If you're anything like me, you've probably perused your share of "hot athlete" lists over the last decade. And if you have, surely you've noticed that the same photos have been appearing over and over again, without fail. It's annoying and, more importantly, it's deceptive.
Seriously, some of these photos are over 10 years old! Which means they are in no way demonstrative of present hotness. Would you ever meet someone for coffee after seeing only a picture of them from the late 90's--assuming that you actually knew beforehand that the photo was a decade old--which is almost never the case.
Obviously that was a rhetorical question, because I know you wouldn't if given a choice.
These photos have brought everyone a lot of joy, but as fantastic as they are, it's time to retire most of them. But that doesn't mean we have to throw away the baby with the bathwater--the photos are old, but most of the athletes are still relatively young.
Let's take a look at 15 of the most overused photos, and determine who's still got it!
In 2004, LPGA player Natalie Gulbis posed for FHM. Gulbis was 21-years-old at the time and the photos earned her endless publicity and today she's still considered one of the hottest women in professional golf.
Gulbis' FHM photo shoot came in 2004, and her career peaked in 2005--not saying there is a direct correlation or anything…but there probably is.
Could She Pull it off Today: It's time to retire the photos from 2004, but Gulbis isn't even 30 yet and she could most definitely rock another men's mag photo shoot.
Olympic swimmer Dara Torres posed for Maxim in 2000 at age 32. Her body is obviously smokin', but it's hard to imagine a time when a bleached blonde bob and a sheer shirt was considered a good look for anyone.
Today Torres is 44-years-old and still in remarkable shape. In early 2011, she qualified for the 2012 Olympic Swim Trials and is working towards the goal of competing in her sixth Olympics.
Could She Pull it off Today: No, the ship has sailed. Torres's photos for Maxim are old enough now that the style she's rocking is literally from another decade; so let's just leave it there. Not that Torres would care--she's an athlete, not a sex symbol, and her athletic achievements are both historic and timeless.
In 2004, American soccer start Heather Mitts was voted ESPN.com's "Sexiest Athlete of 2004," which was right around the time she posed for FHM.
Mitts was the first soccer player ever to appear in FHM for a reason--girl looks good. Today Mitts is married to NFL backup quarterback A.J. Feeley and is still playing for the U.S. women's national team.
Could She Pull it off Today: In two words: Hell yeah. Mitts is only 33-years-old and that fly photo (see left) was taken in late 2011; obviously shorty's still got it.
In 2001, snowboarder Tara Dakides ditched her snowboard and boots and donned a bikini for a Maxim feature on the women of extreme sports.
In 2004, Dakides, then 30-years-old, was voted one of the "Top 100 Sexiest Women in the World" by FHM magazine--but hasn't done much modeling since.
Could She Pull it off Today: She probably could. Dakides may be 36, but her active, yet laid back, lifestyle has been very good to her. She's still got a killer body and could pass for 10 years younger than her actual age.
In 2004, volleyball player Logan Tom was one of a number of American Olympians who appeared in an FHM feature on female Olympic athletes.
After appearing in the FHM feature in 2004, Tom was ranked No. 91 on the FHM list of the "100 Sexiest women of 2005."
Could She Pull it off Today: Why not? Tom is only 30-years-old today and in fantastic shape; she is currently playing volleyball professionally overseas. She'll likely be competing at the 2012 Olympics in London, which means this is the perfect time for an encore appearance.
Ain't nothing wrong with creating a little buzz.
Joining Logan Tom in 2004, high jumper Amy Acuff was one of a number of American Olympians who appeared in an FHM feature on female Olympic athletes.
In addition to FHM, Acuff has appeared in a number of other publications such as Esquire and Maxim, and she was the cover girl for Playboy's "The Women of The Olympics" issue in 2004.
Could She Pull it off Today: In 2010, 36-year-old Acuff and her husband, pole vaulter Tye Harvey, announced the birth of their first child. Acuff has said her career as an athlete and model are probably behind her at this point, and plans to focus on motherhood.
Unfortunately, that means she's probably well passed the "taking it off for Maxim" stage of life...although in 10 years, she might reach the "proving you still got it" stage of life.
Olympic swimmer Amanda Beard is a seven-time medalist who hasn't been shy about taking it all off--and the evidence is all over the Internet. Beard first turned heads in 2004, when she landed the cover of the FHM Olympic athlete issue.
After landing the FHM cover, Beard was featured in the 2006 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition and she took it all off for Playboy in 2007. Beard even landed a spot in a GoDaddy commercial and has stripped down for the animal charity PETA.
Could She Pull it off Today: Physically, she probably could--Beard is currently training for the 2012 Olympics in London. She's still got the bod, but today the 30-year-old is a married mother of one who is embracing her role as a "mom blogger."
I have no idea what that is...but it sounds like the least sexy thing ever.
In 2005, Kristi Leskinen won silver at the FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships and bronze at the X Games. That was the same year she posed for this steamy pictorial in FHM--after which the magazine ranked her No. 90 on their list of the "100 Sexiest Women."
Today Leskinen, now 30, no longer competes professionally, but she still travels and loves to ski. Thanks to her modeling success, the Pennsylvania native is still a well known face in the sport and often makes personal appearances to sign autographs.
Leskinen maintains her personal blog and has been featured guest blogger for a number of publications. She also hosts an annual homecoming event at Seven Springs ski resort near her hometown of Uniontown, PA.
Could She Pull it off Today: Yes, definitely. Judging by the amount of attention her first pictorial received, I suspect the world has been waiting with baited breath for a follow up to her 2004 feature.
Women's basketball player Lauren Jackson is an an international superstar in her sport and one of the best players in WNBA history. If women's basketball isn't your thing, you probably know Jackson best from her appearance in the 2005 edition of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.
Jackson has actually posed in a lot less than a bikini. In 2004, she posed nude in an Olympic athlete feature for the Australian magazine Black + White. The artistic photo spread was no big deal in Australia, but created a little controversy in the naked-adverse U.S.
Could She Pull it off Today: Like many of the athletes on this list, Jackson is still relatively young at age 30. Girl is still playing basketball professionally and is obviously in great shape. Oh, and judging by those "controversial" photos, she's definitely got enough confidence to pull off sexy photos for the next decade.
In 2004, hurdler Jenny Adams was an Olympic hopeful who appeared in the FHM women of the Olympics issue. She never made it beyond the trials for the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, but today she's still often featured on lists of hot athletes.
Her appearance in FHM in 2004 seems to the beginning and the end of her modeling career, and the 2008 Olympic trials was the last time she competed.
Could She Pull it off Today: Probably not. Adams, now 33, has fallen off the radar in the last four years and has probably settled comfortably into the real world, and probably into family life.
Former Olympic swimmer Haley Cope appeared in the 2004 FHM feature on the women of the Olympics. Back then Cope was known as a trash-talking bad girl who once said, "I can be very scary to people who don't know me."
In addition to her appearance in FHM, Cope also posed nude for the September 2004 issue of Playboy. However, since then Cope has given up her bad girl ways in favor of family life--she married her former swim coach, Brian Clark, in 2002.
Could She Pull it off Today: The bad girl attitude never quite dies, but today Cope is a married mother of three, living the quiet life in Chico, California. She owns a swimming school with her husband, where she is an instructor. Perhaps she could still pull it off, but there's probably not much of a chance she'll entertain the idea.
Two-time Olympic softball medalist Jenny Finch appeared in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition in 2005.
Thanks to her Barbie blonde good looks, Finch was coveted by other magazines such as Maxim and Playboy. She was presented with a number lucrative offers to take it all off, but Finch turned them all down.
Could She Pull it off Today: Finch announced her retirement in 2010. Today she's married to baseball player Casey Daigle and the couple have two sons. But she hasn't exactly let herself go, this photo (see left) was taken in November, 2011.
Finch might not be posing in a bikini ever again, but obviously it's because she doesn't want to, not because she can't.
In 2008, Ashley Harkleroad became the first professional tennis player to pose for Playboy. At the time she said that Olympic swimmer Amanda Beard's 2007 pictorial in the magazine was partly an inspiration for her own, but Harkleroad's own pictorial was more revealing.
Harkleroad's tennis career started off promising, but health problems and then a pregnancy set her back in 2008. In 2010, she attempted a comeback, but with limited practice before her first tournament, she was soundly defeated and her comeback was quickly shelved.
Could She Pull it off Today: Unlikely. Today Harkleroad is living in California with her husband Chuck Adams, a former ATP pro, and their son. She seems to have given up tennis, and the spotlight, for good.
In 2004, Olympic beach volleyball legend Misty May, appeared in Maxim. May looked great donning a bikini and lingerie, both of which were slightly more modest than the beauty volleyball bikini we're used to seeing her in.
With her modeling days seemingly behind her, May-Teanor, now 34, is gearing up for the 2012 Olympic games in London--in what will be her third appearance with partner Kerri Walsh.
Could She Pull it off Today: Today she and husband Matt Treanor, an MLB player, live in Los Angeles and are planning to start a family. Which means you better enjoy that booty in London, because it might be the last you see of it.
Olympic swimmer Natalie Coughlin is almost always ranked amongst the most beautiful women in sports. In 2008, she was featured in Maxim magazine.
Since her appearance in Maxim, Coughlin has appeared in a number of other magazines such as the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, Women's Health and Fitness. She also appeared in Season 9 of ABC's Dancing with the Stars
Could She Pull it off Today: Absolutely. Today Coughlin, now 29, is training for the 2012 Olympics in London and, as you can see, she's looking as fine as ever.
Dang girl...what's your secret?