THE PHOTO THAT CHANGED A LIFE
I am going to contextualize the story, since the matter in question does not require any frills. I will not even make a value judgment about what happened, each one drawing their own conclusions. Allison Stokke was a young American pole vaulter who, at just 15 years old, broke several records for her country. In her freshman year in high school, she managed to jump 3.86 meters and a year later she climbed to 4.11, setting the best record for a 16-year-old American athlete in that discipline. In 2005 he suffered a setback, and during a competition in New York, he injured and broke his tibia and right ankle. Not without effort, he recovers his best version and surpasses his personal best by three centimeters. Her performance had attracted the attention of all levels of athletics in the United States and her projection suggested that she would soon become a world-class Olympic athlete. It was 2007 when he returned to New York to compete again, he was just 17 years old. At that event, when he was preparing for one of his jumps, a journalist took an innocent photograph that was later sent to Matt Ufford, a guy who had a blog called 'with leather' in which he hung thousands of photos of sportswomen. The comment that the subject in question wrote was: “pole vaulting is sexy, hardly legal”; referencing Allison's age.
It was not the time of Facebook or Twitter or any social network, despite this, in a short time the photograph went viral, and Ufford's phrase and the subsequent comments that blog readers wrote ended up turning that innocent photograph into a matter sexual in nature. Faced with such repercussions, the photographer asked the blogger to withdraw the photograph, since that was not the purpose for which he had taken it. Faced with Ufford's refusal, the matter ended up in the hands of lawyers. No one spoke of Allison Stokke as an athlete and sexist comments were the majority. Supporters of the athlete created a specific place on the internet to talk about her sporting achievements, but others quickly emerged in which the only motivation was sexual. The main newspapers in the United States echoed the story, the CBS network warned of the dangers of sexist use of the Internet and Allison and her family were completely overwhelmed by the dimension of the matter. The athlete was secluded for a time and ended up hiring a media consultant who advised her to record a video about her sports specialty. That solution was as wasteful as any other would have been and the reaction ended up turning the same. Allison later declared: "none of this was illegal but I felt degraded as a human being." His life as an athlete had ceased to matter and only his image as a sexual icon was relevant. During his university days he returned to focus on the pole vault and, with a mark of 4.37, he came to harbor hopes of qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics, but when the qualifying tests arrived he was not even able to overcome the 4.25 that It was the minimum height with which the contest was opened. His career was gradually diluted, he continued competing with the firm intention of recovering his best version, but he never succeeded. And so the story of a photo that completely changed a life is told.