Finding her way for Allison Stokke was not the easiest of things to accomplish. After blasting into fame due to a photo posted online, Stokke had to deal with unwanted attention from internet trolls and excessive exposure. For a kid still in high school and just wanting to master the sport of pole vaulting, becoming a viral sensation was the last thing on her list of to do’s
Who is Allison Stokke?
Allison Stokke was born and raised in California by parents, Allan (a lawyer) and Cindy Stokke. As a youngster, Allison competed in gymnastics nationally but early on found the sports was not for her, even though she was achieving success.
Finding her way, Stokke found pole vaulting was her passion. She felt she had what it took to succeed and began to hone her craft and quickly rose in the ranks to become one of America’s youngest in the sport. At the age of 15, stoke succeeded in jumping 12.5 feet.
As Stokke entered her high school freshman year, she pushed harder and began setting records. In 2004 Stokke beat her own record jumping 12 feet, 8 inches and then later beat that record by jumped 13 feet, 5.75 inches.
As her senior year got under, the juggling of school and training was tough on the star athlete. It was at this time that Allison began to generate both national and international attention in the sport of pole vaulting. As she rose to the top of her sports, she again set a new personal best of 13 feet, 6.75 inches, however, things were about to change, and not for the better.
The now famous photo
In 2007, life was good for the high schooler, however, while in completion, a photographer took a picture of Stokke, who was 17 at the time, as she was in line waiting her turn to jump. The photograph was posted online and later reposted on a blog site that catered to men wanting to view pictures of younger women.
This saw Stokke becoming an internet sensation, for all the wrong reasons as the caption under her blog posted picture was demeaning. It led to Allison having to deal with trolls and unwanted attention, taking her focus away from the sport and having to lean on her father for legal support in dealing with the trolls and constant republishing of her picture. The original photographer threatened legal action for the picture to be removed from the blog, but for Alisson, it was too late, and the damage was done, the internet owned her picture, and little could be done about it.
The positive to come from this was a warning to young women by CBC Sports about how easy it can be to have young women who are vulnerable become public figured. The segment focused on the dangers and negative effects of the internet and social media. The hope was that in doing so, young women would become more educated on those risks and act appropriately to prevent them from happening.