ESPN The Magazine's Body Issue: Ranking the Nearly Nude Photos

Adam HirshfieldFeatured ColumnistOctober 6, 2010

ESPN The Magazine's Body Issue: Ranking the Nearly Nude Photos

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    ESPN: The Magazine dropped its annual "Body Issue" on readers and Web surfers alike this week.

    Beautiful baller Diana Taurasi graces one of its covers looking hotter (and wearing less clothing) than ever.

    But by the look of some of the images, several of The Mag's subjects are less than "fit" to appear in public au naturel.

    Follow along—won't you?—as we run through the largely vomit-inspiring images from most to least puke-inducing.

19. Steven Holcomb, Bobsled

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    OK, I'm all for equal treatment of athletes from different so-called "fringe" sports. But there's no need for the 30-year-old four-man bobsledder to show himself off to nature—not to mention the rest of the world—in the buff.

    There's a reason John Daly doesn't wear revealing outfits, m'kay?

    Dude's a world-class athlete, but this shot ranks highest on my personal barf scale.

18. Evan Lysacek, Figure Skating

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    OK, OK, the dude's obviously in great shape. You can't take that away from him.

    But really, Mr. Former Dancing With the Stars? Black and white? Dramatically and stylistically posing? Covering your business with your hand?

    This is just a little disturbing. I'm getting queasy.

17. Amar'e Stoudemire, Basketball

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    Hey Amar'e, it's cool that you embraced your Jewish heritage this summer. But you didn't need to prove it to us by nearly showing the results of your bris.

    This looks more like the kind of photo that should be leaked onto the Internet by an angry ex-girlfriend.

    Kind of gives new meaning to the term "air balls," doesn't it?

16. Team Santos, MMA

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    Some tats are cool. Some are overkill.

    In this case, I think it takes away from the bodies, which defeats the purpose of the issue.

    And I'm scared of dragons.

    This ranks higher than you'd think on the nausea-meter.

15. Camilo Villegas, Golf

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    Is anyone else uncomfortable?

14. Esther Vergeer, Wheelchair Tennis

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    I've seen the dramatic features on her: confined to a wheelchair, 396 straight wins.

    And she has a beautiful body. No complaints there.

    But doesn't it feel just a little wrong to be ogling a woman in a wheelchair?

    Really, ESPN? Isn't this photo where "The Body Issue" jumps the proverbial shark?

13. Tim Howard, Soccer

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    Sure, the U.S. national team goalkeeper in this summer's World Cup is in great shape. Sure, he's still a big-time contributor for Everton in the EPL.

    But there are two things I learned growing up playing sports:

    1. Don't eat yellow snow.
    2. Don't dive to make a save without pants on.

    All I can say is that it's a good thing goalies are allowed to use their hands.

12. Philippa 'Phil' Raschker, Track and Field

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    It's a little more than I'd care to see of a 63-year-old track and field masters athlete, but she doesn't look half bad. The great setting makes for a cool photo, too.

11. Kelly Slater, Surfing

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    Now 38, the pro surfer still looks pretty good. Cool photo, too.

    This captures ESPN's goal pretty well: Great athletes showing off their bodies. And it's not nearly as offensive as some of the others.

10. Kim Glass, Volleyball

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    The 26-year-old outside hitter for the U.S. volleyball team "sets" a solid standard for the rest of the photos. She's clearly not afraid to show off the junk she appears to be transporting in her trunk, so more power to her.

    Cool pose, nice photo, solid bod.

9. Jeff Farrell, Swimming

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    The 73-year-old former Olympian looks great for his age.

    But if I can see a similar image if I take my grandfather to the gym, do I need to see this while I'm poking around the Internet? No, sir.

8. U.S. Women's Water Polo Team

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    Sure, they're the reigning FINA World Cup champs. And some of them look pretty good.

    But some just look uncomfortable covering up their naughty bits underwater.

7. Herschel Walker, MMA

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    The former college football and NFL great looks pretty darned good for a 48-year-old dude. Now into MMA, it's obvious that he's continuing to take care of himself.

6. Rachel Yurkovich, Javelin

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    "She's got the body of a goddess," says Yurkovich's coach Christina Sherwin.

    To paraphrase John Travolta in Pulp Fiction, I don't know if it's the body of a goddess, but it's pretty f&$%*#@ good.

5. U.S. Women's Water Polo Team

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    From top to bottom and left to right, we see some revealing shots of Lolo Silver, Erika Figge, Anne Belden, Kelly Rulon, Betsey Armstrong, Emily Feher, Forel Davies, Lauren Wenger, Elsie Windes, Heather Petri, Tanya Gandi and Courtney Mathewson.

    Some good, some less good. More good feelings than bad, though.

4. Julia Mancuso, Alpine Skiing

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    This doesn't appear to be the most comfortable—or flattering—pose for the 26-year-old Olympic gold medalist.

    But she's super hot, even if she is sporting tan lines.

3. Patrick Willis, Football

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    I'm a dude, but even I can say that the 25-year-old 49ers linebacker looks bad-assed in this shot.

    From his guns to his tats, I can safely say I wouldn't mind looking like that. It's almost inspirational. That's a sign of a great photo.

2. Jeanette Lee, Pool

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    The pool shark known as "the Black Widow" looks amazingly good for 39. This is a cool photo, too, with the black veil over her eyes.

    Nude pool: Coming to the Olympics in 2016. (Hopefully.)

1. Diana Taurasi, Basketball

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    A world championship gold and an ESPN The Magazine cover in the same week? Not bad for the 28-year-old star.

    And as a longtime fan of Diana's, I can safely say I never knew she had a tattoo on her hip. I'm sure there's a joke to be made about tit for tat, but I'll leave that alone.