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Alicia Sacramone, Top Athletes Go Bare for ESPN Magazine

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Alicia Sacramone, Top Athletes Go Bare for ESPN Magazine 1With athletes like gymnast Alicia Sacramone and snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler lining up to shed their clothes, ESPN magazine’s nude issue will have no trouble giving rival Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue a run for its money, again, this year. But that’s not all.

ESPN will once again feature nude male athletes as well.

The NBA’s Blake Griffin, baseball’s Jose Reyes, Olympic speed skater Apolo Ono and the NFL Football’s Steven Jackson are among the male athletes posing nude for what’s officially known as the “Body Issue.”

But the term nude is used loosely.

ESPN Body Issue 2011 Athletes

Alicia Sacramone, Top Athletes Go Bare for ESPN Magazine 2

Women

Sylvia Fowles, WNBA basketball player
Belen Mozo, LPGA rookie golfer
Natasha Hastings, track and field
Julie Chu, hockey player
Vera Zvonareva, tennis player
Steph Gilmore, pro surfer
Suzy Hotrod, roller derby player
Kelly Kulick. pro bowler
Alicia Sacramone, gymnist
Gretchen Bleiler, snowboarder

Men

Alicia Sacramone, Top Athletes Go Bare for ESPN Magazine 3Apolo Ohno, Olympic Skater
Ryan Kesler, NHL Hockey Player
Jon Jones, UFC champion
Helio Castroneves, IndyCar racer
Louie Vito, snowboarder
Sergio Martinez, boxer
Ryan Hall, marathoner
Jeremy Campbell, paralympian
Blake Griffin, NBA baskeball player
Jose Reyes, ML Baseball
Steven Jackson, NFL Football

All of the athletes will have their private parts strategically covered, and technically won’t be Full Monty in any of the photos.

Although SI’s swimsuit issue is by far the more popular–it features only scantily clad female models, ESPN’s nude issue is gaining traction in its third year of publication.

The Sports Illustrated issue has been around since the 1960s and has grown increasingly risque over the years.

Most of the girls will have at least one topless shot in their photo series, although they too hide all the strategic private parts.

In all, ESPN will feature 20 athletes in the buff in the “Bodies We Want” section of the 2011 issue, editor-in-chief Chad Millman, told USAToday.

“This is an issue in the short time we’ve been doing it that’s become pretty anticipated,” says Millman. “In terms of the athletes we’ve attracted, we feel like the group is really strong.”

The first Body Issue two years ago featured six cover subjects: tennis star Williams; Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson; NASCAR driver Carl Edwards; mixed martial artist Gina Carano and amputee track star Sarah Reinertsen.

The Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue is the magazine’s largest selling edition. It has become and institution and pop icon and has launched numerous models to stardom, including Tyra Banks.

The issue hits newsstands Oct. 7. There will be four covers.

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