The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue doesn’t exactly contain the type of sports-related content we’re used to seeing from the publication, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for athletes within its pages.
This year’s edition features four female athletes from three sports. Dutch field hockey stars Eva de Goede and Ellen Hoog, surfer Alana Blanchard and hurdler Michelle Jenneke represent their respective sports within the pages of the magazine, which hit shelves on February 12.
We may not all be familiar with field hockey or professional surfing, but we’ve all certainly been exposed to Jenneke at some point.
The Australian hurdler went viral last year after the video of her warm-up routine at the IAAF World Junior Championships hit the Internet. For those who don’t remember it, here it is:
It’s easy to see why Sports Illustrated wanted to include the 19-year-old hurdler in this year’s swimsuit edition. Apart from finding immense Internet fame in the last year—and having the looks to match the attention—she’s also one of the most bubbly athletes on the planet, as you can see from her unique warm-up dance. For more proof, here’s an interview she did during her photo shoot:
While some people may find the SI Swimsuit Issue to be less than tasteful with its representation of women, there’s something to be said for the positive attitude of some of the female athletes that choose to represent themselves between its covers.
Sports are meant to be empowering for both male and female athletes. That Jenneke and the other three women who represented themselves this year did so in spite of the negative opinions some have of the practice only proves how empowered female athletes are.
It certainly doesn’t hurt that they all look to be having fun doing what they do, either.
Jenneke was the perfect choice to pose in the SI Swimsuit Issue. She’s a good athlete, a positive role model and—perhaps as important for the magazine as anything else—she’s also enjoying being in the spotlight. It would be hard to find an athlete better suited for the part.