If you’re a pro athlete of some sport and you’re reasonably talented – actually scrap that, talent has nothing to do with it – and you’re hot, there’s one way to increase your profile. Sure, in today’s day and age of social media, you can become a megastar, get yourself out there by posing and posting sultry pics of yourself for all to see. But there’s still one way, one thing you can do to boost your profile even further. That’s pose for Playboy, pose for Hugh Hefner. Grace the covers of Playboy, and a whole lot of people are going to know your name, that’s for damn sure. Some women may find posing in such mags demeaning. Thankfully there’ve been plenty of those over the years who’ve had a different way of thinking, our way of thinking.
Sultry female athletes – they’re mightily popular among readers of Playboy. Hugh’s recognized this, and so he’s gotten some seriously hot athletes on board over the years. They’ve posed for some memorable shoots, been a part of some memorable spreads. There’ve been some that Playboy readers can’t help but remember, the pics were that stunning. Others might have escaped your memory. Let’s refresh it, make you reminisce. Here are 10 female athletes who posed for Hugh Hefner, and five that you probably totally forgot posed for Playboy.
15 Star: GABRIELLE REECE
American volleyball player, Gabrielle Reece, you’d have to say hasn’t quite lived up to expectations. Gabrielle herself would probably agree. When we started seeing her out about on pro volleyball tours, she stuck out for being one of the hottest athletes. But she hasn’t really progressed, made it work for herself. She failed to make it as a pro golfer, has had a mediocre time of it as a fashion model, and isn’t the greatest TV host. But, one thing that she’s always possessed is sultry good looks, a smoking hot body. Hugh Hefner and his cronies recognized this and got her to pose for Playboy in 2001.
She posed for a nude pictorial, and it has to be said, it was one amazing cover. That’s one pic that showcased her assets, her stunning physique. You’d have thought that after people set eyes on that pic, that her career would rise to greater heights. But it just hasn’t quite happened for Gabrielle, which is a real shame.
14 Star: AMANDA BEARD
Amanda Beard, or to go by her married name, Amanda Brown, is one seriously talented swimmer. Her name often gets lost among the other greats of the pool from the U.S., but she’s right up there. Earning seven Olympic medals and having a world record to her name proves that. She’s also hot, very very hot, and has balanced modeling with her swimming career. It’s truly amazing how far she’s come. Initially, she struggled with body dysmorphia, and it was hard enough for her to get into her swimsuit. She’s gone from being that woman, to being the woman who posed in the July 2007 issue of Playboy Magazine, nude might I add. It was captioned, “The World’s Sexiest Athlete Nude;” She certainly was one of the sexiest at the time – still is, still looks stunning at the age of 35 – and it made for one memorable spread, one that all Playboy lovers, aficionados of the esteemed lads’ mag, would surely remember with a great deal of fondness.
13 FORGOT ABOUT: MARIA KANELLIS
Despite her lack of titles and championship belts, Maria Kanellis is still a much-loved member of the wrestling industry. Let’s be honest, women’s wrestling was once just about ogling at the eye candy on show. It’s progressed since those days, and Maria’s emerged with a whole lot of credibility, is still going strong. We’ve seen her blossom, not only looks wise, but in the ring, and as an actress and TV personality too. But Hef got in there when she was red hot, when she was killing it. She posed in the April 2008 issue of Playboy on the cover, showing us the ropes and her rack.
She was basically nude too, striking that Diva Maria pose. There’ve been quite a few wrestlers who’ve posed for Playboy over the years, many of them aren’t shy about getting their kits off and posing for sultry snaps. Therefore, Maria’s Playboy pics might not be at the forefront of your mind. Perhaps that’ll change now your memories have been jolted.
12 Star: AMY ACUFF
High jump specialist, Amy Acuff has been a permanent fixture of the U.S. track and field team for a hell of a long time. She’s competed in five Olympic Games, with her best performance coming in 2004. Over the years, she’s also balanced her athletics’ career with modeling. Amy posed in a number of racy shoots for all of the top lads’ mags. With her best Olympic performance in 2004 came a surge in popularity for Amy. That’s also when Hugh Hefner and his team got interested. In fact, that 2004 Olympic Games in Athens was notable, not just because of the athletic prowess on show, but because of the number of women who posed nude. Amy posed nude on the cover of Playboy, on their "The Women of the Olympics" issue. It certainly increased the hype around the Olympics, and the athletes!
11 Star: KATARINA WITT
Retired German figure skater, Katarina Witt, enjoyed a stellar career. She’s a four-time World Champion, and has won numerous other accolades, making her the most accomplished figure skater of all time. She’s also seriously hot – even now that she’s in her 50s – but back then, wow! Success and beauty, the perfect combination, the perfect package for Playboy. Boy was it a good decision to get her on board. Her Playboy issue is thought to be one of the greatest and most popular – in terms of the number of copies sold – of all time. Apparently, her appearing on the cover resulted in the issue selling out, which was the first time that had occurred after the he Marilyn Monroe issue. In terms of athletes posing for Playboy, Katarina’s Playboy appearance has to go down as being one of the best; stats don’t lie.
10 FORGOT ABOUT: NICOLE REINHARDT
Here’s another German gem, someone who you may have forgotten about because her sport doesn’t gain much coverage. As a sprint canoeist, Nicole’s stood head and shoulders above the rest for about a decade. But her profile increased massively in 2008 when the world saw her in a different light. She was only 22 at the time, but certainly body beautiful, and she had the looks too. Nicole wasn’t shy, even at that relatively young age, of getting her kit off and posing for the cameras.
She posed in the German issue of Playboy, and it really was a spectacular shoot. She looked golden, radiant, as she posed nude, her canoe positioned perfectly in order to cover up all the essentials. Nicole’s one mightily attractive athlete.
9 Star: MIA ST. JOHN
Mia St. John’s nicknamed “The Knockout” because of her prowess as a fighter, and that holds true for other aspects of her life too. It’s an apt name alight, she’s a knockout as a model too. You wouldn’t really think that a boxer, an MMA competitor, and a taekwondo champion would be able to make a pretty decent career out of being a model too. Too many punches to the face, visual disfigurements; but no, Mia’s managed it, has been able to maintain her looks, and that’s good for everyone. It was certainly good for Playboy and probably the millions who saw that issue in November 1999. We didn’t see any cuts and bruises when she posed nude on the cover, beaming smile, boxing gloves laced up. Instead we saw Mia in all her glory, a stunning woman with a fabulous physique.
8 Star: KIANA TOM
Watch Kiana’s Flex Appeal and you won’t be able to stop watching. It’d be motivation enough for you to get up off your ass and partake in a hardcore workout. Kiana has that effect – I reckon most people would let her whip them into shape any day, every day. Her exercise routines really are hypnotic. She just oozes sex appeal, and is sizzling hot, just perfect, a seductress. It’s little wonder Playboy wanted her on the cover. Kiana has sex appeal and flex appeal, someone they thought the readers would find awfully titillating.
They certainly did, because that May 2002 issue just flew off the shelves. Toned, ripped, muscular – Kiana showed off her awesome physique, demonstrated it’s possible to obtain sexy muscle, for a woman to be muscular but still maintain her femininity.
7 FORGOT ABOUT: ASHLEY HARKLEROAD
Does the name, Ashley Harkleroad, sound familiar? Even the tennis fans amongst you must be struggling, racking your brains to remember who she is, what she did. That’s no surprise, because Ashley didn’t exactly set the world alight, racket in hand. In 12 years on the tour, she managed to earn $1m in prize money – not really a massive sum after 12 years – and achieved a career high ranking of 39. Like I said, she wasn’t known for blazing up the court, hence she’s probably evaded a lot of your memories. But she was known for being a bit of eye candy on the women’s tour, for her sizzling presence on the court. Ashley made the most of this, decided to accept Playboy’s offer, and posed nude for them in August 2008. Doing so, she became the first female tennis pro to pose for Hugh Hefner. She appeared on the cover, all oiled up, racket in hand, striking a sultry pose. At least Ashley can say she was the first at something.
6 Star: KATHARINA SCHOLZ
That German Olympic Playboy issue in 2008 was one steamy issue, one that featured plenty of super-hot ladies, and certainly drummed up support for the national Olympic team and the athletes. Those who got their hands on that issue, saw athletes like Katharina and probably made a concerted effort to tune in from thereon in, made a concerted effort to watch them in action. But when they did, they probably only saw Katharina in this light, had this picture in their minds. Playboy really did do a splendid job. Katharina doesn’t exactly cut a dashing figure on the hockey field, with her mouth guard and baggy hockey gear. But underneath all that baggy attire, boy does she scrub up well, has a splendid figure that was delightfully showed off in that Playboy issue.
5 Star: Torrie Wilson
During her stint in the wrestling industry, diva Torrie Wilson didn’t win many big matches, but she provided many sultry moments and at that time of wrestling, she was exactly what the WWE was looking for. Given her all-American good looks, it wasn't surprising Hugh Hefner eventually came calling and put Torrie on the cover in 2003. She would then pose alongside Sable in 2004. Since shooting for the magazine, Torrie has gotten plenty of other magazine shoots and today she is a huge hit on Instagram, as she looks arguably even better today than she did back in the mid 2000s. She is extremely dedicated to fitness today and her account is aimed to inspire people everywhere to take fitness seriously. Seeing her results, that's pretty good motivation!
4 FORGOT ABOUT: MARIA BUTYRSKAYA
Unless you’re involved in the sport yourself, it’s safe to say that the only time you watch figure skating is at the Olympics. People make a special effort to tune in, because there are some special ladies on show, pulling off some amazing moves, combinations on the ice. One of these special ladies is Maria Butyrskaya. She started to emerge into the limelight way back in 1998 when she appeared at the Winter Olympics. Hers was a face that began to get picked up at that Olympic Games, and she gained the attention of many, including Hugh Hefner. In November of that year, she appeared in the Russian Playboy. Most of you have probably forgotten about that issue, firstly because it was a seriously long time ago, secondly because it was Russian Playboy, and thirdly because it was a pretty conservative shoot, going by Playboy’s standards at the time. It didn’t make it any less spectacular though.
3 Star: LATASHA MARZOLLA
The name, LaTasha Marzolla sound pretty sexy, and the athlete herself doesn’t disappoint. She’s the second fighter on this list, although if you didn’t know her and you set eyes on her, you’d deem her to be a lover, not a fighter. But she’s one fierce competitor. Schooled in the art of kickboxing, this blonde bombshell has gone on to have a pretty decent career. I’m talking about her all-round career in the limelight, not just what she does in the octagon. As a model, she’s extremely talented, has posed in a number of sultry pics that people just find irresistible. One of these pics is the one for Playboy. She posed for their Special Edition Series in 2002, and won plenty more fans because of it.
2 Star: ANITA MARKS
In the early 2000s, Anita Marks played professional women’s football, and took the WPFL by storm. The golden-haired hottie was a menacing footballer player on the field, but was still graceful, elegant, somehow was still able to look sizzling hot. She really was an awesome athlete, had the looks, the body, already had something of a fan following, and so Playboy decided they had to get some snaps of her with her kit off. She accepted, and that 2002 issue became one of the most memorable. Anita certainly wasn’t shy. She posed for a number of nude pics for Playboy in what was one memorable issue. It’s made Anita’s name resonate with football fans, even now, even though she’s long since retired. Her buddies in the media must be constantly undressing her with their eyes, because they know what she possesses.
1 FORGOT ABOUT: ROMY TARANGUL
Here’s another German athlete who posed in that 2008 Playboy Olympic Issue. I’m sure if you haven’t set your eyes on it as of yet, you’ll be scouring the internet trying to find those pics! You won’t have to look too hard either. But, with three other German athletes posing nude for the mag, if you do remember it, you may have forgotten about Romy Tarangul. That’s not because she wasn’t hot or anything like that. It’s just because they were all shown in pretty much the same light. Romy’s pose though, was probably the least sultry of the four. She looked super cute, sexy showing off a bit of her ample assets, but her pose wasn’t as striking as the others. But hopefully now, this judoka will stick in your minds.