Allison Stokke: The Sport That Led Her to Fame

Allison Stokke wasn’t exactly like other high school students when she rose to fame. The American born women, who currently is 29 years old, started her athletic career when she attended Newport Harbor High School in California. Originally, Stokke was a part of her high school’s track and field team when she first became interested in pole vaulting. While this may seem simple enough, her name started to reach headlines when she was recorded and photographed by a journalist in 2007, while she was competing in New York track and field competition.

These photos were then taken from the original article and reposted by a man who ran an online blog about athletics that had an extremely large fan base. Since then, Stokke has become a well-known name in the track and field and fitness world, thus leading to her success as a fitness model before she started school at the University of California, Berkeley.

Track and Field

As the name suggests, track and field is an outdoors sport that usually takes place in a stadium on its running track which encloses a grass field (which is where the jumping events take place). However, track and field is more than the participants running to see who is the fastest. This sport also includes a multitude of jumping and throwing athletic events and contests as well. It is important to note that track and field is just an umbrella term, the other athletic events that are included in track and field are: cross country, road running, and race walking. One of the reasons why so many fans are attracted to track and field is because it is an individual sport where only athletic is deemed the winner, which leads to the sport being more competitive than others.

Foot Races

The foot racing events include a mixture of middle and long-distance running, race walking, sprinting, and hurdling, who all are won by whichever participant is the fastest in the competition. Out of all the events that are under track and field, foot races are the oldest seeing how they were around in ancient Greek. Though, out of all the previously mentioned foot racing events, sprinting is the most popular form that is known globally. Sprinting is also an Olympics and Outdoor World Championships event. The most popular forms of sprinting are the 100 meter, 200 meters, and 400 meters races due to the highly competitive atmosphere surrounding the event.

Jumping Events

These two events are commonly combined due to the winner being decided by whichever athlete achieves the greatest distance or height in the competition. The jumping events include long jump, triple jump, high jump, and the pole vault, which is what Allison Stokke is known for. Moreover, the jumping events can also include other elements of track and field, making it one of the more physically challenging aspects of the sport.

Pole Vaulting

The use of poles in the pole vault was first recorded Fierljeppen contests in the Frisian area, a coastal region of the Netherlands. It soon made its way to Germany in the 1770’s when gymnasts incorporated poles into their routines. However, it will not be until 1843 in England where the first pole vaulting contests were being held. The rules were simple: athletes were not allowed to move their hands along the pole and that they had to clear the bar feet first while twisting, so their stomach faces the bad mid-jump.

While the rules of the sport have not changed over the years, the way, the sport is competed in has. For starters, athletics are provided a landing mattress to break their fall when they are jumping at higher heights; the athletes are also given a longer strip of track to run on before making their jump.

To put it simply, pole vaulting is one of the more rigorous and gymnastic-like events in track and field. It requires the participants to be extremely precise in their movements while also having an incredible amount of strength to lunge themselves, with the help of a pole, over a bar set at a designated height. No wonder why pole vaulting was introduced to the Olympics in 2000.

Allison Stoke Moving On

In 2007 Allison Stoke became an internet sensation after a picture of her at a pole vaulting event went viral. She was successful in the sport before the famous photo and won the U.S. title in 2005. The photo of her at the event was posted on a less than flattering blog that posted pictures of younger women for their male clients. The person that took the famous photo threated to use the blog if the picture was not removed, but it already was viral and swirling around the World Wide Web.

Becoming Famous

After the infamous photo of Stoke, there was a website set up that also had other pictures of her at athletic competitions. Thousands of fans saw her as their “net crush”, and her life would never be the same as itgot out of control for a while. There were even articles published about her in such outlets as the New York Times and Washington Post and in stories about her overseas in TV shows in England, Germany, and Australia. Soon after she was inundated with offers to model and she then had to hire a manager. All Stoke wanted to do was continue to pursue her dream of making the Olympics as a pole vaulter, and when she released a YouTube video talking about the techniques of the sport there were in excess of 100,000 hits, but most of the comments were about her appearance.

Where is Stoke Now?

Stoke never gave up on her dreams of vaulting in the Olympic games and she still pursues that. She has been a model for Nike and Athena and a spokesman for GoPro and is also in a pretty high-profile relationship with one of the top golfers in the world in Ricky Fowler. She has accompanied him to several tournaments. Even after working out with some of the best athletic coaches in Phoenix Stoke did not qualify for the USA Track and Field Olympic Trials, but she still continues to train for her ultimate goal to this day.

The picture that changes Stoke’s life was not always a rosy situation, but she has taken a positive from it and is not bitter about it at all. She stated, “I feel like me, and that picture are two different people.” She said the infamous picture is her alter-ego that she chooses not to engage with. From the famous photo to life at Cal Berkley as a student-athlete to dating one of the top golfers on the planet to continuing toward her dream, Stoke has weathered the storm of what can happen when something goes viral on the web. While it was a hindrance at times and she had some hard times after becoming a sensation she has managed to be positive in her views of what she went through.

Allison Stoke has taken the good and the bad with her 15 minutes of fame, which seem to be hanging on. She is resilient and a positive role model for young women athletes even though that is now what she signed up for after not even knowing she was being photographed back in 2007 simply doing what she loved and was good at, which was, and still is, pole vaulting.

Allison Stokke: Finding her way

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.

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