In February of this year Temecula’s Greta Pontarelli, 66, appeared on German television in a segment showing how a number of athletic seniors are living their lives to the fullest by staying fit.
Pontarelli, who took up pole exercise at 59, just won her fifth world title last month at the Pole Art Italy World Championships in Turin, Italy. Her artistic performance, “Finding the Magic to Make Your Soul Soar,” secured her first place win in the Masters Division.
Pole Sport and Pole Art are combinations of gymnastics, choreography and acrobatic tricks. The sport requires significant strength, flexibility and stamina, and employs athletic moves such as climbs, spins, and body inversions using the limbs to grip a vertical standing apparatus. Pontarelli says her best trick is to execute a handspring and go to a passé Iron-X on the pole, which demands extreme control and strong core muscles.
At 61 Pontarelli scored the first of a succession of wins in the United States and abroad, she has 19 wins to date, with five of them coming from participating in the world championships.
Pontarelli, who spends most days with her husband, says, “More important than my medals is the opportunity that the stage provides to help manifest my mission to inspire others to not let age or any limitation stand in the way of our dreams.”
As a teen Pontarelli, who lives by the motto, Carpe Diem (seize the day), competed nationally in gymnastics and was named the Pennsylvania Floor Exercise Champion. She won national awards as a martial artist in sparring and forms in 1978. Pontarelli competed twice on the TV show American Ninja Warrior and was the oldest person to ever attempt the course. She founded an international life coaching business in 1997 to help encourage others to not let age or any limitation keep them from pursuing their dreams.
Elle Magazine produced a video of Pontarelli demonstrating pole art with her voice-over explaining why she took up pole and the value of exercise earlier this year and since then the video has gone viral and has now topped 190,000 views. In 2016 the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) filmed her as an example of how fitness can extend the joy of life into the senior years. In 2015 she performed live on The Steve Harvey Show in Hollywood and discussed the value of nutritious foods and a healthy lifestyle.
World Championship Titles Held by Greta Pontarelli include the 2017 Pole Art World Title, Masters Division, World Pole Art Italy competition, Turin; the 2016 Pole Art World Title, Masters Division, World Pole Art Italy competition, Milan; The 2014 IPSF World Title, Masters Division, International Pole Sports Federation competition, London; the 2013 Pole Art World Title, Masters Division, International Pole Championships, Singapore and the 2013 IPSF World Title, Masters Division, International Pole Sports Federation competition, London. Read more about Pontarelli at www.Aerialzen.com and at www.facebook.com/gretapontarelli.