Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Alison the Pole Vaulter Controversy: Personal Reaction II

BUT! sadly, dear reader, you've been set up if you think I'm going to agree with an Alison obsession being at all admirable. Sure, she’s cute at first glance, but notice the key words in my sentence above. If I WERE her age and WERE in high school, which I'm not. No Random Sports Crush for Alison coming from me.

Some athletes exude confidence and style beyond their years. Alison is not one of them. She looks just like what she is, a high school girl, who looks younger than 18. And unlike Kournikova, Sharapova, etc., she hasn't been marketed in any way or shown any willingness to gain the limelight. (Please, you can't count the YouTube video. That's someone interviewing her, not her filming herself. Not even close! Same with Myspace pictures; you do know, guys, that women do not post their Myspace pictures solely for your sensual pleasure, correct?). That's the big difference for me here.

Men, there are millions of attractive 20-something women who'd love to have 1/100 of the attention being currently wasted on Alison. Pick one and make her day instead of ruining some teenager's senior year. Believe it or not, not every woman in the world wants your sex! I know this is earth-shattering that not every woman out there dreams of taking off her clothes for men’s magazines and being ogled by 40-somethings at the mall. It appears that Alison is yet another one of those odd women who doesn’t yet dream of the day that she can rush down to the local Walgreen’s and pick up 50 copies of the laddie magazine she’s in so that grandpa and grandma have enough copies for their friends at the nursing homes. Perhaps she will do that sort of thing one day. But that day has obviously not yet come, and that should be respected.

And as to proof that Alison doesn't want your attention, some relevant quotes from the Washington Post article:

“A had tired of constant phone calls, of relentless Internet attention, of interview requests from Boston to Brazil.”

"I just want to find some way to get this all under control," A told her coach.”
“She is recognized -- and stared at -- in coffee shops. She locks her doors and tries not to leave the house alone. Her father, Allan, comes home from his job as a lawyer and searches the Internet. He reads message boards and tries to pick out potential stalkers.”

"We're keeping a watchful eye," Allan said. "We have to be smart and deal with it the best we can. It's not something that you can just make go away."

“A read on message boards that dozens of anonymous strangers had turned her picture into the background image on their computers. She felt violated. It was like becoming the victim of a crime, A said.”

“Back on the ground, her vault accomplished, A smiled and took in the scene around her. In the stands and on the field, she was surrounded by cameras. And for a second A wondered: What, exactly, had they captured? And where, exactly, would it go?”


  1. This story is, unfortunately, one of the side effects of the internet that doesn't necessarily improve our daily lives. I don't wish what is happening to Alison Stokke on anyone. She should be celebrated for being a good athlete, not primarily because of her looks or the way a commenter can turn a phrase regarding said looks and athletic skill.

    I just hope that her parents and mentors can keep her level-headed and on the right track. This kind of attention is unwarranted; she certainly did not ask for this kind of fame. Certainly, if she were this talented a generation ago, we may have never heard of her until an Olympics or Olymipic trials.

    That said, great set of posts on the subject, MCBias.

  2. "Men, there are millions of attractive 20-something women who'd love to have 1/100 of the attention being currently wasted on Alison."

    Great post, MC Bias. Reading the Deadspin commenters yesterday was painful - they all think that they are entitled to ogle a high school senior because she's on Myspace?!? Because she's a high school athlete trying to get a scholarship somewhere?!? Leave the girl alone.

    And even worse, some of those pictures of her that have been posted on the internets are not recent ones, meaning they are likely from a year or more ago, which borders on downright low moral ground. I don't care how attractive the girl is, you should not have photos of 15 or 16 year girl on your website just for guys to ogle at....

  3. I think as long as she doesn't pull a Jenn Sterger (and lord knows the FSU alum in me loves Jenn) and in any way flaunt her sexuality, Alison will disappear from the spotlight in due time. Her folks have to play it like the parents of a Miss Teen pageant contestant, however unexpected it was. Just lay low, do your thing, and eventually the pediphiles will find someone else to oogle. Sad but true.

  4. tws392000, good words, as always.

    SML, good point on the age deal. Not all those photos are 18+.

    Jordi, I think she'll be fine as long as she and her family now get quiet. Look, it's an evil world out there; perhaps they are trying to use this to make her famous ala Sterger. But until I get firm evidence on that, I'm sticking to the simplest information.

    Meanwhile, what's with this continued desire to punish the family somehow? So the photographer here ( is sending out the pics as some sort of revenge? What?! that is messed up junk. Anyway, I don't want to milk this controversy, so that's it for now.