Two local athletes will be representing Canada on the world stage at the POSA Pole Art World Championships in Fredericton in June. Stephanie Glandon and Kristen Kouhi are both recent medalists at the CPSAF (Canadian Pole Sports and Arts Federation) National Pole Sport Championships and CPSAF Pole Art Canada held in March.
Stephanie earned two gold medals for her solo routines, in pole art and pole sport, in the Masters 40+ division, while Kristen and her partner, Jenny Goodwin, won the top spot for their pole art duet in the competitive doubles division.
This is Kristen’s first year competing in pole sport. As a former ballet dancer, she decided to try pole as a way to have some fun and stay in shape. “I thought it was something new to try,” she says. After doing it recreationally for several years, Kirsten partnered up with Jenny, who was a more advanced athlete. “This pushed me to improve quickly,” she says.
Kristen loves pole sport because it can take on so many different forms. She and Jenny compete in the pole arts stream, which is more theatrical and dramatic, with costumes and elaborate make up. The routine that won them gold at CPSAF Nationals was set to music from the musical Wicked, with Kirsten playing Glinda (the good witch) and Jenny playing Elphaba (the wicked witch).
Both Kristen and Stephanie are now part of CPSAF Team Canada and they will spend the next year training for the POSA Pole Art World Championships in Fredericton June 5-6, 2020, hosted by CPSAF. Their coach, POSA International Master Trainer Ashley Wiggins, has them on a strict workout and training schedule to ensure they are at their best for the event. She will also be helping them create their routines for the international competition.
Kristen says that it is totally surreal that she will be representing Canada at the world championships, seeing that this is her first year competing in pole. She is looking forward to working with Ashley, as she is a well-respected name in the world of pole sport. “I am looking forward to having a coach to push us to the next level,” she says. “It’s exciting and a little intimidating.”
It is obvious that Kristen has the discipline and drive needed to excel and reach her goals. Her current training schedule includes working in aerials and pole for five to seven hours a week and running everyday. This is on top of her full-time job as a structural engineer and architect with the federal government, and running around after her 18-month old daughter, Vivien. “It’s very busy,” she says.
Both Kristen and Stephanie will be competing as much as they can in the coming year to prepare for Worlds. Stephanie will also be representing Canada at POSA Pole Sport World Championships in Finland at the end of November. While Kristen is only competing as a duet in the pole arts stream this year, she is hoping to include pole sport and hoop into her repertoire in the future. “I’m having a lot of fun,” she says.