Worldwide famous athletes have a long history of posing nude or partially clothed for men’s magazines such as Playboy. Katarina Witt, one of the greatest Olympic figure skaters, was the first female athlete to pose naked for Playboy. The December 1998 issue featuring her nude photographs was the second ever sold-out issue of the magazine. By the way, did you know that ancient Olympians competed nude?
American high-jumper Amy Acuff, who finished in 4th place in the 2004 Summer Olympic Games, as well as competed in four Olympics in total (1996, 2000, 2004,2008), appeared on the cover and within Playboy’s September 2004 issue. Amy’s photographs were part of the 12-page nude pictorial “Women of the Olympics”.
A remarkable athlete and fascinating person, Katarina Witt is considered to be one of the greatest figure skaters of all time. Her competitive record is truly impressive. The German figure skater won two Olympic gold medals, four World Championships and six consecutive European Championships. Katarina’s nude pictorial was the second ever sold-out issue of Playboy.
Anita Marks played professional football for five years. She quarterbacked two women’s professional football teams: Florida Stingrays and Miami Fury. Anita was the Playboy Centerfold of the 2002 September edition. According to Anita’s declarations, the reason why she accepted Playboy’s offer was because she wanted to show there is a Women’s Professional Football League and that, yes, “some of the women who play in the league may be appealing to those who read Playboy”. She was trying to demonstrate that it is okay to look attractive, sensual and still play football.
Bounced out of Tournoi de Roland-Garros by Serena Williams, American tennis player Ashley Harkleroad claimed a more glamorous coup by appearing on the pages of Playboy, the issue of August 2008. She was the first professional tennis player to appear in Playboy. After turning to professional tennis in 2000, Ashley reached a career-high ranking of No. 39 in 2003. She didn’t win any renowned international tennis tournament, but it seems that her beauty greatly compensated the lack of career success.
Mia St. John
Mia Rosales St. John1 is considered to be the hottest woman in boxing. Her career is pretty impressive, even if she started boxing late. Mia won in 2005 the International Females Boxers Association Lightweight World Title and the IBA Continental Lightweight Title. She became at the age of 40 the WBC International Female Welterweight Champion. Mia’s eleven page boxing themed pictorial was released by Playboy on November 1999.
Torrie Anne Wilson started her career as a Fitness model and won in 1998 two important titles before becoming a professional wrestler: the Ms. Galaxy Nova Championship and the Ms. Galaxy Florida titles. World Wrestling Entertainment Diva, Torrie Wilson, is a two-time Playboy cover girl. Her first appearance was in May 2003 and the second one in the special Playboy edition of March 2004.
At the age of only 14 years, Amanda Beard won her first Olympic gold medal, becoming the second youngest American swimmer to win an Olympic gold medal. She broke twice the world record in the 200-meter breaststroke, participated in four Summer Olympics, (1996, 2000, 2004, 2008) and captured a total of seven medals. Amanda stirred quite a bit of controversy, when she unveiled her anti-fur PETA ad at the Beijing Olympic Games. Beard decided to go naked rather than wear fur to help promote PETA’s campaigns. Before posing nude for PETA, Amanda posed nude for Playboy in July 2007 in an effort to change clichés of what it means to be a powerful athlete and woman.
Gabrielle is known just as much for her professional beach volleyball playing as she is for her modeling career. She has been on countless glamorous and sports magazine covers. Reece was WBVL’s (Women’s Beach Volleyball League) blocks leader in 1993. In the 1994-1995 season, Gabby’s hard work paid off and she was awarded the Defensive Player of the Year title. She played in the 1999-2000 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour and the 1999-2000 Olympic Challenge Series.
Gabrielle gained national notoriety after being nominated by Elle as “one of the five most beautiful women in the world” in 1989. Moreover, Women’s Sports & Fitness named Gabby one of the ‘20 Most Influential Women in Sports’. Karen Karbo best describes this amazing athlete: “She accomplishes these things by tapping into her aggressive, competitive side without losing sight of her emotional center or her femininity. Gabrielle Reece is an inspiration to all girls and women who want to become the heroes of their own lives.” She accepted to pose nude for Playboy in 2001.