The 2013 ESPN The Magazine's Body Issue will feature some of the most beautiful and sculpted athletes. And they will all be nude.
One of these athletes will be Gary Player, the 77-year-old former golfer.
Player broke the news on his Twitter feed:
After a lifetime dedicated to health & fitness I’m chuffed to be in @ESPNmag's Body Issue to hopefully inspire others to workout & live well— Gary Player (@garyplayer) June 25, 2013
I was at first hesitant, but @ESPNmag's Body Issue celebrates the human body. No matter what your age, we should all look after ourselves!— Gary Player (@garyplayer) June 25, 2013
I know I'm no Olympic athlete but have worked hard to look after myself. Hopefully @ESPNMag Body Issue will inspire others to do the same.— Gary Player (@garyplayer) June 26, 2013
While some may hesitate to see the 77-year-old nude, the choice is actually an inspired one. With fitness and health becoming more of a focus for many Americans, and with the epidemic of obesity getting larger each year, seeing someone like Player could prove inspiring.
Chad Millman, the Editor-in-Chief of ESPN The Magazine quotes Player as saying:
Player's Twitter feed is filled with nutrition and exercise advice, as well as motivational quotes. His devotion to fitness and a healthy lifestyle should be applauded.
His inclusion in the Body Issue will not only serve as motivation for older Americans who are trying to stay as healthy as possible, but younger ones as well. His exercise routine is incredible, and if even a few adopt it, it will be a success.
Player was a dominant golfer in his prime, as he won nine major championships, six Champions Tour major victories, and three Senior British Open victories. He's in the Golf Hall of Fame.
A large part of his success can be attributed to his intense workout regime. A fit player will always succeed over an out-of-shape player.
Was including Player in the Body Issue the right choice?
Some are undoubtedly dismayed with Player's age. That's why the bold choice works. Many struggle with body image, especially as they get older. Player's image should only help to break some of the stereotypes that often infiltrate the popular media. While Player's body might be more sculpted than others, it will promote a healthy lifestyle, not looking like a stick.
It would be wise if, accompanying the photo spread, a little about his workout routine was published as well.
The reaction, once the issue comes out, should be positive. Not only should Player be applauded for his bravery and gumption, but also ESPN. It's not an easy decision to put a 77-year-old in your annual Body Issue, especially where there are scores of beautiful athletes available.
It shows an emphasis of fitness over beauty, health over "hotness."
One doesn't have to train like an athlete. But the average person should commit to at least some exercise and health program, one that's right for them and their body. If the inclusion of Player can do that, then ESPN deserves a lot of credit.
It could not have been an easy choice. But it was the right one. Player's commitment to health and fitness is remarkable, and it is right to be honored in this way.
Plus, as Jason Sobel of Golfchannel.com notes:
Gary Player will pose nude for ESPN Magazine at age 77. Guaranteed result: The rest of us will all feel very, very badly about ourselves.— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelGC) June 25, 2013
Another guarantee: After seeing Gary Player's photos, many will immediately emulate his 1,000 sit-ups per day. For a day. Then they'll quit.— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelGC) June 25, 2013
Player will join the following athletes in the issue, according to USA Today:
- Kerri Walsh Jennings, Volleyball
- Colin Kaepernick, Football
- Marlen Esparza, Boxing
- Courtney Force, Drag Racing
- Carly Booth, Golf
- John Wall, Basketball
- Matt Harvey, Baseball
- Agnieszka Radwanska, Tennis
- Swin Cash, Basketball
- Joffrey Lupul, Basketball
- Elena Hight, Snowboarding
- Kenneth Faried, Basketball
- Sydney Leroux, Soccer
- John Isner, Tennis
- Vernon Davis, Football
- Miesha Tate, MMA
- Giancarlo Stanton, Baseball
- Tarah Gieger, Motocross
- Chris Sharma, Rock Climbing
- Dalia Ojeda, Rock Climbing