The best thing you can hope for as an athlete is to be recognised for the things you’ve accomplished on the playing field. On the other hand, you may at times acquire unfavourable press coverage as a consequence of your negative attitude or lack of effort in the classroom. On the other hand, there are occasions when you find yourself the centre of attention for all the wrong reasons due to external factors that are beyond your control. This is the narrative of former pole vaulter Allison Stokke, who in 2007 at the age of 17 encountered what a lot of female athletes had to go through: an emphasis on sexualization rather than on their accomplishments. This is something that a lot of female athletes have to go through. Let’s take a look back at one snapshot that altered the course of Stokke’s life in a way that wasn’t always for the best, as well as what she’s been up to recently.
That Competitive Drive Runs in the Family
It was only natural for a person who was born and raised in Newport Beach, California to excel in athletics. After all, her brother David was a gymnast in his teens and competed at the national level. Allison tried gymnastics for a while before realising that the sport was not a good fit for her. On the other hand, she came to the realisation that pole vaulting was an area in which she might excel.
One of the Very Best
Stokke’s aptitude for learning let him to quickly ascend the ranks, and in 2004, he set a new record by winning the US national title in the 15/16 age group with a vault that measured 12 feet 6 inches. As a result of this, she went on to break records at American high schools both during her freshman and sophomore years. In spite of the fact that she suffered a broken leg, she competed in the CIF California State Meet on two separate occasions. She competed in the national junior championships and finished in eighth place, earning her a ranking as the second greatest pole vaulter in the country during her senior year.
Everything was different after only one picture.
In 2007, a journalist from California captured a photograph of Stokke while she was participating in a track and field competition in New York. After a few months had passed, a well-known blog geared towards men named With Leather (which is now known as Uproxx) released the photo with the heading “Pole Vaulting is Sexy, Barely Legal.” At that moment, it was too late for the journalist’s threat to sue the website for using his photo without his consent; but, he did threaten to do so. The picture of Allison had quickly spread over the internet. The contents of Pandora’s Box were now exposed.
Focus on the Whole Country
Within a short period of time, somebody had established what was effectively an Allison Stokke-worshipping website, complete with photographs of her competing in a variety of events. It resulted in the acquisition of thousands of followers, many of whom were likely acting with less than honourable motives. Soon after, prominent newspapers from the United States, such as the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post, as well as well-known magazines from Australia and Germany, began publishing articles on Stokke. CBS made use of the event to bring attention to the issues that might occur when the internet is used to sexualize children and young adults.
Making Peace With Notoriety
Stokke at first attempted to handle all of the requests for interviews and photo shoots by herself, but the load eventually grew so enormous that the family ultimately decided to engage a professional media consultant. She did an interview in which she discussed the secrets to her success as a pole vaulter; however, when it was uploaded to YouTube, the comments were nearly entirely about her appearance. Because he is an attorney, her father researched websites featuring Allison to see whether any of them were in violation of any laws. After all, Allison was only a sophomore in high school at the time. She described all of the attention as being “creepy” and added that it was humiliating regardless of whether or not it was against the law.
Bear of California’s Golden State
Stokke was offered a scholarship to compete in track and field at the University of California, Berkeley. While there, she established a new freshman record in both the indoor and outdoor vault competitions. She would also end up competing in the championships of the Pac-10 later on. She continued to compete at a high level throughout her sophomore year, finishing eighth in the conference in the pole vaulting competition.
The fact that Allison was a top achiever both on the field and in the classroom was incredibly impressive, considering that Cal-Berkeley is one of the public colleges that is known to have one of the most competitive admissions processes. She was selected for the all-academic team for the Pac-10 Conference and won academic awards from the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
By the time Stokke reached her senior year, she had begun to experience a drop in her performance. Although she competed in the NCAA Indoor Championships and placed 8th there as well, she was unable to qualify for the NCAA Outdoor Championships. She finished eighth in the Pac-10 once again, and she also placed eighth in the NCAA Indoor Championships. She had high hopes of competing in the Summer Olympics in London in 2012, but she was unable to clear the opening height of 13 feet 11 inches and a quarter of an inch.
Modelling for Sportswear, Alongside Other Attempts
After completing her education, Stokke continued to compete in events while simultaneously modelling for companies such as Nike, Uniqlo, and Athleta. She worked with GoPro in 2016 to produce a series of pole vaulting videos for YouTube, in which she does the activity while wearing a camera. You can find the movies here. These videos have collectively racked up more than 6 million views as of this moment.
Getting Situated In
Today, Allison enjoys a happy marriage to professional golfer Rickie Fowler, who held the title of number one amateur golfer in the world for a combined total of 36 weeks during the years 2007 and 2008. After turning professional, he was awarded the Rookie of the Year title in 2010, and on the PGA tour, he has climbed as high as fourth place in the world. Because of his achievements on the course, Stokke now enjoys playing golf in her leisure time.