The ESPN Body Issue: Top 10 Things That Are Nice To Look At

Do you want to see some abs and some butts today? Well, you are in luck! ESPN has released photos of the superstar athletes who will appear in/on the covers of ESPN The Magazine‘s seventh annual Body Issue. If you’re unfamiliar, The Body Issue is all about naked athletes being naked. It’s different from Sports Illustrated‘s Swimsuit Issue because the naked people are showcasing impressive displays of athleticism and not, like, covering their nipples with the tips of canoe oars or hiding coyly behind palm fronds. It’s pretty damn empowering. Also, it’s just damn pretty.

These are the Top 10 Nice Things To Look At that ESPN has shown us so far.

1. LPGA superstar Sadena Parks


2. USA Track & Field hammer thrower Amanda Bingson


3. 12-time Olympic medalist Natalie Anne Coughlin


4. WNBA all-star Brittney Griner




6. Gold medal-winning gymnast Aly Raisman


7. Women’s national field hockey team forward Paige Selenski


8. Olympic archer Khatuna Lorig


9. Olympic heptathlete Chantae McMillan


10. Professional skateboarder Leticia Bufoni


Bonus: This cat and this lion who are best friends


They are not in The Body Issue, but they also deserve to be celebrated and loved. Not everyone can be an Olympian.

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Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior writer who lives in New York City with her partner, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Heather has written 1156 articles for us.


  1. Sam

    They’re beautiful images, and I love athletic women, but it still bothers me that nipples have to be covered. I mean they did a good job at covering them in a natural way but it’s still intentionally covered..

    • Well it’s also possible that not everyone wants to show their nipples even if it were allowed.

      • Sam

        that’s fine, everyone should do whatever they want with their own bodies, I just wish it was a choice for smthng mainstream like that, I just want to see breast nudity in a non sexual way just like the men in sports magazine will definitely have their nipples exposed. I mean I am sure that some of these women that are feeling comfortable posing naked with their butts exposed would feel just fine if the nipple was part of the picture..maybe not all of them but I doubt every single of the women would have personally requested to make sure their nipple is also covered; which is basically what I was complaining about in my post.

  2. That bonus pic took me by surprise, but I loved it!

    I loooooooooooove this issue! As you said, it’s damn empowering and that is beyond a desirable photography strategy for women. <3 <3 <3 <3

    • My thoughts exactly..ok my exact thoughts were more along the lines of “Katniss?” but you know what I mean.

    • I was a little disappoint there was some much background. Sure it’s great scenery and yes I get that connection, but it just makes her seem so small compared to the other athletes. So I looked Khatuna for a behind the scenes video like the one AI got below. Turns out she has more that a passing connection to The Hunger Games.

      • Lex

        She uses a 51 pound pull, gaddam…
        30 is pretty much the minimum weight permitted for bow hunting here in the US, but I’ve heard to take a deer down proper you need at least a 40 pound pull and that the bigger the pull weight the further you can be from your quarry.

  3. bra

    Haaaaaaay Chantae, haaaaay!

    I’m developing a serious crush on athletes.

    “Let me be your water manager to your exceptional athletic skill.”

  4. Lissa

    Love this! Especially the hammer thrower – it’s good to see people of all different shapes and sizes. Every one of these pics are so beautiful in their own way.

  5. the female anatomy is super hot in all forms.
    6 pack, 1 pack, no pack … i love it all.

    great collection of strong, healthy, and beautiful.

  6. Lex

    I felt extra queer an witchy because my first thought when I saw #8 was, “O My Goddess Diana, Lady of the Hunt…”

    Also dorky, felt real dorky.

    • Lol I had more or less the same thought. It helps that her name also makes her seem like a character from a fantasy novel.

      • Lex

        Nerd that I am I looked into the etymology of her name and it is suspected to come from a pre-modern Turkish title for a lady which also passed into early Islamic usage as a term for a queen or a lady and into the Ottoman Empire of course which is why it ended it up in Georgia.

        Turkic things mean ancient lady warriors in my brain, so fantasy novel character name indeed.

        Most of the influence for my high fantasy imaginings and world building start in South Eastern Europe and keeps flowing Eastward or end up in the Artic Circle…so um happy nerd sounds I made may or may not have woken an innocent little dog from her slumber.

        • Aw poor pup hehe. Your ancient Turkic lady warrior idea got my brain turning, and I started thinking of the ancient Scythians. The region is more or less right, though may be earlier than the time period you had in mind, and they did have lady warriors. And they made cool stuff like this.

          • Lex

            The Scythians are the reason for that thought process and I love that swirl style and may or may not have some etchant pieces containing that swirl.

            But def have at least one clasp with that S curl swirl.
            I love S curve clasps.

  7. Cynm

    I don’t have anything of relevance to add but Ali Krieger is total perfection. She makes me feel all of the feelings.

  8. I love me some boobs, but damn…all those butts…I feel like Tina Belcher…
    Especially Griner’s. Which is annoying because I have strong feelings about Griner re: domestic violence lately.

  9. The naked athletes are good an’ all that … but that final photo of sweet pussies is the best

  10. had to login just for the cuties at the end. you’re right, not everyone can be an olympian!

  11. This is important and relevant to my interests.

    Thank you Heather Hogan, for bringing us beautiful first person pieces, and glorious photos of naked athletes. (those muscles tho)

  12. Ari

    they all have such beautiful, um, eyes. (and butts. they’ve all got great butts)

  13. I think I nearly knocked out at that photo of Bufoni. How have I not heard of her before?? (Oh I know why. Female skaters are never talked about…which makes me cry. Y’all can there be an article about the sexism in skateboarding? I have many feels about this.)
    I got a thing for skateboarding, despite me not being able to do an ollie. I need a skater girlfriend to teach me. This is obv the only solution to my dilemma.

    Fantastic photoset. I have much respect for athletes, especially since I usually just sit down and draw for unhealthy periods of time. And then wonder why I don’t have abs.

  14. Aga

    Have this weird love for muscular thighs and strong bodies. Want one! Body, not thigh.

  15. I’m so used to seeing them with their game face on competing but good lord they are all amazing beautiful works of art!

  16. I pretty much had heart eyes while looking at all of these. When I was a little girl I remember being so scared of growing up to be “too mucular” (which was a weird fear for me to have because I was a total shrimp). As an adult looking at these women all I see is how beautiful their strength is. I wish younger me had seen these pictures growing up.

    • Omg this a thousand times. I used to play soccer in middle school and then I moved away to a new high school where all the girls were super feminine and warned me that I shouldn’t get into that because I would be too muscular and no boys would like me. Now that I’m grown and gay I wish that I had never listened to try to fit in.

      • Growing up a lot of my fear about my body and what it would look like as I got older was mixed up with this fear of not being liked by boys. Nowadays I’m like “who cares what dudes think?”

  17. I like Aly’s pic because the context is pretty natural and showcases strength and beauty. But some of the other photos lack the emphasis…what does photo no 3 convey?

    From the art perspective, some are good.

    The ESPN title …things. … will they ever learn anything?

  18. I petition for an all female version of the body issue…for research purposes.

  19. Thank you Autostraddle for your commitment to feline body positivity.

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