The Olympics loom just under a month away, and ESPN The Magazine has done its part to support the U.S.'s cause by featuring some of the top Olympians the nation has to offer in this year's Body Issue.
The issue, which has featured athletes such as Alicia Sacramone, Hope Solo and even Zdeno Chara in the past, aims to celebrate the athletic form by having 20-plus athletes strip down and bare all for the world to see. It's pretty much the only time it's acceptable for celebrity athletes to take off their clothes in public without getting suspended, so that is a cause for celebration.
This year's issue hits newsstands this week, giving you plenty of time to get acquainted with some of the 2012 Olympians before the games begin in London. Here are some to look out for.
Sailing may not be the kind of Olympic event that draws massive crowds and abundant media attention, but what Tunnicliffe does out on the water is impressive nonetheless. In 2008 in Beijing, she brought home the gold for the U.S. in the individual laser radial class, and this year she'll be a contender in the women's Elliott 6m match racing after snagging the final spot on the Olympic team in early May.
Tunnicliffe's non-Olympic accolades are equally impressive. The decorated sailor has twice been named the World Sailor of the Year, and she's been named the US Sailing Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year four times.
Now, she can add ESPN The Magazine model to her list of honors.
Women's Olympic Volleyball Team
ESPN couldn't choose just one volleyball Olympian—it had to include all seven in its Body Issue, and for good reason. The squad is ranked first in the world and decimated the competition during the 2011 calendar year, but alas, it has never won a gold medal. Until this summer's games, that is.
The decision to participate in the nude photoshoot wasn't unanimous among all the ladies, though. Some of the team members expressed concern that it would get them the wrong kind of attention. Olympian Destinee Hooker told People Magazine:
My fiancé wanted to be at the shoot because he thought other men...were going to be there. He doesn't like the thought of others seeing me nude, but it's an opportunity of a lifetime.
The 2008 volleyball team won the silver, and five members of that Olympic team will return for the 2012 Games. Hopefully that experience will pay off in the form of some gold hardware.
Already, Eaton is one of the most recognizable faces among this issue's crop of Olympians because many track and field fans remember him for what he did during the first weekend of the Olympic Trials.
The University of Oregon product broke the world record when he ran the 1,500-meter decathlon in 4 minutes, 14.48 seconds. He finished the event with 9,039 points, shattering Roman Sebrle's 2011 mark by 13 points.
Certainly not a bad way to earn a chance to compete at the Olympics.
Eaton was pretty satisfied with his strategy during the trials in Oregon, and afterward, he told ESPN.com that he planned on using the same one to bring home the gold from the 2012 Games: "Going into London, I'm not going to change a thing. Clearly."
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