25 Athletes Who Should Have Been Models

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistNovember 4, 2011

25 Athletes Who Should Have Been Models

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    Sports and beauty—they go together like peanut butter and honey.

    And photographers and media outlets are well aware of that fact. From Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Edition and ESPN the Magazine's Body Issue to the many female athletes who have made modeling a lucrative endeavor—I'm looking at you, Anna Kournikova—sports have never shied away from the notion that sex sells.

    But what about the athletes who haven't done much modeling? Who do we wish would step in front of the camera after they've stepped off the field?

    On this list of 25 athletes who should have been models, we'll answer that very question. It's like having your peanut butter and your honeys.

    And that, my friends, is a beautiful thing.

25. Alona Bondarenko

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    Despite the fact that the photo I couldn't resist using doesn't display all facets of Bondarenko's beauty, she is a lovely woman who should supplement any earnings she makes from her tennis career with a modeling career.

    Utilize your assets, I always say.

24. Elena Vesnina

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    Another tennis player we don't see enough of off of the court, Vesnina has earned a cool $718,980 this year.

    And she's only ranked No. 57 in the WTA!

    So while she may not need the money, we need to see more of her. Think of it as a way to start a rainy-day fund, Elena.

23. Leanne Pelosi

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    Professional snowboarder Leanne Pelosi doesn't model much, at least so far as I can tell.

    A pity for us—when she does, she's as classy-hot as they come.

22. Dallas Friday

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    1. Yes, I also think her name is awesome.

    2. No, I don't know much about wakeboarding, but if you want more information, you could probably just go here.

    3. Based upon context clues alone, you probably figured out that Dallas Friday is a professional wakeboarder who hasn't done nearly enough modeling for my tastes.

    4. You are very astute.

    5. On her website is the following quote simply attributed to ESPN: "The Winningest Female Wakeboarder in History." So big ups for that, Ms. Friday.

21. Yevgeniya Kanayeva

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    If you follow my work at all (I know you don't, I just always wanted to type that), you know that I am a big fan of Russian rhythmic gymnast Yevgeniya Kanayeva.

    And so you likely also know how saddened I am that we only get to see Kanayeva at work.

    And strangely cool as her work is, we want more of Kanayeva without the twirly ribbon, am I right guys?

20. Natasha Hastings

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    First of all, on behalf of men everywhere, I would like to thank you for your participation in this year's ESPN the Magazine Body Issue, Ms. Hastings.

    And so, seeing as you are as natural a model as a runner, why not go from the starting gun to the photoshoot a bit more often?



    Photo from ESPN

19. Beatriz Recari

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    From what I can tell, Spanish golfer Beatriz Recari posted some pictures of herself modeling on her website (Note: At the time of publication, that website is under maintenance or something).

    But take it from other sexy golfers such as Anna Rawson, Natalie Gulbis and Blair O'Neal—there is a market for female golf models out there, Beatriz.

    Yeah, you've earned $196,492.00 this year—big whoop. Go get that green, girl, by getting them magazine covers.

18. Alicia Sacramone

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    I think the one thing we learned from ESPN the Magazine's Body Issue is that we want to see more of gymnast Sacramone.

    I give this picture a perfect score.


    Photo from ESPN

17. Kimiko Zakreski

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    For some reason, a lot of the beautiful female winter athletes—such as Canadian snowboarder Kimiko Zakreski—don't do more modeling.

    Maybe it is because they are used to the comfort of cover of winter clothing, I don't know.

    Nor do I like it.

16. Lolo Jones

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    Lolo—you've got the look, girl. I know your focus is on hurdles, but athletics don't last forever.

    You need to be stashing away some coin by getting your modeling career started.

    Do it for your country. (I know that makes no sense, but the "If you do this, you'll be patriotic" argument works all the time.)


    Photo from ESPN

15. Alex Morgan

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    Do the patriotic thing, Alex—more modeling!

    (I'm probably going overboard on the patriotic thing, huh?)

    Don't be surprised if you see more of Morgan in the future—she's a future superstar who will soon be the face of US Women's National team.

14. Ashley Force Hood

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    Daughter of NHRA Funny Car legend John Force and a funny car racer herself, AFH is the woman of racing I wish we would see more.

    That isn't a knock on Danica Patrick—it honestly isn't, I think she is beautiful—but those damn Go Daddy ads have made all of us kind of sick of her, haven't they?

    But as for AFH, well, we would all be down with seeing her a bit more often.

13. Caroline Wozniacki

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    So if we're being honest, a modeling career wouldn't really do much for Wozniacki—she's the top-rated singles player in the WTA and has earned $4,065,581 already this year.


    But she's sooooo hot, I think we can all agree we would love to see her working the runway. Or posing for a sexy spread in Maxim. Or doing the Body Issue.

    Something. Anything.

    Don't leave us high and dry, Caroline.

12. Lindsey Vonn

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    Vonn has done some modeling, most notably appearing in the 2010 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.

    But honestly, a natural in front of the lens such as Vonn shouldn't just stop with one measly (translation: totally awesome) magazine shoot.

    The sky is the limit for your modeling career, Lindsey—don't sell yourself short.

11. Kim Yu-Na

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    Listen, Yu-Na—if fellow figure skater Kiira Korpi can give us so many beautiful modeling shots, why can't you?

    And don't go giving me that, "Oh, I'm too busy being one of the greatest figure skaters ever," routine—nobody has time for that excuse.

10. Therese Johaug

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    You know what athletes don't do nearly enough modeling?

    I know, I was thinking Norwegian cross-country skiers too! They are vastly under-utilized in the modeling game.

    But Therese Johaug could be the pioneer for Norwegian cross-country skiers who aspire to be models. It's a heavy cross to bear, but for a woman who took home a gold medal in Vancouver in the 4x5 km relay, it shouldn't be too much of a burden.

9. Josefine Oqvist

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    Swedish soccer player Oqvist can be seen in pictures deriving from the magazine Slitz, and that's about it as far as I can tell.

    If there are any Swedish folks out there that know of any other modeling she may have done, hit it up in the comments—the world needs to know where it can find more of this beauty.

8. Anouk Hoogendijk

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    Dutch soccer player Anouk Hoogendijk can be seen making herself fit for Nike, but beyond that we don't see a whole lot of her here in the States.

    There are only two things I can't stand in this world: People who are intolerant of other people's cultures, and the Dutch women I don't get to see enough of.


    Photo from Nike

7. Jess Gysin

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    While I have a hunch we will be seeing more of Gysin in the future, we just can't get enough of this tall beauty while she's bumping and digging and spiking in the sand.

6. Maria Verchenova

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    I've found a way to kill two birds with one stone, you guys:

    A "Sexy Ladies of Golf" calender!

    Twelve ladies in sexy outfits on the course, modeling each beautiful month of the year. I would like to volunteer my services in organizing the calender and overseeing the photoshoot.

    Maria Verchenova will most assuredly be making an appearance.

5. Sania Mirza

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    While we're at it, we should probably put together a similar calender for tennis players that includes Sania Mirza, one of the most popular athletes in the world.

    Wait, one of the most popular athletes in the world? Are you kidding?

    Nope. According to the Google, Mirza is searched for more than Venus Williams and approximately as often as Ana Ivanovic. She's not yet in the realm of Maria Sharapova or Anna Kournikova, but who is?

    To put that into perspective, she's searched for more often than Lionel Messi.

4. Gretchen Bleiler

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    Sadly for all of us, Bleiler very consciously has decided to limit her modeling career. From USA Today:

    There's some history that comes with all of it. Basically, when I was younger, when I was just kind of having success in snowboarding, I did some sexy, half-naked shots (for FHM magazine). Afterwards, I chose to eliminate those opportunities from my plan. I was pretty outspoken about why it wasn't for me. The reason I've chosen to say yes now is I'm at a point where I want to do this. Before it was something that I felt like I had to do. But I was younger. Now I'm at a point in my life where I wanted to do it. I didn't think there was a better way to do it than with ESPN and their Body Issue...(The issue) shows every type of body can be strong and powerful and beautiful. I love that about it.

    A pity for us all.

3. Nastia Liukin

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    Our Olympic champion in gymnastics is also an all-time heartthrob, if you ask me.

    And if Alicia Sacramone can rock the Body Issue, Liukin sure as hell could do some work for the Swimsuit Edition.

2. Biba Golic

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    Another sexy athlete that has teased us by appearing in the Body Issue, table-tennis star Biba Golic is absolutely gorgeous.

    I'm seeing a sexy photoshoot that involves clothing totally comprised of two ping-pong balls and a paddle. Are you picking up what I'm putting down here?

1. Allison Stokke

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    Hey, if that pole-vaulting thing doesn't work out, you most definitely could make it as a model, Allison.

    Though if you did decide to model, I'm fairly certain the reaction from the Internet would be so immediate and forceful that it would simply begin to absorb all energy, including light, and swallow up existence as we knew it.

    Or something like that.


    My name is Timothy Rapp, and I put the "grrrr" in Swagger.

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