ESPN Body Issue 2013: Lesser-Known Athletes Who Made Statement in Photo Shoot

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ESPN Body Issue 2013: Lesser-Known Athletes Who Made Statement in Photo Shoot
Photo courtesy of ESPN.com

You'll hear all about Colin Kaepernick, John Wall and Gary Player, but there are a handful of athletes featured in the 2013 ESPN The Magazine's Body Issue who you may not know as much about. 

While it takes a lot of guts to bare it all in front of flashing cameras for any person, pro athlete or not, these athletes get the nod for putting themselves on the map by going out on a limb in the always entertaining annual magazine publication.

Let's take a look at those who fit the description of lesser-known athletes in this year's ESPN The Magazine's Body Issue. 

 

Courtney Force

Photo courtesy of ESPN.com

Drag racing isn't the first sport that you'd associate with tip-top physical conditioning, but Courtney Force proved that wrong in this year's issue.

Force comes from racing royalty. Her father, John Force, was a 15-time NHRA Funny Car national champion and had three daughters who he instilled with his passion for drag racing.

The Forces have since become the faces of the sport. Courtney's older sister, Ashley, is already on top of the drag racing world, but Courtney is just on her heels and at 25 years old, she's rising up the ranks quickly.

ESPN's Andy Hall graced us with this video recapping Force's photo shoot:

Coming from a sport like drag racing to being featured in such a high-profile shoot like this has to have its fair share of pressure, and it's nothing short of admirable that Force took part in it. It's no secret that drag racers aren't afraid to go out on a limb, and that's been proven to be true yet again in The Body Issue

 

Tarah Gieger

Photo courtesy of ESPN.com

Another female motor sport pro, Tarah Gieger did what we all dreamed of doing as a kid as she rode her dirt bike with nothing but boots on. 

If there's one thing we know about Gieger, it's that she's not afraid of taking chances and going for a big splash. That's been true throughout her X Games career, where she's a three-time Summer X Games medalist in super motocross. It's also true in this photo shoot.

Gieger showed us what years of flying through the air on dirt bikes can do to your body, and the results may cause a chain reaction in women picking up motocross to get fit. Obviously that wouldn't happen, but Gieger's physique makes it worth thinking about.

While physical specimens in sports like football and basketball get much of the credit, don't discount the shape it takes to be in to win X Games medals and drag race. That's what Gieger and Force proved in The Body Issue. 

 

Joffrey Lupul

Photo via ESPN.com

For the two female racing champs, baring it all in The Body Issue couldn't have been nearly as tough of a decision as it was for Toronto Maple Leafs' Joffrey Lupul.

I mean, can you imagine the type of trash talk in NHL scrums next season when the newest professional hockey male model is the center of attention? In a grown man's game, it's inevitable that it will take years for Lupul to live this one down with his teammates and opponents.

In all seriousness, Lupul gave us an insight into the work that it takes physically to be a top-flight player in the NHL. An underrated sport in terms of physical shape, hockey requires the human body to be pushed to its limits. 

Lupul echoed that in an interview with ESPN.com.

Being a hockey player, I want to experience as many things as possible, and posing naked in a magazine is certainly not something I ever thought I'd do. I think professional athletes have natural abilities and there are things our bodies can do that other people's can't. But we also put in a lot of work -- on and off the ice -- and that's what the issue is about: Seeing how people look without their gear on.

The Maple Leafs' alternate captain is on the heels of a postseason run with his squad and they seem capable of making another run next season.

A lot of their success as a franchise begins with the 29-year-old, and he's certainly taken care of his fair share of the publicity part. 

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