SBD/July 8, 2014/Media

Beauty Is Skin Deep: ESPN's Latest "Body Issue" Hits The Web Today

Snowboarder Jamie Anderson appears on one cover of this year's issue
The annual ESPN The Magazine "Body Issue" hits newsstands Friday but debuted online today. The issue includes Michael Phelps, Venus Williams, Rangers 1B Prince Fielder and Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch, among others (THE DAILY). The issue was featured on ABC's "Nightline" last night, with the net's Linsey Davis noting the athletes all appear in "what we come into the world wearing, our birthday suit." However, when that is put "on the cover of a magazine, it has the power to shock, anger, intrigue and sometimes inspire." ESPN The Magazine Editor-in-Chief Chad Millman said, "We're not going out there just trying to be titillating, we're trying to prove a point about the athletic form." Davis said this week's issue is "showcasing the world's most elite athletes, all posing tastefully nude. But it isn't easy getting star athletes to take their clothes off." Millman said the athletes are "human beings, and as proud as they are of their bodies, they're still going to be anxious about the idea of getting naked in front of people for a photo shoot." But Davis noted the athletes soon "forget the cameras are even there." Millman: "In the first two or three frames, the athletes forget they're naked, they don't care that they're walking around naked on set. It gets very comfortable very quickly" ("Nightline," ABC, 7/7).

THE EXCELLENCE OF EXECUTION: USA TODAY's Chris Strauss notes boxer Bernard Hopkins, the "eldest athlete in this year's edition" of the magazine, is shown "squared up in a boxing stance wearing nothing but a pair of hand wraps." Hopkins said, "It's an honor to be there, because I'm representing boxing and representing myself. I'm 49 1/2 years old, and 50 is a great number for people to understand the transition and turning 50. It's a milestone." He added, "I've been asked to display an art, my body, my temple, to the world. Hopefully it motivates someone to say, 'He's 49 1/2 looking like that, I'm going to do something different in my lifestyle'" (USA TODAY, 7/8).
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