The extensive usage of social media has led to many people becoming famous by chance. Some are talented, while others go viral because of some other reasons. In Allison Stokke’s case, both had a place. She was a 17-year-old high school athlete in California, when her life was turned upside down.
Born in Southern California, she grew up in a caring and sporty family. Her brother was known growing up as a National Youth gymnast. At first, Allison wanted to be a gymnast, too. However, she soon discovered that she was fated to star in another sport.
And so, Allison chose the sport of pole vaulting. She eventually became one of the most prominent pole vaulters in the high school pole vaulting history.
Allison entered Newport Harbor High School. In 2004, while being a freshman, Allison broke the national record for high school freshmen having vaulted 12 feet, 7.75 inches. And when she was a sophomore, she broke a country-wide high school record (13 feet, 5.75-inch effort). Allison was so great at this, that she won the CIF California State Championship.
Obviously, she was a rising star. She started accumulating national fame in her sport. One day, the athlete decided to experiment with a larger pole. Unfortunately, Allison made a mistake in the height that was necessary to clear the bar while launching herself forward.
This resulted in a violent fall on the concrete launch box. She ended up breaking her ankle. Later, there was a surgery that prevented the repeating as a state champion. Alisson went through a six-month recovery process and then got back into the pole vaulting game.
Being a true competitor, Allison came back strong after the serious injury. When she was a senior, she got one more CIF California State title. By the end of the senior season, she had a scholarship to Berkeley University.
And then one photo had a great impact on her life.
Allison had been participating in a competition in New York while still being a high schooler, she was 17 at that time. California Track and Field Website posted photos from the competition, including the one where Allison was getting ready to compete.
She quickly became famous across the country. In the picture you can see here, Allison is simply waiting for her turn holding a pole. So why exactly did this photo go viral?
The photo became well-known when it was re-posted by the blog called With Leather. This sports blog with a largely male fan base mentioned Allison and commented on her appearance. The headline definitely takes the cake in grossness. The headline of the article was ‘Pole Vaulting is Sexy, Barely Legal’. The blog post was written by its owner Matt Ufford. Allison was eighteen at the time of the post, but she was seventeen when the picture was taken. Legal action followed; however, it was too late.
Now Allison became famous all over the world. The picture was shared on all main social media sites and even mainstream newspapers like The New York Times, BBC, Los Angeles Times, Der Spiegel, and lots of others. At the same time, the original owner of the photo decided to explore legal options to defend Allison. Sadly, it was too late, because by that time, the image was everywhere.
Allison did not ask for worldwide attention. She was happy in her role as a high school student and an elite athlete. Soon, the girl was bombarded with interview and photoshoot requests. In an attempt to regain control of the situation, her parents started to take action.
Allison’s parents Allan and Cindy hired a media consultant to deal with the absurd media attention. Also, the media consultant’s task was to help present Allison as an incredible athlete she is instead of just a sex symbol. This didn’t work too well at first – the girl started to get more and more unwanted attention from both journalists and Internet creeps.
Despite these obstacles, she continued a successful career in sports while studying in Berkeley. At one point, Allison even started competing for a spot on the U.S. team in the 2012 London Olympics. However, this didn’t work out, and her athletic career ended.
Allison started to work as a model for a number of sports clothing brands, like Nike, Uniqlo, and Athleta. She had a partnership with GoPro.
In 2017, she started dating a professional golfer Rickie Fowler. Similar to Allison, Rickie was an athlete from a young age. He became a professional when he was 21-year-old.
The power couple married in 2019, and now we all can just wish them life-long happiness! Despite the problems Alisson faced due to the Internet, she became a strong and successful woman, and that makes her a perfect role model for the teens of today.