ESPN The Magazine’s 2011 Body Issue hit stands today, featuring 22 athletes with amazing bodies who have stripped down to pose nude, or essentially nude with a prop.
This year’s featured athletes are women we love from a variety of sports including gymnasts, soccer stars, golfers, bowlers, runners and even a derby girl! Check out the amazing photos and videos below to see to who made ESPN’s selection of women in sports:
Alicia Sacramone: Gymnast
Julie Chu: Hockey
Another thing we (myself very much included) often tend to forget as lesbians is that there's a giant world out there, and it far extends beyond All Things Lesbian. Bisexual girls get this because they exist in both Straightsville and Gayland, and either used to or still do travel between them. Like straight girls, bisexual girls define themselves mainly by their passions, their work, their hobbies, or their nationalities/ethnicities/whatever — not as much their sexuality. Now look, I know that this whole lesbians-obsessively-identifying-as-lesbians thing comes as a direct result of straight society obsessively making our lesbianism the Most Important Identity Marker about us, but we have a responsibility to look beyond that too and not always do the All Gay All Day thing. I will never stop being obsessed with queer academia, lesbian filmmaking, all of that. But I'm a lot of things besides being a lesbian. Hanging around bi girls helps me remember that.
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Sylvia Fowles: Basketball
Stephanie Gilmore: Surfing
They smell good. They have shiny, shiny hair. They have a billion beauty products in their arsenal. (They probably will give you some excellent beauty tips as well). They are perfectly manicured/waxed/etc. They will probably know how to do at least one of the following with proficiency: cooking, baking, sewing, styling hair, styling clothes, hosting dinner parties, wrapping gifts, handwriting letters, staying in shape, interior design, listening, nurturing, gardening, etc.
I do not care that this list is horribly reductive and relies completely on gender stereotypes about (straight) women. Lesbians are so fixated on fighting against gender norms that sometimes we forget that a lot of the things typically associated with women and femininity are wonderful things, and we should probably do more of them. And if we are just too masculine to do so, we should at least celebrate them. And maybe bi girls aren't so indoctrinated in the lesbian world and still retain some so-called straight girl characteristics. Since when did being able to keep a plant alive, or write a beautiful handwritten letter, or heat-style your hair with a round brush become such a negative thing?
Along with all these things, they were likely also a tomboy growing up, and are not afraid to get dirty, don't obsessively count calories, chug beer with the best of 'em, and know how to rock a flannel shirt.
Gretchen Bleiler: Snowboarding
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Kelly Kulick: Bowling
Given that bisexual girls live everywhere, and do every type of job, and have every type of life, and sometimes date guys if that's what they're into, and also date girls (and possibly even marry girls! it happens!) it follows that they might not live in an incestuous lesbian bubble like you do. And if you don't currently live in The L Word but are a lesbian, perhaps consider yourself thankful because that shit can get dramatic really quickly. I'm not saying having lesbian friends is bad because we all need someone or multiple people who really understand us and all that jazz. But in my experience, being friends with and dating bi girls helps pull me out of that myopic world and expands my horizons. It's important for everyone, no matter who they are, to have a diverse range of friends, and I think gay people sometimes forget that just as much as straight people do. Bi girls help bridge that divide, and show everyone that labels don't have to define everything we do.
Hope Solo: Soccer
Natasha Hastings: Track
Before you all collectively jump down my throat on this one, yes of COURSE there are beautiful lesbians. But if you refer back to number 1, you'll recall that it often feels like there are only 5 lesbians on Earth and you are one of them, you are bffs/bros with the second one, you strongly dislike the third, and you've already dated the other two. There are so. Many. Bisexual. Women. I cannot stress this enough. And I mean legitimately bi women…not experimenting straight girls who like to use us as orgasm donors, and then bail. (For the record, bi girls get screwed over by this disrespectful experimenting/playing with people's hearts too).
Anyway, back to what I was saying — looking purely at numbers, there's a higher chance of finding a beautiful bisexual girl than just about any other type of woman (there are probably more bi girls than straight girls out there too. Just sayin'). And if you like women who are femme/girly/long-haired/fitting-standards-of-traditional-female-beauty etc., you are in even more luck because bi girls tend to be on this end of the gender presentation spectrum. I don't know why this is. Maybe because they are also open to dating guys and guys tend to go for femme-ier girls? Maybe because some of them live a more outwardly heteronormative existence? I have no idea why, I just am basing this off of personal experience and observation. I'm not knocking other gender presentations either. I think androgyny is fucking sexy. I think masculine women are fucking sexy. I think feminine women are fucking sexy. And so do bisexual girls. And they are really, really hot.
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Vera Zvonareva: Tennis
Suzy Hotrod: Derby
Since they are legitimately into girls, their desire will lead them to become very eager/fast learners and very seasoned in lady-sex very quickly. Unlike straight girl pillow princesses, I’ve found that bi girls are giving and aggressive, they take charge, and participate equally, and love every second of it. Also because they've been with guys, they're likely to be able to handle a wide range of styles, so to speak.
View all of The Body Issue photos on ESPN.com.