When you’re an athlete, your biggest hope is to be recognized for your accomplishments on the field. However, sometimes you receive negative messages as a result of your poor attitude or lack of effort in the classroom. On the other hand, there are times when you receive unwanted attention as a result of circumstances beyond your control. This is the story of Alison Stoke, who in 2007 at the age of 17 experienced what many female athletes have to endure. Let’s look back at a photo that changed Stoke’s life — and not for the better — and what she’s up to today.
Sports run in the family
It was natural for the Newport Beach, California native to thrive on the sport. After all, his brother David was a gymnast who competed at the national level in his youth. Alison tried gymnastics but realized it wasn’t her thing. However, he discovered potential as a pole vaulter.
Among the best
A quick learner, Stokke won the US national title in 2004 in the 15/16 age division with a record vault of 12 feet 6 inches. He set American high school records in both his freshman and sophomore years. . Despite her broken leg, the CIF didn’t stop her twice at the California State Meet. As a senior, he earned the second-best pole vaulter ranking in the nation and placed 8th at the National Junior Championships.
One photo changed everything
In 2007, a California journalist photographed Stokes while competing in a track and field event in New York. A few months later, the popular male-oriented sports blog With Leather (now known as Aprox) uploaded the photo with the caption “Pole vaulting is sexy, not legal.” The journalist threatened to sue the website for using his photo without permission, but by then it was too late. Alison’s photo went viral. Pandora’s box has been unleashed.
Very soon, someone started a website that worshiped Alison Stoke, featuring photos of her at various competitions. It created thousands of followers, many of whom did not have the best intentions. Soon, major US newspapers, etc Los Angeles Times And The Washington Post, and even popular Australian and German publications ran stories on Stoke. CBS used the occasion to highlight the problems that can arise when the Internet is used to sexually exploit minors.
Coping with fame
Stokke initially tried to handle all the requests for interviews and photo shoots himself, but the family eventually hired a professional media consultant. He gave an interview about how he succeeds as a pole vaulter, but when it was posted on YouTube it was almost exclusively comments about his appearance. Her father, a lawyer, looked at websites featuring Alison to determine if any of them were breaking the law. After all, Alison was still in high school. He personally found all the attention “creepy” and said that while it wasn’t illegal, it was disrespectful.
California Golden Bear
Stokke accepted a track scholarship to the University of California-Berkeley, where she broke new school records for both indoor and outdoor vault. He will also compete in the Pac-10 Championships. As a sophomore, she continued to perform at a high level, placing 8th in the conference in the pole vault.
Cal-Berkeley is one of the most difficult public universities to get accepted into, so it was very impressive that Allison was a high achiever on the field and in the classroom. He made the Pac-10 All-Academic Team and received academic accolades from the US Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
During his senior year, Stokke saw a decline in his performance. He finished 8th again in the Pac-10, and participated in the NCAA Indoor Championships (where he also finished 8th), though he failed to qualify for the NCAA Outdoor. He aspired to compete in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, but failed to clear the opening height of 13 feet 11 ¼ inches.
Sportswear modeling and other ventures
After graduating, Stokke continued to compete and model for Nike, Uniqlo and Athleta. In 2016, he teamed up with GoPro to produce a series of YouTube videos in which he pole vaults while wearing a camera. To date, these videos have received over 6 million views.
Allison is happily married today to professional golfer Rickie Fowler, who was the Amateur Golfer of the Year for 36 weeks in 2007 and 2008. After going pro, he won Rookie of the Year in 2010 and was ranked No. 4 in the world. On the PGA Tour. Thanks to his success on the links, Stokke now plays golf in his spare time.