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.

Allison Stokke

Allison Stokke is, perhaps, one of the more baffling cases of a truly inspiring and talented sports athlete, who never quite made it. Today, the 28-year-old is rather unfairly remembered for being a high school sex-symbol, which in actuality, she should be remembered for her talent, and what could have been.

A Promising Athlete

Stokke was born and raised in California in 1989 and took up pole vaulting at her local high school (Newport Harbor High School). By 15, she had won the US title, with an inspiring jump of 12ft. 6in (3.81m). Her amazing achievements would continue, smashing the record in 2004, and then again in 2005 with her 13ft. 5.3 in (4.11m) vault. Even after breaking a leg, this young athlete would go on the win the CIG California State Meet, twice.

Smashing records was what this athlete should have been celebrated for. However, in an era of rapidly advancing internet technology and social media, she gathered some rather unfortunate and unwarranted attention instead. In 2007, at the age of 17, Stokke (whilst waiting for her turn to vault) was snapped. The innocent enough photo made it onto the “With Leather” blog, and its audience of young men went wild.

The demeaning and sexualized comments Stokke faced certainly took their toll on her. Stalkers, television interviews and doors to modelling careers all opened for Allison, and that took the focus away from the young woman’s sports.

Not Meant to Be

Despite releasing a YouTube video about how to perfect your pole vaulting techniques (intended as a way of turning the focus on her back to sport) the comments continued. Even a CBS piece on the tribulations of the “abuse” didn’t stop the internet from commenting on her body, rather than her skills.

Her efforts in the sport were enough to win her a scholarship to university, and whilst there she continued to smash the record books. In the end, she graduated with a master’s degree in sociology and began to prepare for the London Olympic games in 2012. Unable to clear the 14ft heat, she was failed to make the team.

Having failed to make the Olympic Games, Stokke finally gave in to the demands from the modelling industry in 2015 (although only fitness modelling) posing for Nike, as well as working with Go Pro, Uniqlo, and Athleta. Now involved with US golfer, Rickie Fowler, Allison Stokke leads a quieter life, although she has taken up golfing herself alongside continued vaulting and still hopes to one day end up at the Olympic Games.

As for her achievements in pole vaulting, Stokke’s personal best (achieved in 2012) stands at 14ft. 3.5in (4.36m), which would have been enough to see her make the 2012 London Olympics, had that been her Olympic Trial attempt.

Today, Stokkes doesn’t gather the media attention she used to, although, with 6 million views, her GoPro YouTube videos show that there’s a lot of people still interested in Allison, and happily, for the right reasons. Perhaps there is still a second chapter which is yet to be written for this former American track and field great.

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