For most sports lovers today, Allison Stokke is simply known as professional golfer Rickie Fowler’s wife.
But for those who followed sports news in the late 2000s, Allison Stokke’s name must trigger a thrilling journey down memory lane.
The name “Allison Stokke” stirred quite a sensation in both local and international news.
The spotlight centered on how physical appearance rather than sporting achievements catapulted the then 17-year-old high schooler to international fame overnight.
So, who is Rickie Fowler’s wife, Allison Stokke?
Well, let’s take a trip down memory lane as we unearth the details surrounding Allison Stokke’s rise to fame thanks to a single picture, a catchy and suggestive headline, and a predominantly male audience with a keen interest in attractive female athletes.
How Did Allison Stokke Rise to Fame?
Before early 2007, Allison Stokke was your average American athletic high school girl with big dreams of reaching the peak of her profession and becoming an established name in sports, somewhat akin to the level of US gymnast Simeon Biles.
In fact, Stokke, who is from a family with deep roots in sports, first embraced gymnastics before settling for pole vaulting, which she excelled in.
In her mid-teens, she claimed the United States gymnastics title for 15/16-year-olds and also went on to set several pole vault records.
In a bid to expand her influence and further develop her abilities, Stokke took the initiative not to limit her prowess to high school tournaments and thus left the comfort of her home in Newport Beach, California, to compete in New York.
Her trip to New York, while not her first, couldn’t have made the words of renowned British bestselling author Lindsey Kelk any truer.
In the words of the esteemed author, “People . . . come to New York to become someone new.”
Allison Stokke’s trip to New York completely transformed her life into an internationally recognized sports star with extensive media coverage.
Interestingly, though, Stokke achieved this widespread fame without achieving an incredible feat in pole vaulting.
On the contrary, all the buzz surrounding her came down to her stunning looks.
Her transformation into a globally recognized sports star began with a stunning photo capturing her enchanting looks placed on a Californian track and field website.
Now, that’s not odd, of course.
But then, after With Leather, a sports blog with a predominantly male fan base, re-posted Stokke’s photo with the headline1 “Pole Vaulting is Sexy, Barely Legal,” chaos ensued.
The article garnered enough traction that by the time the photographer who took the picture threatened to sue Matt Ufford, who wrote the article for With Leather, it was too late for damage control.
Soon fans set up a tribute website containing pictures of Allison Stokke pole vaulting.
These photos spread like wildfire on social media and throughout the Internet.
In a matter of weeks, Allison Stokke had gone from being a regular high school athlete to becoming a sensational internet phenomenon, with fans all over the country itching to know more about her.
This inspired national dailies such as the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, and the Washington Post to write opinion pieces on the internet craze over the beauty of the high school sports star.
The extent of Stokke’s fame was so vast that it crossed the Atlantic and inspired the editors of the quasi-autonomous British corporation, the BBC, to write an opinion piece on the athlete’s fast-growing fame and influence.
The trend of opinion pieces was soon picked up by other notable dailies across the globe, such as German Der Spiegel and the Sydney Morning Herald of Australia.
After the rumpus her picture caused on social media, Stokke became recognized by many people for both positive and negative reasons.
While many still viewed her as a sexual object, some saw her as a terrific pole vaulter, and others simply saw her as a model.
Though the entire situation was embarrassing, to say the least, Stokke was undaunted and continued pole vaulting.
Allison Stokke’s Education History
Allison Stokke had her high school education at Newport Harbor High School.
Her high school years largely defined her career because that was when she discovered her potential as a skilled pole vaulter.
In fact, Stokke’s prowess as a pole vaulter in high school earned her an athletic scholarship to the University of California, Berkeley, where she studied sociology.
Pole Vaulting Career
Let’s now look at the timeline of Stokke’s pole vaulting career, starting where it all began—high school.
Stokke’s High School Career
Born into a family of sports lovers, Allison Stokke was bound to become a fan of one.
At first, she ventured into gymnastics like her brother but did not thrive in it.
Later on, Stokke found her calling in pole vaulting, where she performed exceptionally.
Her interest in pole vaulting flourished when she entered high school and joined the pole vaulting team.
It was glaring that she had potential, and luckily, she was in the right place.
Newport Harbor High School offered Stokke the opportunity to nurture her athletic skills, and that, she did.
Thanks to happenstance, she rose to fame and leveraged her newfound fame to further her pole vaulting career.
Stokke began making waves in pole vaulting back in 2004 when she was a high school freshman.
She won the US Championship and broke the school record under the category of age 15/16 by scaling 3.86 meters (12 feet and 8 inches).2
This was only the beginning of her career, as she did even better as a sophomore by scaling a height of 4.11 meters (13 feet and 5.75 inches).
Sadly, after that jump, she broke her ankle in practice and had to take a break from competitions for six months.
However, Stokke did not allow that to discourage her, as she returned stronger in her senior year.
She broke her record once again and hit a height of 4.14 meters (13 feet and 7 inches).
She also emerged eighth in the National Junior Championships and became the California State Champion.
Stokke’s College Career
Allison Stokke was clearly an exceptional pole vaulter in high school, and her steady success was recognized by many people and other athletes.
This helped her earn an athletic scholarship to the University of California, where she joined the school’s team, the California Golden Bears.
Rather than revel in her past success and embrace complacency, she knew she could do even better and pushed herself harder.
As a college sophomore, Stokke broke her previous record with a scale of 4.21 meters (13 feet and 9.75 inches).
She also competed in two NCAA championships, and she performed excellently.
Stokke’s Professional Career
Every athlete’s dream is to compete in the Olympics.
For athletes, winning in the Olympics is as much of a big deal as being the first person to land on the moon, and Allison Stoke was not an exception.
Stokke dreamed of being an Olympian; she trained a lot and was determined to participate in the Olympics.
While training in 2012, she achieved her highest record of 4.36 meters (14 feet and 3.625 inches).
Unfortunately, her dream of winning the Olympics was dashed even before she had a chance.
When she participated in the United States Olympic trials, she couldn’t scale the 4.25 meters (13 feet and 11.323 inches) needed to qualify.
Though she continued to compete at the national level, there was a decline in her performance.
A few years later, Stokke quit pole vaulting professionally and sought another career path.
She partnered with GoPro, an American technology company that manufactures cameras.
Her partnership required her to record videos of herself training, many of which were posted on YouTube.
She used GoPro cameras to give fans a sneak peek into what it’s like to be a pole vaulter.
Stokke’s deal with GoPro was a breeze because she could showcase her pole vaulting skills and show off the camera quality at the same time.
The deal was also considered a huge success, as Stokke garnered over ten million views.
Her videos showed her pole vaulting technique from different angles, and her followers were impressed with her skills.
The camera was attached to the vaulting heights so the viewers could get a close-up view of the athlete and how she maneuvers comfortably.
She hoped her vlogs would encourage young people to follow their dreams.
Stokke’s Modeling Career
Even years after the viral photo episode, Allison Stokke still got requests from brands who wanted to partner with her.
In 2015, she surprised everyone when she finally accepted the offers from various brands that wanted her to model for them.
That’s right. She decided to have a career change and become a sportswear model.
Many people wondered how Stokke would cope since she used to be so bothered about how people had been sexualizing her.
Despite the sentiments, Stokke excelled as a model.
She partnered and modeled for many sportswear brands like Nike, Athletica Athleisure, and Uniqlo.
The spring-summer collection of Nike in 2015 featured her. She also appeared in ad campaigns.
Today, Allison Stokke has greatly inspired many people as a model and fitness influencer.
Stokke’s Personal Life
Allison Stokke spent most of her early life as a pole vaulter, though she currently works as a model and fitness influencer.
She prefers to stay under the radar, probably because of the photo drama she battled with as a teen and young woman.
In 2017, she began dating professional golfer Rickie Fowler two years after they met at a party.
They fell in love with each other and got engaged in November 2018.3
The couple got married in October 2019 and welcomed their first child, Maya Fowler, two years later.4
Thanks to her husband, Allison now has an interest in golf.
He taught her how to play the sport, and she is often spotted attending his games.
Allison Stokke is a proud lover of nature and a big traveler.
She loves traveling a lot, and though she sometimes travels alone, she is often seen with her husband.
Rather than stay in big cities with many people, she prefers places closer to nature.
It’s no surprise, then, that she mostly loves mountains and waterfalls.
Stokke also likes the winter, as she gets to do some of her favorite things in the season, like skiing and snowboarding.
The former pole vaulter is also a big fan of movies. Depending on her mood, she watches romantic comedies or good action movies.
Due to her career as a model, Stokke is active on social media.
Though she didn’t like the popularity she got on the internet, she has learned to like and make good use of it.
Allison Stokke Fowler’s dramatic rise to fame is a story of resilience and determination.
While she might not have achieved fame how she would have wanted, she still leveraged her fame to succeed both as an athlete and as an influencer.
Today, when we think of Stokke, we don’t see a woman whose success is based on her looks, as some might.
On the contrary, all we see is a woman who saw her challenges as a stepping stone rather than a stumbling block and has made the most of them today.
Featured image: Allison Stokke Fowler/Instagram