Three years ago, just after her sixtieth birthday, Temecula resident Greta
Pontarelli resolved that in the new year she would take better care of herself.
She would eat right and exercise more. She set out to find an exercise program
that would strengthen her core muscles, help maintain flexibility, and build
bone in an effort to stave off osteoporosis. She found pole sport.
“Since my first spin, I have been hooked on pole sport,” says Pontarelli. A good deal has happened since that first spin. Pontarelli, a former martial arts champion and gymnast (Pennsylvania Floor Champion) in her youth, not only took up the new sport but she took up the challenge to become the oldest pole sport champion in the world. At 63 she has succeeded.
In 2013 Pontarelli won the International Pole Art Championship title in Singapore; took the Masters (50 +) Division world title at the World Pole Sports Championships in London; was voted the 2013 Pacific Pole Masters Champion and Artistic Championship in Los Angeles; and won the 2013 Southern Pole Masters Championship and the Artistic Championship in Houston, TX.
She says, “I set out to compete to prove that with focus women of any age can achieve the level of fitness they desire. Far more important than the medals is the platform that the stage provides me to tell an uplifting story that inspires others to not let age or any limitation keep them from reaching their dreams.”
According to Ania Anna Przeplasko, organizer and director of the International Pole Dance Fitness Association, the International Pole Championships are one of the pioneering sport championships where winners are credited for their artistic skills, trick techniques and overall showmanship. The popularity of the sport propelled forward when pole fitness was featured in the opening ceremony of the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore. Przeplasko added that there is a strong movement to include pole sport in future Olympic Games.
Next year Pontarelli will be competing in London at the IPSF World Championship on July 18 and 19. She is keeping her schedule open for one of the biggest sports fairs in the world, the Arnold Classic Brazil in Rio de Janeiro, where the III Pole World Cup and the Official Brazilian Pole Dance Championship will be held April 25 – 27, 2014.
Pontarelli is a business woman and a mother of two grown sons. She lives in Temecula with her husband. For more information visit www.facebook.com/gretapontarelli.