What Became of Viral Sensation Allison Stokke

23. Record-Setting

After that first record, there seemed no height Stokke couldn’t ascend. She broke her own record in 2004, clearing 12-foot 8-inches first, then 13 feet 5.75 inches in 2005. Nobody her age in the United States had achieved such heights, but Stokke wasn’t done smashing records. Now competing nationally, in her senior year of high school, Stokke cleared a 13-foot 6.75-inch record.

22. The Photo

When, at age 17, a journalist snapped the photo of Stokke waiting her turn in a competition, it was like any other meet. The photo, republished on a site known at the time as “With Leather,” (UPROXX) contained color commentary about Stokke: “Hubba hubba and other grunting sounds.” The UPROXX journalist conceded by the end of the piece that Stokke was a competent athlete, but the message was clear: her looks were what mattered most. The seemingly innocent compliments espoused by that site, combined with the landslide of attention accumulated from the worldwide internets would lead to massive trauma for the young woman [read: aging child].

21. What Came Next

Once the internets had the image of Stokke, someone managed to collect a number of other pics with her in them, pole vaulting and otherwise. Someone set up a site, dedicated to Stokke. Images and link to the site circulated on social media platforms focused on the wrong aspects of who Stokke was. Nobody cared that she was an accomplished athlete. She became every creepo’s internet crush of the moment. The only problem was, Stokke didn’t want to be anyone’s sex symbol.

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