The special edition is now in its 5th year and previous athletes to have bared all in the magazine include soccer player Hope Solo, snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler, tennis player Daniela Hantuchova, athlete Natasha Hastings as well as the entire US women’s water polo team. Undoubtedly the most famous athlete to pose naked for the Body Issue is tennis player Serena Williams who appeared in the first issue back in 2009.
The ESPN publication has always been seen as a direct rival to the famous Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition and was believed to have been first introduced to increase advertising revenue in the main ESPN magazine.
This year’s edition of The Body Issue will feature photos of NHRA funny car driver Courtney Force, snowboarder Elena Hight and Women’s Ultimate Fighting Contender’s Miesha Tate.
Also featured are a range of male athletes including New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey, Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried as well as the well-known fitness fanatic veteran golfer Gary Player who becomes the oldest Body Issue athlete yet at the age of 77-years old.
For UFC’s Miesha Tate there is no doubt what has motivated her to strip off for the Body Issue. “One of the of the biggest common misperceptions about women’s mixed martial arts is that we’re not feminine,” she says. “So for me it’s important to show that women in this sport are comfortable about their bodies, that we’re pretty and carry ourselves as women — and we can also turn it up a notch in the cage.”
The full edition of ESPN’s The Body Issue is available from tomorrow (10 July).