Allison was born in Newport Beach, California on March 22nd, 1989 to parents Allan and Cindy . After trying gymnastics like her older brother David, who happens to be a national level gymnast, she began pole vaulting during her years attending school at Newport Harbor High School and almost immediately became one of the greatest young vaulters in the world at the time.
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At the age of 15 years old in the year 2004, she became the United States champion with a record breaking performance of 3.81 meters (12 ft, 6 in). She also holds multiple high school records from her freshman, sophomore, and senior seasons at Newport Harbor High School.
Despite a broken leg during her high school career, she maintained excellence throughout with two California Interscholastic Federation State Meet championships and high school records. During her freshman season, she had a record breaking vault of 3.86 meters (12 ft, 7 in).
Her sophomore season, she was able to soar past that record breaker with a vault of 4.11 meters (13 ft, 5 in). Her senior season is where her best high school work of her career was seen. As a high school senior, she had her best record breaking vault with a 4.14 meter vault (13 ft, 6 inches). That same year she also saw herself finish 8th at the National Junior Championships.
Soon after graduating high school, she got right back to training and competing. It is during this time period where fame kicked in and controversy began.
In early 2007, while competing at a track and field event in New York, a photographer from a California track and field website photographed her and posted it to their website. Immediately the internet went crazy. Dozens of websites began taking the pictures and posting them to their own entities. Everybody who saw the photos began commenting on how attractive they found her and how she was “barely legal”. She was 17 years old at the time.
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The photographer who originally took the photos threatened legal action if sites did not take the photos and the vulgar comments down however, it was too late and the damage was already done. Although some women may have even found the whole ordeal complimentary, in some ways it is not. When women are at athletic competitions, they are athletes first and foremost and should be discussed and represented as such. The fact that she was only 17 makes the situation all the more problematic.
She chose to use the newfound fame to her advantage by later signing multiple deals with newly interested companies such as GoPro, Nike, Uniqlo, and more. Her GoPro campaign which was uploaded to YouTube has received a whopping total of over six million views.
After high school, she earned an athletic scholarship to attend the University of California, Berkley and become a California Golden Bear. During her first year of completion at UCB, she broke the school record for a freshman with a 4.11 meter vault.
Her sophomore season, she had a vault of 4.21 meters at a competition in Sacramento, California. Her junior year at UCB, she chose to focus on academics and became received Pac-10 all-academic honors.
Her final year at UCB, she did not improve any of her personal bests and soon her college career was over. She tried out for the 2012 London Olympics and even had a lifetime best vault of 4.36 meters. Regardless of all that she faced after high school, she will forever be known as one of the best high school vaulters of all time and a true inspiration to athletes everywhere.