About two years ago, 18 year old pole vaulter Allison Stokke found herself the unwitting toast of much of the sports blogosphere, with a number of heavy-breathing characters — With Leather’s Matt Ufford most infamously — pawing her photographs with the sort of enthusiasm rarely shown towards high school track & field competitors. An article by the Washington Post’s Eli Salow portrayed Stokke’s father, Newport, CA Lionel-Hutz-in-the-making Allan as “keeping an watchful eye” over the predatory tone of much of the blog commentary concerning his daughter.
“It just all feels really demeaning, said Ms. Stokke at the time, after which Ufford appeard on Fox News and compared the teenager to Maria Sharapova. Y’know, he was really doing her a favor with all that terrific exposure.
Fast foward to today, and Spike TV has announced Stokke and table tennis player Biba Golic are the finalists in their “Guys Choice” Sexiest Athlete Awards (“one can work a pole, the other will paddle your ass; either way, losing has never been so sweet.”) Deadspin‘s A.J. Daulerio, presumably loathe to call the University Of California Athletic Department, contacted a Spike PR flack and claims “Allison does know about this. She’s okay with it. And? If she wins…she will show up to the event to claim her prize.”
Daulerio isn’t the only one willing to accept the word of a Spike employee as gospel. With Leather‘s Punte declares, “Allison Stokke has finally given into the dark side…look who’s finally comfortable with her status as a sex object.”
This seems like very flimsy evidence for either blogger to insist Stokke has done anything other than learn Spike TV has used her competition photographs for something besides a discussion of pole vaulting technique. Of course, If she’s consented to such treatment, that’s her right as an adult. But it’s very hard to fathom just what the likes of Deadspin and With Leather find so weird about women making up their own minds about where, when or if they wanna be ogled.