Inside the Wild World of Competitive Pole Dancing

Both men and women competed in Las Vegas' Pole Classic, showing off intricate routines with hundreds of complex moves.
5:26 | 01/03/17

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Transcript for Inside the Wild World of Competitive Pole Dancing
When you think of sports you probably don't think of pole dancing. That's exactly what it's become. The competition is fierce. Here's ABC's sunny who is nee hny Hostin. I just want to put on an amazing show. Reporter: For these athletes thousands of hours of training have boiled down to this night. Nervous. Reporter: As they prepare to step into one of the brightest spotlights in their sport, the wild world of competitive pole dancing. Much of Ashley fox's year centers around prepping for the pole classic in Las Vegas. She even dropped out of school to pursue her passion for pole dancing full-time. How intense is the competition? It's very intense. So there's a lot of pressure to do well. The next 24, even the in exthree hours, are action-packed. Reporter: Fonia organizes pole expo, drawing competitors from all over the world vying for recognition and a prize. Renowned instructor fonia's list of students includes Britney spears, who pulled out moves during her "Slave for you" routine at this year's billboard music awards. ? I'm a slave for you ? Climbing the pole with Britney. We did the basic climb. We made a nice routine about 20 individual pole tricks. Reporter: For the elite pole dancers taking the stage here tomorrow, their intricate routines comprise of hundreds of complex moves. I can imagine the athletes are going think their music, picturing themselves winning. Reporter: Ashley doesn't need to remember running, two years ago she scored first overall. We met at her studio in New York City. I get asked if I'm a gymnast, a dancer. I'm always like, something like that. You don't want anyone to get the wrong idea. There's a lot of misconception about pole dancing, isn't that right? Most people think you're a stripper? Oftentimes, oftentimes. Not to say there aren't poehlers who do strip. I'm completely artistic, athletic, and focus on fitness and the artistry. Reporter: Ashley offered to give me a lesson. You want to support yourself. You're going to kind of swivel on your foot. Hook the legs. Weave. And try to land. I can't do that. Oh, you're going to do this. Reporter: And believe me, when I say she makes it look much easier than it is. You're going to pull down and forward. Yep. Yes. Good, that wasn't so bad. I absolutely think it could, should, and will be an olympic sport. It's an extreme sport, in my opinion. Reporter: Extreme, she says, because one small mistake can spell disaster. The day of the competition, she's rehearsing every move. The stakes are perhaps even higher for newcomer Chris Saez. He traveled here from his home country, Chile. I just want to do a good job on the stage, you know? I think when I fiwin, that is going to be amazing. Reporter: His commitment is clear. Pole is a way of moving, travel around the world, competing. Reporter: Minutes before showtime, phonia scrambles to get the dance in order. It's freaking-out time. Reporter: The drama heats up. Everyone wants their space. It's really not time for making new friends. I'm feeling super-ready now that I have my makeup starting to come together. Once I put my outfit on, I'll be even more ready. Welcome to the fifth annual pole expo. Reporter: Ladies first. ? ? the women break out in impressive array of aerial demonstrations. Their inspiration ranging from sultry to classical. ? ? Ready! Reporter: Ashley packs a punch with her superhero routine. Her performance, a clear fan favorite. I feel excited. I felt amazing. Reporter: Now it's time for the gentlemen to take the stage. ? ? some play the audience for laughs. But cris is more modern dancer than magic Mike. ? ? graceful and refined. They were screaming a lot. It was amazing. Reporter: For cris, his dedication pays off in his first appearance at pole classic. And in second place we've got -- Christopher Saez! Reporter: He scores second in men's. And Ashley? Ashley fox! Reporter: Falls just short of a repeat. Also taking second in her division. Fuel, she says, to train even harder for the next round. My main goal is to get first, first and first. That's still my goal. It just motivates me. Reporter: For "Nightline," I'm sunny Hostin in New York.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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