ESPN Body Issue 2011: Why ESPN's Naked Athletes Blow Away SI's Models in Bikinis

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ESPN Body Issue 2011: Why ESPN's Naked Athletes Blow Away SI's Models in Bikinis

While Sports Illustrated puts out a Swimsuit Edition that gives subscribers a chance to look at models in bikinis, ESPN gives the general public the only opportunity to see their favorite athletes nude.

Let's be real. As appealing as swimsuit models are, most of them aren't directly involved in sports, and as hot as they are, we really aren't seeing anything we haven't seen before.

Such is not the case with ESPN's Body Issue. Athletes spend a lot of time sculpting and working on getting their bodies in top form. ESPN gives us a chance to look at their physiques firsthand.

When describing the Body Issue, it sounds semi-pornographic, a cheesy ploy to get magazines off shelves and boost revenue.

One look at Hope Solo's cover and you realize that isn't the case at all. Hope Solo is one of the hottest women in sports, but rather than doll her up and put her on a beach with rose pedals covering her, ESPN has her booting a soccer ball.

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Solo has looked a lot better on the field than she does on the cover, but it's not about that. It's a celebration of a professional athlete's body.

Male athletes posing nude don't deter male readers from buying, as seeing guys like Steven Jackson strut their stuff can be appealing in a different way than seeing Gretchen Bleiler show off hers.

ESPN is packing the "wow" factor. They aren't showing nudity, but there is certainly a rawness about seeing athletes in this state that has everyone talking.

SI's Swimsuit Edition is still a fan favorite, but it's not unique. Models in bikinis are always appreciated, but ESPN's Body Issue provides an experience you just can't get anywhere else.

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