See the six covers featuring nude athletes
ESPN the Magazine’s Body Issue has always been an impressive feat in diversity. Both men and women pose nude for the photo shoots, and neither gender is objectified. Rather, the magazine is careful to celebrate the many different types of bodies that result from being in peak physical condition: sometimes that means slim waists for girls and large muscles for guys, but not always. Some athletes need larger leg muscles to propel themselves across a field, a court or ice. Others need to build their upper bodies for weightlifting. Some have tan lines from training outside, some tattoos and some scars.
The result: very different-looking forms, though admittedly all impressive. Julie Chu, who was in the 2011 issue, told TIME earlier this year, “I think that issue really highlights that there’s a lot of different types of bodies for elite athletes, and all of them can be beautiful and strong and confident.”
This year’s selection in particular offers a wide range of male and female athletes, including (in order below) Olympic snowboarder Jamie Anderson, Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, Texas Ranger first baseman Prince Fielder, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka and seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams.
And those are just the athletes on the covers. Here are some other athletes inside the pages:
Olympic snowboarder Amy Purdy:
World Cup soccer player Omar Gonzalez:
Olympic hockey player Hilary Knight:
World Tour surfer Coco Ho:
See the full slide show here.