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16 Sexy Non-Playboy Covers Featuring Female Athletes

by: Howard Cosmell On  Wednesday, November 24, 2010

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When it comes to magazine modeling, Playboy used to occupy the top spot with their bunnies and cover girls. However, as we listen to the death rattles of print media, Playboy’s iron grip has loosened and “lad mags” like Maxim and FHM have gotten their foot in the door, offering hot girls aimed at a slightly younger reader. Regardless of the target audience, these girls are hot, so kick back and enjoy the view.

16. Arianny Celeste
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While not an athlete, per se, she works in an MMA ring. That’s close enough to athleticism that we don’t need to split hairs. Especially with a body like that. Apparently, she was so good at holding the placard saying what round it was that Maxim decided to honor her with a magazine cover. May her song never die.

15. Gretchen Bleiler – Snowboarding
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Now, only one of these girls is a professional athlete, so we have to ask you to only look at Gretchen on the far right and not the other two girls who are of absolutely no interest to us because they are not athletes. As the cover says, these are painted bikinis, but the that doesn’t keep the strategically placed tape from being something of a disappointment.

14. USA Water Polo Team
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Let’s keep this list going with 12 naked girls all on one cover, okay? ESPN The Magazine seems to love to use “The Body Issue” as an excuse to put naked athletes (usually female) on their cover. Which is not only fine, but commendable. Now, I can’t tell you much about the US Water Polo team, but after seeing this picture, I can tell you I would like to know more about them. Do they do everything naked together? Do they even wear uniforms when playing? Someone answer these burning questions in the comments.

13. Gina Carano
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Remember the new “American Gladiators?” Think really hard. Remember those two weeks it was on like three years ago? Well, something was able to last from that short-lived reboot. The world was introduced to Gina Carano, a Dallas girl who quickly became the poster child for women’s MMA. In 2009, Carano realized she had a bona fide modeling career as she skyrocketed to #16 on the Maxim Hot 100 list. She has stepped away from MMA fighting to further pursue a career in entertainment and fitness modeling, a move we can all get behind.

12. Serena Williams – Tennis
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Sure, she’s big enough to toss you through a window, but despite her physique and dominance on the clay and grass, Serena has a feminine side. She’s got a clothing line called Aneres (Serena backwards, get it?) and gets hounded by paparazzi like her last name was Lohan-Montag, so it’s no surprise that ESPN the mag decided to let her grace the cover completely nude. Save for a smile.

11. Jennie Finch – Softball
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Finch’s appearance here should be no surprise to anyone who was watching TV or even had a pulse five years ago. She was the poster girl for the hot female athlete and the fact that she could pitch a perfect game while filing her nails allowed every outlet to play the “she’s not just another pretty face” card, which allowed them to show pics of her in a more athletic context than most. And of course, Sports Illustrated, being that bastion of integrity, saw that anyone who can chuck a softball that fast deserved a cover. I’m sure the fact that she’s smoking was just a coincidence.

10. Bia and Branca Feres – Synchronized Swimming
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The fact that these girls aren’t as popular stateside as the Hilton sisters blows my mind. Hot, identical twin sisters that happen to be synchronized swimmers and Brazilian. If that’s not enough for you, then you must be the greediest person alive. In 2004 and 2005, the girls were part of an exchange program with a Seattle high school, the name of which should be officially changed to “the luckiest high school in the history of mankind.” It’s wordy, but apt.

9. Stacy Keibler – WWE
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Stacy Keibler, from “Dancing with the Stars” and WWE fame, has been one of the more active athlete-model-celebrities of the past five years. Knowing that a career in the WWE will only take you so far as a woman, she managed to parlay that notoriety into appearances on “Psych,” “How I Met Your Mother,” and “George Lopez.” Those appearances, though impressive don’t hold a candle to what has now become the yellow brick road to national notoriety – a “Dancing with the Stars” appearance. Keibler placed third on the second season, ensuring that even if she doesn’t get too much work in the future, she won’t be soon forgotten.

8. Amanda Beard – Swimming
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Hard to believe that this girl does anything but book cover shoots in bikinis, but strangely enough, she is actually a pretty competent swimmer. She placed first in this swimming race at this thing called the Olympics, winning her their reputed “gold medal.” More specifically, it was the 200m breaststroke. Of course it was the breaststroke. Sometimes this job is really easy.

7. Anastasia Ashley – Surfing
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It would be tragic if a surfer girl named Anastasia Ashley wasn’t incredibly hot, but sleep easy, dear readers. She is. While Ms. Ashley may not be among the most lauded athletes on this site, she’s an athlete, and she’s ridiculously good looking. She probably doesn’t always go around surfing in a bikini like in a Gidget movie, but if she does…then God bless us all.

6. Logan Tom, Amanda Beard, Amy Acuff, Haley Cope, Jenny Adams – Olympians
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The 2004 Olympics were a banner year for hot female athletes. Unsurprisingly, every men’s mag on the market took note of this and captured it on their covers or through extensive pictorials. Much to our benefit, FHM joined the party and put together this cover spread and pictorial showing the readers what the pride of a nation really looks like.

5. Anna Benson – Baseball WAG
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The outspoken wife of American baseball player Kris Benson has dug her nails in to the media and seemingly won’t let go until she’s said all she has to say. Which is fine, I guess, so long as she keeps appearing in photo spreads where we don’t HAVE to listen to her opinions on everything from Katrina to 9/11 to animal rights. I’m not saying she’s wrong about any of it, but Benson carries more weight in photos than she does in interviews.

4. Maria Sharapova – Tennis
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If this article can accomplish one thing, I would like it to draw attention to the dearth of Sharapova covers on magazines in our United States. The fact that we need to go abroad to get Sharapova on this list in a bikini is borderline criminal. Here’s to hoping that as her tennis career winds down, her modeling career winds up and Sasha gives his blessing for lots of trashy cover shoots.

3. Ana Ivanocic – Tennis
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With a name like “Ivanocic,” it’s hardly surprising that this tennis star has gone international, gracing the cover of FHM in no fewer than three different languages. And why wouldn’t she, with beauty that clearly transcends language? Unlike many other athlete-models, Ivanocic has the skill to match her looks, having been ranked #1 in the world. The beauty born in Serbia is now holding steady at #17. (But #1 in our hearts. I mean, #3)

2. Danica Patrick – Auto Racing
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When a men’s magazine wants you to appear on the cover in a bikini, it’s sketchy. But when a fitness mag wants you on its cover in a bikini, it’s a testament to the hard work and healthy lifestyle that embodies your outlook on your athletic training. The end result is the same – you end up on a magazine cover in a bikini. If they’re able to shed the guilt this way, then more power to ‘em. So long as they keep showing off their bodies, the readers will find the media.

1. Anna Kournikova – Tennis
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If Maxim had a “Playmate of the Century” award, it would likely go to Kournikova, who has graced the cover on three different occasions. Of the three, no hotter was a shoot than the one pictured, which shows Anna in various forms of undress in her Wimbledon whites. It’s no wonder that she is reluctant to pose for Playboy, as she clearly has a good thing going with their rival publication.




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