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Viral Pole Vaulting Sensation Allison Stokke, Where Is She Now?

Shannon Jackson

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A few years back, an amateur pole vaulting star named Allison Stokke would take the internet by storm. Thrust into the public spotlight, Stokke seemingly became an online superstar overnight. While it has been years since she has been in the public spotlight, you’ll still find her face among the most famous pole vaulting athletes on the planet. Today, we are going to turn back the clock in order to learn about Stokke during her fame as well as where she has been ever since!

Meet a Viral Sensation

While pole-vaulting has been a sport for a long, long time, it didn’t gain mainstream popularity until recently. When Allison Stokke’s amateur pictures went viral on the internet, there was a sudden and renewed interest in the competition. Still, despite her fame, Stokke was just an amateur at the time. Did she continue pursuing a career in the sport even after her wild fame? Or did Stokke decide that ‘enough was enough’ before hanging up her cleats forever?

California Dreaming

Allison Stokke was born Marc 22, 1989, in California. As a child, Stokke was raised by her parents, Cindy and Allan Stokke, alongside her brother, David. Stokke was raised in California and even a cursory search through her social media platforms will reveal a life filled to the brim with outdoor activities and fun in the sun. It was pretty clear that Stokke was a beach girl right from the beginning!

Making a Living

Despite being famous for her work as an athlete, Stokke wasn’t making ends meet with her skills. As an amateur athlete, Stokke wasn’t being paid like a professional, nor was she making money for being a viral star. Instead, Stokke complemented her world record talents with work as a part-time model. While Stokke would rather be remembered for her accomplishments, she knew that she could pay the bills with her incredible good looks.

Sports in the Family

While Stokke is, without a doubt, the most famous athlete in the family, she wasn’t the only competitor in the home! Allison’s brother, David, was a national level gymnast. If you don’t know much about gymnastics, just understand that it is incredibly difficult to be ranked as a national competitor! From a young age, Allison was pushed toward gymnastics, but she found that she didn’t enjoy the competition.

Finding Her Calling

Despite burning out on gymnastics, Stokke knew that she wanted to compete in some fashion. So, instead, Stokke decided to pursue a different sport. Stokke began competing in the field of pole vaulting after testing the sport in school. Stokke quickly realized that she had a natural talent for pole vaulting. Starting at the age of 15, Stokke would begin a successful career in the niche sport.

Setting Records in School

When Stokke first started competing in pole vaulting, she found herself to be an instant star. At just 15-years-old, Stokke would end up winning the United States title for pole vaulting! Stokke would jump an incredible 12.5 feet, wowing the crowd along the way. As one of the most successful young pole vaulters in the nation, her star was already preparing to burst.

Building a Successful Career

Stokke wasn’t content to just be a great high school athlete, she wanted to have Olympic success. In order to get to that level, Stokke knew that she would have to apply herself. She would break her own record in 2004 when she jumped 12 feet and 8 inches. A year later, Stokke would jump 13 feet and 5.75 inches! Stokke was clearly working toward becoming the best in the sport.

Becoming a Viral Sensation

By the time that senior year of high school had come around, Allison was feeling the impact of her efforts. Not only did she have to balance a full load of classes, but she also had to deal with national and international recognition. While Stokke wasn’t famous for her viral photograph yet, she was already famous within the pole vaulting world. Viral fame wouldn’t be too far behind, however.

The Famous Photograph

Stokke was already one of the best athletes in her field, but that wouldn’t be the reason that she went viral in 2007. Instead, one well-timed photograph would place Stokke on the trending page of every website on the internet. At least, that’s what Stokke’s early fame had felt like. Thanks to her incredible good looks, this photo of Stokke would begin spreading around the web.

Creating a Fanbase

At the time, Stokke was just waiting for her turn to compete when a random person took her photograph. The photo was quickly published on the online blog, ‘With Leather’. The blog focused on showing pictures of young women for men to ogle. At the time, Stokke was only 17-years-old. While Stokke had wanted to find fame for her work, this wasn’t exactly what she had in mind.

An Internet Crush

Still, the photograph didn’t stay on the single niche website. Instead, Stokke’s photo would spread to every corner of the web, from sites like Facebook to communities like Reddit. While she definitely had a male fanbase, she also served as an inspiration for young girls. Stokke inspired young athletes to embrace their talents in order to go far in their field.

Embracing Her Fame

As Stokke began to find herself more and more on the internet, she quickly came to realize that she had cultivated some kind of following. There were fan clubs, fan websites, and even potential endorsement deals waiting for her. Stokke was only a kid at the time, so this must have been crazy for her to see. While we might all want a little bit of fame at some point, Stokke had gotten hers by surprise.

Retaining Her Agency

Stokke’s viral fame led to some serious problems for the young star. Stokke soon found that her private photographs were leaking onto various male-oriented websites. She was soon labeled the ‘internet crush’ of 2007. Stokke soon found herself caught up in a whirlwind of problems. While she might enjoy being heralded for her work, Stokke definitely didn’t love being ogled by strangers all over the world.

The First Interview

In order to reclaim some semblance of her own personal identity, Stokke knew that she had to do something dramatic. Websites and newspapers of every level were using her name, photograph, and fame. The Washington Post and the New York Times had even covered her story! To say that things were spiraling out of control would be an understatement. So, Stokke knew that she had to sit down for an interview with CBS.

Help From Father

Stokke used her interview in order to give tips to female athletes about how to succeed in pole vaulting. The interview would go on YouTube and Stokke would have the chance to be known for something more than her looks. Unfortunately, the vast majority of comments were regarding her beauty instead of her talent. It was at this point that she asked for help from her dad, a lawyer.

Trials and Tribulations

Allison and her father would work together in order to keep illegal and inappropriate comments out of her professional feeds. Stokke would also keep an eye out for stalkers. Alan and Allison both knew the real dangers of being a young, famous, and attractive woman. While it may sound crazy, stalkers are a real problem for people like Allison.

Help From CBS

Despite how the fame was getting to her, the interview with CBS would go on to help. CBS would use her interview as a way to warn future viral sensations of the danger that internet fame could bring. CBS used the segment to highlight how easy it was for young and vulnerable women to be taken advantage of online, without their consent.

Dealing With Stalkers

As a result of her viral fame, Stokke was suddenly afraid to compete at her pole vaulting contests. Stokke would become overwhelmed by crowds of people who had all wanted a picture, signature, or conversation. While Stokke wasn’t enamored by the crowds, she was worried that someone might do something more dramatic — and dangerous.

Skills or Looks?

While Allison had her personal problems with fame, she was far more perturbed by the fact that she was being overlooked for her skills. Rather than being famous for her incredible athletic skills, Stokke was famous for her beauty. As a hard-working athlete, Stokke hated the fact that she wasn’t even being propped up for her work on the track.

Finding New Fame

Stokke knew that she could still use her fame for good. So, she began to work with various athletic brands in order to endorse their products. Before long, Stokke was supplementing her fame with actual income and she was making her athletic efforts more apparent along the way. Things weren’t all bad for Stokke.

Full Scholarship to California

Even with the problems that fame had inflicted upon Stokke, she had her college career ahead of her. Making the move from high-school to college would mean regaining some of her anonymity. Fortunately for Stokke, she would land a full scholarship to the University of California. Stokke would continue her pole vaulting career as a Golden Bear.

Focused on Olympics

By the time Allison graduated from college, she had earned a Masters Degree in Sociology while setting several world records in track and field. Despite all of her success at the collegiate level, Allison knew that she still had a long way to go. Allison had dreams of making it to the Olympics as a competitor and she wasn’t ready to stop trying now.

Always Setting Records

With her sights set on the London Olympics, Stokke knew that she had to bring her A-Game. As a result, Stokke would double-down on her training regiment while focusing on setting records. If Stokke was going to make the Olympics, she was going to do it her way. By the time that 2012 had rolled around, Stokke had improved her personal best jump to 14 feet and 3.5 inches.

Coming Up Short

Despite her hard work and tangible results, Stokke would come up just short. Stokke would not qualify during the Olympic qualifiers. Instead, Stokke would come up short, missing out on clearing the 14 feet hurdle. In the blink of an eye, Stokke’s dream of Olympic gold would shatter in front of her.

Major Athletic Endorsements

By the time that 2015 rolled around, Stokke was fully immersed in her new job as a professional model. While she had not given up on her training, Stokke knew that she should strike while the iron was hot. Stokke would quickly score several huge athletic endorsements from major sports brands like Nike and GoPro.

Working With GoPro

Stokke would become a viral sensation yet again, but this time by her own decision. Stokke would partner with GoPro as a brand ambassador. She would use the GoPro attachment on her pole as she did her pole vaulting routine. The video would go viral and Stokke would be back int he public spotlight.

Deal With Uniqlo

With fame firmly in hand, Stokke had an idea as to where she wanted to go with her career. For the first time since going viral as a teenager, Stokke had her hand on the steering wheel. In 2016, Stokke would sign a contract with Uniqlo in order to model their new line of athletic clothing.

Meet Rickie Fowler

It was around 2016 that Allison would make her way into the tabloids. Stokke was attached to a new boyfriend and the internet would go wild with speculation. Here’s your chance to meet Rickie Fowler, at least in a digital format. Rickie Fowler and Allison were attached in several publications, though it would be a while before they confirmed their relationship.

High-Profile Romance

Rickie Fowler is a professional golfer who has been one of the top athletes in the sport for years. As a young and famous athlete, Fowler and Stokke had plenty in common! Fowler is also an Olympic athlete as he had qualified for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Rickie is routinely ranked in the Top 10 when he competes in major competitions.

Fame Returns in a Big Way

Fowler would make the American Golf Team and this super-team would win the Ryder Cup together. On the green, Fowler would be the only member of his team without a romantic partner present. As the other couples embraced, Fowler shrugged and smiled at the camera — thus going viral for himself. Don’t worry Rickie, you won’t be alone for much longer!

Making it Official

Rickie and Allison would go public with their relationship, though not by choice. Jason Day, a teammate of Rickie Fowler, would reveal that Rickie had found a new girlfriend. Day revealed this information during a media scrum where Fowler’s absence had been noted. Day said that Fowler had been up to ‘boyfriend-y commitments.’

Not Just a Fling

While it would be totally normal for young, attractive, famous athletes like Fowler and Stokke to have a fling, this wasn’t the case. Instead, it immediately became clear that Rickie and Allison were really in it for the long haul. After their romance became public, they embraced the fame and decided to share their love in public.

Rickie’s Biggest Fan

Before long, Allison was becoming a regular during Rickie’s competitions. She would show up on the course in order to walk with Rickie during his games. Allison and Rickie clearly were not hiding their romance any longer. In fact, Allison had quickly become Rickie’s biggest cheerleader! Allison and Rickie have quickly won the hearts of golf fans all over the world.

JERSEY CITY, NJ – SEPTEMBER 28: USA golfer Rickie Fowler with his girlfriend Allison Stokke walk the 15th hole together during the first round of the Presidents Cup on September 28, 2017, at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, NJ. (Photo by Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Dealing with Coach

At the beginning of their relationship, Fowler’s coach had some harsh words for his student. Rickie’s coach had argued that Allison would be a distraction and that if Rickie didn’t approach the relationship right, his career could suffer. Rather than accepting the ultimatum, Rickie simply ignored his coach. We definitely think that Fowler made the right choice, don’t you?

Becoming a Golfer

While Stokke continued to train as a pole vaulter, she clearly was ready to try out other sports. Fowler and Stokke began to share images of Stokke learning to swing on Instagram. Was this one of their favorite date night festivities? It surely seemed like it! we wonder if Allison would have been an incredible golfer, had she focused on that instead of pole vaulting.

Standing Proud and Tall

Despite struggling with the fallout of fame as a child, Stokke managed to make it through the process relatively unscathed. Stokke saw her life change dramatically as a kid. Instead of letting it overwhelm her, she doubled-down on her skills and focused on becoming the best pole vaulting athlete possible.

Never Giving Up

Even though she came up short during her initial qualifying attempts for the Olympics, Stokke has not yet given up. Stokke continues to train with the intention of making it to the Olympics. Stokke doesn’t believe in quitting, and that is a lesson that just about anyone should take to heart!

Looking Ahead

Allison currently trains out of Phoenix with a new coach, considered to be one of the best Olympic coaches in the world. Stokke also maintains several high-profile social media accounts. Stokke has found a comfort level with her fame that some viral stars never get to feel. Fortunately for Stokke, she is made out of some tough stuff!

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Nurses Unite to Bail Out Father In Trouble

Renee Yates

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A near tragedy in an Illinois town was almost compounded by a police overreaction, but the quick thinking of a group of nurses saved the day and made everything turn out alright.

The story began in Centreville, a small town in the St. Louis metropolitan area.  On the evening of April 7, 2019, a one-year-old girl named Demani began to choke on a penny. She had put a penny inside her mouth, as children are wont to do, but accidentally swallowed it. The penny became lodged in her throat.  Her father, Darius Hinkle, and her mother, Donecia Pittman, who were with her at the time of the incident, were terrified for their daughter’s safety.  They put her in the car, and began to drive to the hospital. Naturally the mother comforted the choking child while the father drove.  Time was of the essence, so they drove very quickly.

Unfortunately, a police officer saw them driving towards the hospital. Unaware of their destination or the situation, the police officer went into pursuit of the speeding vehicle. Obviously the father did not stop to waste time explaining the situation, but  instead proceeded with all possible haste towards the medical center.  Before they had gone many miles the speeding car was being followed buy a long line of police cars with sirens flashing.  The father disregarded them and continued to the hospital, sometimes at speeds exceeding a hundred miles an hour.  The police kept pursuit.

Very little time passed until they reached their destination, Touchette Regional Hospital. The distressed parents tried to make contact with medical personnel and to inform them of their child’s dire predicament, but witnesses to the incident say that the police were almost entirely unconcerned with the well-being of the baby. Instead, the police forced the distressed parents to the ground, treating them with harshness and severity as they disregarded the choking infant. The father was arrested and taken away. The mother went in to see to her child.

The obstruction was removed from the child’s trachea without the necessity of surgical intervention. Once Demani was out of danger, Ms. Pittman went to bond out her partner. When she arrived she encountered the biggest surprise in an evening filled with surprises.   When Ms. Pittman stepped forward to speak to the desk clerk about paying the bail for Mr. Rucker, she was informed that the person immediately before her had already paid for it. That person was a nurse from the Touchette Regional. The nurses had seen the entire incident, including the man’s overwhelming concern for his daughter and the police officers’ complete indifference to the circumstances. They were moved to action by what they had witnessed.  The nurses took up a collection among themselves and volunteered to pay the man’s bond.

Although Mr. Rucker still faces criminal charges for this incident, and he will still have to appear in court and plead his case, the touching faith that the nurses showed in him has gathered national attention. The story has become an example of how human beings can support each other in the face of injustice. Contributions have been made to the man’s legal defense and to reimburse the nurses for their time and trouble. One can only hope that the police have read this story as well and found in it an example for better behavior.

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Friendship Is Worth More Than Anything Else

Kevin Wells

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Most people consider themselves lucky when they are able to find one good friend. In the case of one homeless Brazilian man, his cup of fortune overflows as he has four loyal companions all willing to stand by his side through thick and thin. When Caesar a homeless gentleman found himself in need of emergency services to help manage a pre-existing condition at 3 a.m. on a Sunday, he was accompanied by four of his most faithful companions.

We Will Stand By You

For whatever reason Caesar did not go to the hospital that normally sees him for his pre-existing condition. Caesar chose to seek help at Regional Alte Valo Hospital in Rio do Sul, Brasil. While Caesar was receiving the medical attention he needed something magical what’s happening outside of the doors at the hospital. Caesar’s four companions were capturing the hearts of the people in the waiting room as well as members of the hospital staff. Caesar’s buddies were teaching everyone who witnessed their display of love and affection a very valuable lesson. The lesson they taught was, friends can come in all shapes, sizes, colors and even species. Loyalty knows no bounds and the four dogs who sat outside the doors of the hospital patiently awaiting the return of their beloved companion Caesar, was truly a heartwarming experience for all those who witnessed their display of love.

I Will Do Anything For You

In a world where it seems like it’s everyone for him or herself, it was hard for visitors and staff at the hospital to believe this homeless man and these four dogs could have such a strong bond with each other. Even more amazing was the fact that all four dogs appeared healthy and in good condition. The dogs had shiny coats, no evidence of injuries and appeared happy, friendly, well adjusted and well trained. It was more than obvious that Caesar spent a lot of time with his furry companions teaching them how to behave and how not to be aggressive. It was all clear that Caesar made sure his dogs were well-fed even if that meant skipping meals himself so that they could eat. The love, selflessness, and kindness Caesar shows his dogs it’s not only admirable but an overwhelming display of human kindness.

Motivated Into Action

As Hospital staff continued to observe the close bond and dedication Caesar’s four companions had to making sure he was being taken care of and was going to be okay, they were motivated into action. The hospital workers allowed all four of Caesar’s companions to come in and visit him so that they could check on him themselves. All who witnessed the reunion between Caesar and his dogs were treated to yet another act of selflessness and kindness.Hospital workers brought Ceasar a sandwich during the dog’s visit. Instead of eating the sandwich himself, Caesar without a second thought make sure he gave each of the dogs a portion of his sandwich so they could have something to eat. Hospital staff could hardly believe what they were seeing, as clearly Caesar needed that sandwich to help get his strength back, yet he chose to share it with his dogs. Caesar and his dogs are living proof that love and friendship is worth more than all of the riches the World has to offer.

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The Most Amazing Cat Pictures

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Best Buddies

It is a common belief that cats do not get along with dogs and other creatures. Contrary to popular opinion, however, cats really can get along with anyone- even their so-called natural born enemies! These pictures are all about spreading the love. Maybe humans can learn a little something from this display of unconditional love? Maybe we can really can all learn to get along.

Both furry and cuddly, these two pals are going to burrow in the rug together and keep each other warm. Cold weather is always better with a pal.

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North Carolina Teen Bitten by Shark, Unassailed

Kevin Wells

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Paige Winter, 17, was swimming at Atlantic Beach in North Carolina with her sister when she was pulled under in waist-high water. It quickly became clear that it was a shark attack. 

Paige initially gave in, perhaps initially not realizing that it was a shark. She’d thought it was a turtle. When she realized what was happening, she fought back hard. It is that tenacity and courage that has continued to aid her in her survival and recovery. She just would not give up. 

Paige’s Rescue 

Witnesses reported screaming and panic. Paige’s father, Charlie, is a paramedic, so he immediately jumped to her rescue. He dove underwater and punched at the shark until he was able to wrestle her free from the shark and carry her to the beach. A bystander offered a belt, which her father used as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding on the beach. 

Paige was quickly transported via medical helicopter to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, where her leg was amputated. She underwent additional surgeries for his leg, pelvis, and hand.  

No parent ever would dream of seeing their child being dragged underwater by a shark, but her father’s quick actions saved Paige’s life. Then, bystanders and emergency medical personnel were a part of the rescue, as well as doctors and surgeons who worked to save Paige’s life.  

Next Steps

What lies ahead for Paige is recovery and rehabilitation as she learns to walk again with a prosthetic limb. She must also re-learn how to function with more limited functionality in her hands. 

Paige’s resilience is clear, though, despite the severe injuries she sustained, and the body altering surgeries. She remains positive and in good spirits. Her family says that she was groggy but already telling jokes when she first woke up after the shark attack in the hospital. Her continued road to recovery won’t be easy, but her will to live and overcome the odds has already gotten her this far. 

Doctors and also her father mentioned the serendipitous collision of chance encounters and dumb luck that both brought her to the beach that day but also saved her life. When so much could have gone horribly, impossibly wrong, enough separate events went right that she will someday walk again.

Paige survived. It’s not all the “pieces of the puzzle.” Some are missing, as she told Washington Post, but “it’s okay.” She still advocates for marine life and doesn’t blame the shark for biting her and shaking her like that. Her message is about education, learning more about sharks and understanding.

Spunky as ever, Paige told the medic, “Don’t be mad. Sharks are good people.” That positive attitude and that willingness to forgive even in the face of a savage attack is part of what has made her story a viral sensation across media spheres. 

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Homeless Texas Man Returns to College 40 Years Later

Shannon Jackson

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David Carter, 68, was homeless until the efforts of a Univerity of Texas student turned his life upside down.

Carter frequented the UT campus as a panhandler until a Junior-level Journalism student, Ryan Chandler, decided to interview him as part of an assignment on homelessness for the Daily Texan. What Chandler learned was shocking and timely. Not only was Carter a student in the College of Fine Arts back in 1971, but he’d dropped out of school when an alcohol-related accident put a swift end to his dreams of becoming an artist and writer. 

In the interview, Carter detailed how the subsequent years had been a roller coaster ride with mental illness, substance abuse, and homelessness all playing a part. He’d hitchhiked cross-country, and then he’d returned to Austin to care for his parents.  

David Carter’s Return to College

Perhaps the most poignant part of the story was the part where Carter admitted that he’d been hanging around campus as a panhandler for the last six years in the hopes that he might someday return to the campus as a student to finish his degree in the College of Fine Arts. His story is part of an American-Dream-gone-wrong. He stands as a very real representation of so many Americans who have fallen on bad luck, triggered perhaps by a series of circumstances beyond his control. He had just one semester left before graduating with his degree when he dropped out of school. 

The story went viral, and it really took on a life of its own. Then Chandler helped Carter navigate the complexities of reapplying for entrance into UT, and an anonymous donor helped out too. So Carter is returning to college to complete his degree, and this may just be the beginning of what could literally be a whole new chapter for him. He plans to research and write, which would seem to offer his own perspective on what it is to be homeless. He puts a unique face to the issues of homelessness and mental illness, with the intervening influences and tie-ins with substance abuse, family struggles and beyond. 

The Rest of the Story

Now, since more than 40 years have intervened since Carter dropped out of school, his one-semester requirement until completion has expanded to at least four semesters at UT. The first tentative forays into college classes, U.S. History and Black Political Thought, are already underway this month. Summer session is just the first step toward immersion in a course load, as he works to realize the dream he’s had for so many years. 

The College of Fine Arts at UT announced that they would help Carter in any way that they could. Carter’s persistent pursuit of higher education has been admired, applauded and supported by former Longhorns and community members. The story does inspire and it stands as a real-life reminder that it’s never too late to go back to school and finish a degree, even when decades have intervened. 

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