories in line with Paralympic criteria, so that people in a wheelchair or other disabilities can get involved. When it does eventually get to the Olympics - and I know it will - I hope I won't be there with a zimmer frame in tow. It's become a sport so quickly -who's to say where we'll be in the another six years?  

Why I'm glad pole dancing is finally being recognised as a sport

I first came across the pole at a health and fitness convention when one of the sellers was bringing it out for the home market. I bought one and started practicing, making up loads of different moves, and started a class in my local area - but I didn't want it to be an exotic dance, as its reputation has long suggested.  I'm very sporty and pole does not suddenly transform me into someone who frequents a particular kind of late-night club at all. I admit, though, that it's not a traditional sport. While we have a strict criteria, we have so much freedom: it has elements of acrobatics, gymnastics, jumping, flying, holding. I took it up purely for the benefits it gave me - a great fitness routine.  I was very fortunate enough to have a husband who worked in IT, long before YouTube came along, so he was able to upload videos of me doing pole dancing. This led to me becoming well known, and people began to watch the videos and got in touch to say they had been inspired to pick up the sport too.  We built a whole community in the UK and it began to spread all over the world. That's when competitions started popping up - just local ones, where nobody made too much effort. The community became a bit fed up of the fact that they would train really hard, spend a lot of money on costumes and then the judges would be friend of friends. So back in 2006, I set up an online petition to make pole an Olympic sport. We received over 10,000 signatures and formed the International Pole Sports Federation (IPSF), of which I am still President, in 2009.  Kerri N'Fuego competes in the 'Exotic' performance category during the 2017 Pacific Pole Championships at the Convention Center in Los Angeles, California on April 9, 2017 Credit:  MARK RALSTON/AFP Things really kicked into gear in 2012, when we ran the first world championships. Then, we had basic scoring system, basic judging, basic criteria and a few standards, but over the last six years we've built on that and created a rule book is in excess of 150 pages. More than 300 moves have now been catalogued: it's basically our little bible of what you can and can't do.  We effectively created a sport in six years. Do you know any other sport that's been created in six years? It's no mean feat. Our next steps would be getting pole sports onto TV, and then of course, the Olympics. To get Olympic status you needed to be recognised by the highest sports governing body in the land. We couldn't manage this before the Global Association of International Sports Federation (GAISF) changed their statute. Originally you had to have 40 federations in four continents, all recognised by their government or the National Olympic Committee. However, they would only recognise the national federation if they were a part of an international governing body - us - who would have to be recognised by GAISF. So it was an impossible task. In 2015 over 2,500 athletes competed in 26 countries to qualify for the World championships Credit:  BraunS/E+ Back in April they voted to change the statute and add a new 'observer' status which means they will provisionally recognise us for two years and in that time they will contact all the governments and Olympic committees and say pole is now an officially recognised sport. It's finally an opening for us to achieve our dream.  Now Pole has today been officially recognised it can be viewed as it should be - a sport - rather than just controversial titillation. I've always dreamed that maybe Nike would sponsor our athletes and competitions, and now that's a possibility. There will still be some naysayers who still associate it with traditional pole dancing, but it is as far removed from the world of strip-clubs and nightclubs as can be. That still exists and has its place in society, but it's almost like saying BMX riding is the same as Tour de France. While we use the same apparatus - the pole - our communities are different. What we do is for children as well as adults. If you put two videos side by side - traditional pole and pole sports - you would see so much difference in how its staged, the lighting, costume, movement - everything.  Katie Coates, 41, has finally won her 11-year fight to get pole dancing recognised as a sport Credit:  IPSF / SWNS.com You start these things just hoping to get into the Olympics, but you don't realise how much goes on behind the scenes - all the paperwork creating policies, constitutions, complaint procedures. Now we've moved onto the Para Pole, which is split into three categories in line with Paralympic criteria, so that people in a wheelchair or other disabilities can get involved. When it does eventually get to the Olympics - and I know it will - I hope I won't be there with a zimmer frame in tow. It's become a sport so quickly -who's to say where we'll be in the another six years?  

Why I'm glad pole dancing is finally being recognised as a sport

I first came across the pole at a health and fitness convention when one of the sellers was bringing it out for the home market. I bought one and started practicing, making up loads of different moves, and started a class in my local area - but I didn't want it to be an exotic dance, as its reputation has long suggested.  I'm very sporty and pole does not suddenly transform me into someone who frequents a particular kind of late-night club at all. I admit, though, that it's not a traditional sport. While we have a strict criteria, we have so much freedom: it has elements of acrobatics, gymnastics, jumping, flying, holding. I took it up purely for the benefits it gave me - a great fitness routine.  I was very fortunate enough to have a husband who worked in IT, long before YouTube came along, so he was able to upload videos of me doing pole dancing. This led to me becoming well known, and people began to watch the videos and got in touch to say they had been inspired to pick up the sport too.  We built a whole community in the UK and it began to spread all over the world. That's when competitions started popping up - just local ones, where nobody made too much effort. The community became a bit fed up of the fact that they would train really hard, spend a lot of money on costumes and then the judges would be friend of friends. So back in 2006, I set up an online petition to make pole an Olympic sport. We received over 10,000 signatures and formed the International Pole Sports Federation (IPSF), of which I am still President, in 2009.  Kerri N'Fuego competes in the 'Exotic' performance category during the 2017 Pacific Pole Championships at the Convention Center in Los Angeles, California on April 9, 2017 Credit:  MARK RALSTON/AFP Things really kicked into gear in 2012, when we ran the first world championships. Then, we had basic scoring system, basic judging, basic criteria and a few standards, but over the last six years we've built on that and created a rule book is in excess of 150 pages. More than 300 moves have now been catalogued: it's basically our little bible of what you can and can't do.  We effectively created a sport in six years. Do you know any other sport that's been created in six years? It's no mean feat. Our next steps would be getting pole sports onto TV, and then of course, the Olympics. To get Olympic status you needed to be recognised by the highest sports governing body in the land. We couldn't manage this before the Global Association of International Sports Federation (GAISF) changed their statute. Originally you had to have 40 federations in four continents, all recognised by their government or the National Olympic Committee. However, they would only recognise the national federation if they were a part of an international governing body - us - who would have to be recognised by GAISF. So it was an impossible task. In 2015 over 2,500 athletes competed in 26 countries to qualify for the World championships Credit:  BraunS/E+ Back in April they voted to change the statute and add a new 'observer' status which means they will provisionally recognise us for two years and in that time they will contact all the governments and Olympic committees and say pole is now an officially recognised sport. It's finally an opening for us to achieve our dream.  Now Pole has today been officially recognised it can be viewed as it should be - a sport - rather than just controversial titillation. I've always dreamed that maybe Nike would sponsor our athletes and competitions, and now that's a possibility. There will still be some naysayers who still associate it with traditional pole dancing, but it is as far removed from the world of strip-clubs and nightclubs as can be. That still exists and has its place in society, but it's almost like saying BMX riding is the same as Tour de France. While we use the same apparatus - the pole - our communities are different. What we do is for children as well as adults. If you put two videos side by side - traditional pole and pole sports - you would see so much difference in how its staged, the lighting, costume, movement - everything.  Katie Coates, 41, has finally won her 11-year fight to get pole dancing recognised as a sport Credit:  IPSF / SWNS.com You start these things just hoping to get into the Olympics, but you don't realise how much goes on behind the scenes - all the paperwork creating policies, constitutions, complaint procedures. Now we've moved onto the Para Pole, which is split into three categories in line with Paralympic criteria, so that people in a wheelchair or other disabilities can get involved. When it does eventually get to the Olympics - and I know it will - I hope I won't be there with a zimmer frame in tow. It's become a sport so quickly -who's to say where we'll be in the another six years?  

Why I'm glad pole dancing is finally being recognised as a sport

I first came across the pole at a health and fitness convention when one of the sellers was bringing it out for the home market. I bought one and started practicing, making up loads of different moves, and started a class in my local area - but I didn't want it to be an exotic dance, as its reputation has long suggested.  I'm very sporty and pole does not suddenly transform me into someone who frequents a particular kind of late-night club at all. I admit, though, that it's not a traditional sport. While we have a strict criteria, we have so much freedom: it has elements of acrobatics, gymnastics, jumping, flying, holding. I took it up purely for the benefits it gave me - a great fitness routine.  I was very fortunate enough to have a husband who worked in IT, long before YouTube came along, so he was able to upload videos of me doing pole dancing. This led to me becoming well known, and people began to watch the videos and got in touch to say they had been inspired to pick up the sport too.  We built a whole community in the UK and it began to spread all over the world. That's when competitions started popping up - just local ones, where nobody made too much effort. The community became a bit fed up of the fact that they would train really hard, spend a lot of money on costumes and then the judges would be friend of friends. So back in 2006, I set up an online petition to make pole an Olympic sport. We received over 10,000 signatures and formed the International Pole Sports Federation (IPSF), of which I am still President, in 2009.  Kerri N'Fuego competes in the 'Exotic' performance category during the 2017 Pacific Pole Championships at the Convention Center in Los Angeles, California on April 9, 2017 Credit:  MARK RALSTON/AFP Things really kicked into gear in 2012, when we ran the first world championships. Then, we had basic scoring system, basic judging, basic criteria and a few standards, but over the last six years we've built on that and created a rule book is in excess of 150 pages. More than 300 moves have now been catalogued: it's basically our little bible of what you can and can't do.  We effectively created a sport in six years. Do you know any other sport that's been created in six years? It's no mean feat. Our next steps would be getting pole sports onto TV, and then of course, the Olympics. To get Olympic status you needed to be recognised by the highest sports governing body in the land. We couldn't manage this before the Global Association of International Sports Federation (GAISF) changed their statute. Originally you had to have 40 federations in four continents, all recognised by their government or the National Olympic Committee. However, they would only recognise the national federation if they were a part of an international governing body - us - who would have to be recognised by GAISF. So it was an impossible task. In 2015 over 2,500 athletes competed in 26 countries to qualify for the World championships Credit:  BraunS/E+ Back in April they voted to change the statute and add a new 'observer' status which means they will provisionally recognise us for two years and in that time they will contact all the governments and Olympic committees and say pole is now an officially recognised sport. It's finally an opening for us to achieve our dream.  Now Pole has today been officially recognised it can be viewed as it should be - a sport - rather than just controversial titillation. I've always dreamed that maybe Nike would sponsor our athletes and competitions, and now that's a possibility. There will still be some naysayers who still associate it with traditional pole dancing, but it is as far removed from the world of strip-clubs and nightclubs as can be. That still exists and has its place in society, but it's almost like saying BMX riding is the same as Tour de France. While we use the same apparatus - the pole - our communities are different. What we do is for children as well as adults. If you put two videos side by side - traditional pole and pole sports - you would see so much difference in how its staged, the lighting, costume, movement - everything.  Katie Coates, 41, has finally won her 11-year fight to get pole dancing recognised as a sport Credit:  IPSF / SWNS.com You start these things just hoping to get into the Olympics, but you don't realise how much goes on behind the scenes - all the paperwork creating policies, constitutions, complaint procedures. Now we've moved onto the Para Pole, which is split into three categories in line with Paralympic criteria, so that people in a wheelchair or other disabilities can get involved. When it does eventually get to the Olympics - and I know it will - I hope I won't be there with a zimmer frame in tow. It's become a sport so quickly -who's to say where we'll be in the another six years?  

Why 'homecooked' food is often anything but: the buzzwords restaurants use to trick you 

From clichés to catchphrases, the buzzword is a restaurant staple.  Tonight, the new series of Channel 4's popular show Tricks of the Restaurant Trade will unpick the words used to entice us to order their food.  The series aims to lift the lid on the things consumers should be aware of when they eat out. Presenter Simon Rimmer is joined by Sophie Morgan, a lead presenter on Channel 4’s Rio Paralympics. Roving reporter Adam Pearson is returning and Seyi Rhodes, a reporter on Channel 4’s Unreported World, also joins the team. According to Sophie Morgan, the language restaurants use - exotic, authentic, fresh tasting, handcrafted - is alluring. "But look beneath the surface, and the meaning may not be quite what it seems,” she warns.  Ahead of the first episode, here's three of the most common buzzwords to look out for: 1. Home-cooked The word home cooked calls to mind family cooking, but according to the show's Associate Professor of Law Richard Hyde, it’s not so simple. The so-called "home-cooked" tortilla chips the team examine from a Latin American restaurant chain may not be cooked anywhere near a home, but in a restaurant kitchen using deep frying techniques. Surprisingly, this is completely acceptable according to the Food Standards Agency. According to Hyde, provided you cook something in a way that you could do in your own home, you can call it home-cooked. 2. Handmade This seems self-explanatory - but not when it comes to Pret a Manger’s "handmade" soup, which the show reveals is in fact made in a centralised factory. “Handmade claims don’t actually refer to things necessarily being made by hand,” explains Hyde. You can use a blender or a chopping machine, provided it’s the sort that could be used on a domestic scale. “The line is not between use of hands and use of machines - it’s between industrial scale and not industrial scale,” he says. According to Pret, the soup is indeed made in a factory. The wording was based on an old production process, and has now been updated. We want our plates back 10 of the most ridiculous alternatives used by restaurants 3. Fresh We all want our food to be as fresh as possible - but as the show reveals, the seemingly simple word "fresh" is often open to interpretation. Le Pain Quotidien claims to make “fresh” orange juice each morning, but although not concentrated, it is squeezed off the premises, and arrives already bottled. Fresh, Hyde says, has a “wide meaning.” It doesn’t mean freshly squeezed - all it means is “not preserved in any unnatural way.” The real shocker? Their organic scrambled egg is in fact made of pasteurised liquid egg that has been made off site. Legally, that’s ok - when a menu says fresh, all it really means is that it's not preserved or frozen. Café Rouge also uses “fresh” ingredients - even though their boeuf de bourguignon arrives boiled in a bag. Meanwhile, Pizza Express describe their dishes as fresh to order - but the dough is ready made, and the spinach is cooked from frozen. Provided that something is made "in response to an order", you can call something freshly prepared. Simon Wilkinson, Managing Director, Café Rouge, said:  “Our very popular Boeuf Bourguignon dish is made using the traditional French ‘sous vide’ method, which is commonplace in fine dining restaurants, both in the UK and France. The sous vide process, which is endorsed by many Michelin-starred chefs, is popular for its ability to consistently produce high quality and tender meat dishes that develop and retain deep, rich flavours.  “For the record we are happy to confirm that contrary to some misconceptions, our Boeuf Bourguignon dish is absolutely and categorically not made using a so-called ‘boil in the bag’ method, and any suggestion otherwise is completely false, and misrepresents the care, craft and authenticity behind this dish. “We are also very happy to confirm that fresh food and ingredients are used in many of our dishes, and that Café Rouge applies various traditional French cooking methods in creating a range of high quality and authentic dishes for our customers.” The conclusion? Don’t buy a dish based on the words used to sell it.  

Strictly odds: who will win and who will be this year's Ed Balls?

We got a first gawp at the Strictly Come Dancing’s class of 2017 during Saturday night’s red carpet launch show. Some showed hoofing promise. Others, well, not so much. Now that all 15 famous - in the loosest sense of the word - faces have been paired with their pros and taken their first tentative steps onto the ballroom floor, we predict the title contenders, surprise packages, rank outsiders and comedy contestants. Altogether now: oppa Ed Balls style! The glitterball contenders Aston Merrygold Credit:  Ray Burmiston/PA Bookies’ early favourite is the 29-year-old former frontman of boyband JLS. Not only is Merrygold known for his back-flips (expect to see those on the ballroom floor) but he was a judge on Sky1’s Got To Dance - hence rumblings about him being a ringer. His JLS bandmate JB Gill won the Strictly Christmas special, so Merrygold will want to go one better. If so, he’d become the third consecutive male champion. Forming a “pocket rocket” partnership with Janette Manrara, Aston looked comfortable among the pros during the Footloose group routine. But is he a tad too good? The public like to see progression and improvement, after all. Odds: 11/4 Alexandra Burke Credit:  Ray Burmiston R&B diva Burke won the 2008 series of Strictly’s arch rival The X Factor - beating JLS (them again) into second place. As with Merrygold, there are grumbles about the 28-year-old having too much dance pedigree. She was a guest judge on So You Think You Can Dance, before starring in West End musicals The Bodyguard and Sister Act - the latter directed and choreographed by a certain Craig Revel Horwood. Hmm. A possible finalist but probably not likeable enough to win, despite being paired with loveable Spanish pro Gorka “The Corka” Marquez. Odds: 5/1 Mollie King Credit: Getty The first member of this year’s Strictly line-up to be unveiled was 30-year-old King, an alumnus of girl group The Saturdays. She was a champion skier in her teens, so possesses competitive grit. Bandmate Frankie Bridge finished runner-up three years ago, so King will be keen to continue that success. Strictly’s male pros were jostling to land the leggy blonde as their partner and it was AJ Pritchard who got her, forming a toothy all-blond dream team who could go far. Odds: 4/1 Jonnie Peacock Credit:  Ray Burmiston/PA Paralympic sprinter Peacock is the first ever contestant with a disability to appear on the main show. The 24-year-old is a below-the-knee amputee due to childhood meningitis, so will have obvious physical challenges to overcome - but that’s proved little obstacle in his gold medal-garlanded, MBE-earning athletics career. He’s also been paired with popular South African pro Oti Mabuse, who got to the final last year. Their Strictly story is bound to be an inspiring one - enough to propel them all the way? Odds: 9/1 Gemma Atkinson  Credit: Getty The actress - who has done the soapy rounds of Hollyoaks, Casualty and Emmerdale - is a former lingerie model and lads’ mag pin-up. The 32-year-old Mancunian has hired a full-time personal trainer, embarked on a 12-week fitness regime and given up alcohol ahead of the show. She’s taking it seriously and has a terrific partner in smiley Slovenian Aljaž Škorjanec, who’ll fancy repeating his 2013 win with Abbey Clancey. Gemma looked one of the most impressive celebrities during the group number, so hopes are high.  Odds: 6/1 The comedy contestants Susan Calman Credit: Ray Burmiston/PA The dry-witted Scottish comic and Radio 4 favourite describes herself as “an enthusiastic home dancer” and has vowed to bring the entertainment factor. The 42-year-old former lawyer stands just 4ft 11in and recently tweeted: “I haven't worn heels or a dress since I was 17. Haven't danced with a man in over a decade. Strictly, I'm ready.” She’s a superfan of pro dancer Kevin Clifton (from Grimsby™) and thankfully, was partnered with him. Cue heart-melting tears of happiness. He’ll look after her and they should be excellent value - although Kev’s unlikely to extend his record of reaching the final in all his four years on the show.  Odds: 80/1 Chizzy Akudolu  Credit: getty The 43-year-old actress is best-known for playing heart surgeon Mo Effanga in Holby City but was also a fanatical disco dancer in her teens - and judging by her full-on Footloose performance, hasn’t forgotten the moves. The accomplished comedienne came second in Let’s Sing & Dance For Comic Relief and has been partnered with Siberian sweetheart Pasha Kovalev, forming a highly likeable pairing. He’s a good teacher. She’s fitter and more confident than she might look. The fun factor might just win her new fans.  Odds: 50/1 Reverend Richard Coles Credit:  Guy Levy As the man himself says: “Cometh the hour, cometh the overweight vicar with arthritic knees.” Already a crowd favourite, the pop star-turned-priest had a huge hit with The Communards’ Don’t Leave Me This Way, so don’t be surprised to see Coles cha-cha-ing to that chart-topper come late September. Paired with new Aussie pro Dianne Buswell, the 55-year-old panel show regular should be hilarious - and certainly looked game for a laugh during the group dance, when he sprawled on the judges’ table and busted out Jeremy Vine-esque disco moves. The Strictly wardrobe department are doubtless sewing sequins onto clerical collars as we speak.  Odds: 33/1  The surprise packages Debbie McGee Credit:  Ray Burmiston/PA The recent widow and former assistant of magician Paul Daniels will be following in the footsteps of her late husband, who was eliminated second from the 2010 contest. ThelovelyDebbieMcGee™ should fare better, since she’s a former ballerina who became artistic director of her own ballet company - although she insists she hasn’t danced for three decades. The 58-year-old will attract the expert eye of judge Darcey Bussell and, paired with Italian stallion Giovanni Pernice, could surprise a few people. Now that’s magic. Odds: 16/1 Davood Ghadami  Credit: Guy Levy The 35-year-old Brit-Iranian actor, who plays Walford market’s resident ladies’ man Kush Kazemi in EastEnders, is quite the muscle-bound beefcake. Expect him to be ripping his shirt off, in the noble lineage of Steve Backshall, Rav Wilding, Judge Rinder, plus various soap hunks and rugby players from Strictlys of yore. He’s been partnered with new Ukrainian pro (and former Playboy Playmate) Nadiya Bychkova and there are already rumours of potential “curse of Strictly” showmance. From the group number, Ghadami looked more of a partner-lifter and pose-striker than a mover, but it’s early days.  Odds: 9/1 Joe McFadden  Credit: PA The Glaswegian actor is best-known for playing surgeon Raf di Lucca in Holby City, PC Joe Mason in Heartbeat and the lead role in the BBC adaptation of Iain Banks novel The Crow Road. The 41-year-old housewives’ favourite has also appeared in West End musicals, so is accustomed to jazzhand-waving. He’s paired with Katya Jones, who partner Ed Balls last year. McFadden looked quietly proficient during the group danced so should be an upgrade, in hoofing ability if not headline-grabbing.  Odds: 16/1 Ruth Langsford The 57-year-old, who presents daytime shows Loose Women and This Morning, is a self-confessed dance novice. She’s warmly likeable but will that be enough? Being paired with the much-loved Anton du Beke - who always gets landed with the more mature ladies - should keep her in for a few weeks at least.  Odds: 40/1 The first-out fodder Brian Conley Credit: Guy levy It’s a puppet! The 56-year-old comedian and panto stalwart has stage school and West End experience but insists he isn’t much of a dancer. Will Strictly viewers warm to him hamming it up and mugging to camera? Middle-aged men are often sent home first, after all. Might just be helped by being paired with new arrival Amy Dowden - the contest’s first ever Welsh pro, which could get them patriotic votes from the Valleys.  Odds: 25/1 Charlotte Hawkins  Credit:  Ray Burmiston/PA In the TV tradition of Angela Rippon on Morecambe & Wise, newsreader Hawkins will be stepping out from behind her desk to hit the dancefloor. The sporty 42-year-old follows her Good Morning Britain colleagues Susanna Reid and Kate Garraway into the Strictly tanning booths. Will she be a finalist like the former or a flop like the latter? Judging by her stiff, mistake-ridden performance in the launch show’s group dance, it looks more Garraway-shaped. Expect scowling from her partner Brendan Cole when the judges raise their scoring paddles.  Odds: 25/1  Simon Rimmer Credit: PA Omens aren’t promising for the 54-year-old Scouse chef and Sunday Brunch presenter. TV foodie types don’t have a great track record in the ballroom: Gregg Wallace was first out three years ago, Gary Rhodes was third out and Ainsley Harriott fourth out. Strictly senorita Karen Clifton will do her best to cover his faults but Rimmer has the distinct whiff of dad-dancer. Odds: 66/1 Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC1 on Saturday September 23 Strictly 2017: Who are this years contestants?

Tanni Grey-Thompson says Britain must ‘clear the fear’ to maintain Olympics and Paralympic medal factory

Tanni Grey-Thompson says Britain must ‘clear the fear’ to maintain Olympics and Paralympic medal factory

JSC reveals 1/500 scale miniature of the New National Stadium in Tokyo

Japan Sport Council reveals 1/500 scale miniature of the New National Stadium, the main stadium of Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, during a media opportunity in Tokyo, Japan October 13, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato

A man works at the construction site of the New National Stadium, the main stadium of Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo

A man works at the construction site of the New National Stadium, the main stadium of Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo, Japan, October 13, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato

A construction site of the New National Stadium, the main stadium of Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, is seen in Tokyo

A construction site of the New National Stadium, the main stadium of Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, is seen in Tokyo, Japan, October 13, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Men work at the construction site of the New National Stadium, the main stadium of Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo

Men work at the construction site of the New National Stadium, the main stadium of Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo, Japan, October 13, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato

A man works at the construction site of the New National Stadium, the main stadium of Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo

A man works at the construction site of the New National Stadium, the main stadium of Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo, Japan, October 13, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Men work at the construction site of the New National Stadium, the main stadium of Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo

Men work at the construction site of the New National Stadium, the main stadium of Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo, Japan, October 13, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato

JSC reveals 1/500 scale miniature of the New National Stadium in Tokyo

Japan Sport Council reveals 1/500 scale miniature of the New National Stadium, the main stadium of Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, during a media opportunity in Tokyo, Japan October 13, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Men work at the construction site of the New National Stadium, the main stadium of Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo

Men work at the construction site of the New National Stadium, the main stadium of Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo, Japan, October 13, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato

People walk in front of the construction site of the New National Stadium, the main stadium of Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo

People walk in front of the construction site of the New National Stadium, the main stadium of Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo, Japan, October 13, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato

JSC director Yukio Komatsu gives a briefing on construction process of New National Stadium in Tokyo

Japan Sport Council director Yukio Komatsu gives a briefing on construction process of New National Stadium, the main stadium of Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, next to it's 1/150 scale stadium miniature, during a media opportunity in Tokyo, Japan October 13, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Japan Sport Council reveals real-size mock model of the spectators' entrance for the New National Stadium in Tokyo

Japan Sport Council reveals real-size mock model of the spectators' entrance accessing to their seats for the New National Stadium, the main stadium of Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, during a media opportunity in Tokyo, Japan October 13, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Reporters try to use real-size mock model of the spectators' seats for the New National Stadium in Tokyo

Reporters try to use real-size mock model of the spectators' seats for the New National Stadium, the main stadium of Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, during a media opportunity in Tokyo, Japan October 13, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato

1/150 scale stadium miniature of New National Stadium is seen during a media opportunity in Tokyo

1/150 scale stadium miniature of New National Stadium, the main stadium of Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, is seen during a media opportunity organized by Japan Sport Council in Tokyo, Japan October 13, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes