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.
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.
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.
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?