Dance Officially Becomes A Sport In Italy

If you rather like to swing your hips than to strain your muscles: in Italy you will be right. Italian sports officials have decided to recognize dancing as an official sport with its own federation. Tangos, foxtrots and waltzes will have the same dignity as volleyball, basketball and athletics on Tuesday when the national Olympic committee formally recognises the Italian Federation of Dancing Sports.

The Italian statistics bureau this month revealed that over a million people in the country now take part in organised dance courses, compared to half that in 2000.

According to observers, TV shows featuring celebrities who learn to dance are partly the cause of the recent popularity.

Last year the most popular of these programmes, RAI state televisions Dancing with the Stars, was won by Italys former world champion long jumper Fiona May. She had no doubts that dancing was tough enough to be counted a sport.

Dancers are physically very strong, They are in fact fully-fledged athletes and they deserve to have their own proper sports federation, she said.

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