Looking back is easy. Hindsight can easily tell us who some of the best athletes were, but figuring out who they are going to be is the tough part. Just look at ESPN's NEXT issues. For every one they get right, they get two horribly wrong.
That same kind of difficulty applies in figuring out who the hot athletes will be. There are so many, but it's almost impossible to figure out just who will blow up and who will be a name only hardcore fans know.
That's why I'm here. This list is composed of names you may not know now, but you will in 2010 and names that you may know already but are poised for breakout years, which will make them even bigger.
Here are The 15 Sexiest Athletes To Watch In 2010.
One of the biggest events in 2010 will be the Winter Olympics, which should mean big years for the athletes that look just as good bundled up as they do stripped down.
One of those women is Kate Uhlaender. She is a champion skeleton racer for the US. For those of you who don't know, skeleton racing looks like this.
This is one woman for whom it's perfectly okay to lay down on the job.
A gold medalist in 2008 and currently ranked No. 5 in the world, Elena Dementieva is perfectly poised for a breakout year.
If she can step up and knock Serena off her throne, I suspect that we'll be hearing plenty more from this Russian beauty.
Paula Creamer has been around for just four short years in the LPGA, but she already finished this year in the Top 10 on the money list.
As cute and spunky as she is talented, Creamer has got the looks for commercial appeal and actually has the game to back it up.
Anna Rawson just finished her first full year on the LPGA Tour and she has already become one of the most recognizable women on tour. Not because of her game, which is decent but nothing special yet, but because of her looks.
Rawson is also a sexy Aussie model the rest of her time, and while she doesn't even have a Top 10 finish under her belt, one good showing from her and her legs and Rawson can own the golf world.
Viktoria Azarenka is the ultimate wildcard. Everything I've seen from her when she's playing tennis can be summed up in one semi-word: "meh." She doesn't seem all that hot.
Then I see this picture of her in some magazine and I have to spend two days picking up my jaw from off the floor. If she can put a little more of this action into 2010, then I may have a new favorite athlete. But it remains to be seen.
Oh, Natalie Gulbis, you tease.
Gulbis has been around for a while, cementing her status as the hottest golfer on the planet, but she has yet to back it up even a little on the course. Just one career win and loads of disappointment.
However, Gulbis refuses to go away. She spent a good chunk of 2009 on Celebrity Apprentice and also made an appearance on The Price Is Right. She wants to be famous, and we want her to be famous, so this has to work somehow.
On the other hand, there's Michelle Wie, who many people legitimately do not want to be famous.
However, she's already a much bigger name than Gulbis, is fully on the LPGA now, and even won a tournament this past year. If we can fulfill even a little bit of her potential, we may see a Tiger-like takeover of the sport, or, at the very least, she'll become the face of the tour, for better or worse.
A couple sexy photoshoots wouldn't hurt her chances either. Come on Michelle, you're grown up now, let's see you market yourself a little bit.
The second-coming of Maria Sharapova. Trust me.
No. 22 in the world and rising, she may not have Sharapova's game, but she's definitely got her looks and Russian heritage going for her.
Vesnina just needs to step up the sex appeal on the court and I guarantee you'll all know who she is by the end of 2010.
Gretchen Bleiler has been on our radar for a while, but with the Winter Olympics coming up, she has a legitimate shot to become the face of the games.
A can't miss personality, world-class competitor, and she looks awesome in a bikini to boot. Bleiler should be all over the news this year, and we'll all be a little better off for it.
You know, I left out Danica from my list of Hottest Athletes of 2009 because I'm not a huge fan of hers. She can look good one minute and extremely awkward the next.
However, it seems like 2010 may be her year if she really does make the leap to NASCAR as has been reported. She'll still do Indy cars, but if she takes on NASCAR, which has replaced hockey as one of the Big Four sports now, 2010 just may end up being The Year Of Danica.
Remember how I talked about Gretchen Bleiler becoming the face of the Winter Olympics? This is the face she's going to have to beat out. Belbin is a true beauty who keeps getting hotter and hotter.
Even though she's an ice dancer, a sport that I wouldn't be caught dead actually watching, Belbin is so fine that I might actually change my rules for that sort of thing. If she medals, this could be a very big year for the Canadian hottie.
Just 19 years old, Caroline captured the hearts of America during her incredible run at the 2009 US Open where she was the runner up seemingly out of nowhere.
Now ranked No. 4 in the World, Wozniacki is so cute and likable that she is an advertiser's dream. If she keeps improving, and it looks like she will, a No. 1 ranking and stardom is right around the corner.
You know what, I'll just come out and say it. Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh, while terrific athletes, are not that hot.
For years we've had them shoved down our throats as sex symbols, and I just can't take it anymore. So with the help of Busted Coverage, I would like to nominate Jessica Gysin as the new volleyball sex symbol of 2010.
This year she began her takeover of the AVP, and I'm hoping that with a few more shots of her in the sand, people will jump on board the Gysin Train.
This sexy alpine skier could very well take over the 2010 Winter Olympics. She's not as universally well known as Belbin or Bleiler, but she's just as good at what she does, and she is ridiculously cute.
If she performs in the games like everyone assumes she will, her success and looks may vault her into superstar status, at least for this coming year.
Seriously, Allison Stokke needs to cash in on her internet fame. The few and far between pictures we have of her are nice, but we're going to need more for 2010. I'm talking magazine articles, some sexy photo-spreads, or at the very least some more information on who she is.
Now going into her junior year at Cal, Stokke remains one of the most sought after female athletes on the planet, so here's hoping that she'll let herself be found this next year.