When it comes to track and field there is one woman above all else that comes to mind. A famous pole vaulter – Allison Stokke. Whether you know it or not we can easily guarantee that you’ve seen her before. She specifically is known for one photo in particular that showed how beautiful this amazingly talented female competitor was.
In 2007 Allison Stokke wasn’t a standout athlete in the American track and field spectrum. Now, she’s known for having broken several pole vaulting records and even more so for her ambition as a model. She was only a high schooler when that picture of her went viral.
Who Is Allison Stokke
Born March 22nd, 1989, Allison Stokke was the second child of her parents Cindy and Allan Stokke. Allison came from a very competitive family as her older brother David competed as a gymnast on a national level while on a youth team. She said that he was her inspiration forgiving gymnastics ago. She recalled realized the gymnastics weren’t exactly the right competition for her instead went on to find what she would be best at.
Allison soon after found that her true calling in her athletic career would be pole vaulting. She was determined to make something of herself in this port and quickly became one of the youngest pole vaulters in the country. In 2004 at the age of 15, she wanted a US title and set a pole vaulting record at over 12 and a half feet.
Allison Stokke was no stranger to setting records. She first experienced what that felt like her freshman year of high school. In the same year that she had already set a record for a pole vaulting jump of over 12 feet, she then broke the record once more at 12 feet 8 inches. By 2005 her records were the best that ever been seen in the country at an astounding 13 feet 5 and 3/4 inches.
Now it’s no surprise that by the time Allison Stokke was in her senior year in high school she was already an outstanding athlete. It wasn’t even fair that she was the one that was setting the bar for the rest of her competitors especially on a local level.
As hard as it may be to believe that her success could be overshadowed by anything, fortunately when she was 17 Stoke was photographed while innocently waiting for her turn in a competition. Nobody would have ever thought that that photo would amount to anything, but sure enough, that picture went viral.
Things started to take a turn for the worse when this photo was first taken by a blogger and used underneath a demeaning headline about stokes appearance. This would lead to her receiving the type of attention that would begin to make her life spiral out of control. Everyone tried to take action against the Blogger between her family and the original photographer himself, but their efforts were futile as the image was already in the hands of the internet.
Almost like a picture-driven goFundMe campaign, a website was soon created in tribute to Allison Stokke we’re more and more images of Stokke pole vaulting would be posted to try to drown out the negativity of that one blogger. Her fan base would rapidly grow and she would soon be known as an ‘internet crush’.
The rapid growth of popularity in Allison Stokke spread Nationwide and then worldwide. She would be seen in publications from The New York Times And The Washington Post. Because of her rapid internet fame, she would even go on to be featured on a morning talk show in Australia.
Calming Things Down
She quickly learned the power of the internet as she tried to stop everything from getting out of control early on. As it turns out she didn’t know what she was truly up against. She was being harassed by hundreds of phone calls for photo shoots and modeling gigs. She became so overwhelmed with all of the attention that she had to hire a manager just to deal with it.
Trying To Shift The Attention
Allison desperately wanted the world to recognize her for her incredible pole vaulting above her beauty so she did everything she could to shift the attention back over to what was most important to her. She tried making videos offering tips on how to perfect the pole vaulting technique but that would only go on to backfire as all of the YouTube, would be widely focused on her appearance over her skill.
Help From Her Father
All of this unwanted attention was without a doubt a distraction in training for her athletic destiny. She would then go to her father who was a lawyer to go through and read all of the comments on social media to see if there was any illegal activity so that they could gain some leverage in stopping her internet sensationalism.
A Small Positive
To her benefit, CBS managed to turn her unfortunate situation into it and educational piece. He pointed out how easy it was to make a young person a public figure for the wrong reasons and how her lack of consent could prove that there were signs of harassment. Again, to her benefit, CBS highlighted the dangers that this kind of publicity could have on someone of her age.
Looking back on it, stoke recalled that her attention had been compromised on her sport and it was all just really terrifying for her. She said that she was constantly looking over the shoulder to make sure that all of her doors locked because she was paranoid that somebody was stalking her. It’s incredible how one picture going viral can lead to such paranoia.
She was sincerely upset that it was her looks that we’re getting all of the attention instead of her skills which she had worked so hard to perfect. It was an emotional struggle for her that over 1 million search results with her name would lead to websites reporting on her appearance instead of her career. Still, was determined to flip the script.
Obviously, Allison Stokke was more than talented enough to get a scholarship for her athletic ability. She would go to college to join the Golden Bears in her home state of California where she would do her best to keep a low profile on social media and focus on what was really important.
Continuing To Set Records
While she was in college she continued to set records in the pole vault and competition, shattering the records she had already set before. She managed to graduate with a master’s degree in sociology, not letting her sport distract her from her Scholastic duties.
Her best record has still not been broken at 14 ft 3 and 1/2 in. This record would inspire her to go on to train for the qualifying rounds of the London Olympics. She would take every step that she could to have that photo be forgotten and to be remembered for her incredible achievements.
It was devastating to her, but she, unfortunately, missed out on for the United States in the 2012 Olympic Games. Is a qualifying rounds she wasn’t able to clear the qualifying height which was just under 14 feet. Most athletes would crumble under the devastation of failure like that but she would be fueled by this fire.
In 2015 she felt empowered by the widespread attention she received from her viral photo. She would then go on to try her hand at modeling. Four years at that point agencies have been reaching out to her for sports edition shoots for sponsors such as Nike. It came as no surprise to the people that knew her best that she was in natural at this just like she was a natural at pole vaulting.
Allison Stokke said she had an amazing experience teaming up with GoPro which helped her fans gain insight into the life of a pole vaulter. She would give the world a view of what it was like to fly through the air with such philosophy. This GoPro video helps the audience get more involved in the sport than ever before.
In Front Of The Camera Once Again