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.
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.