The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition might just be one of the most iconic magazine issues in the history of our world. Yes, we are counting everything. Nothing makes this more accurate than the fact that people still care about it despite the decline of magazines all over the world since the dawn of the Internet and social media. If anything, you can be sure that this is the one issue Sports Illustrated will probably never stop putting out even if they decide to become more of an online magazine rather than banking on the print version. The reason for that is because the swimsuit edition supposedly accounts for more than 10 percent of Sports Illustrated’s income. Yes, just this one edition represents more than 10 percent of all the money they make.
But there is much more than just the money involved in this issue of what is arguably the most famous magazine in all of sports. Yes, we occasionally get to see established athletes with top-notch brands appearing in the magazine. But more often than not, having your face on this issue of Sports Illustrated could mean a lot when it comes to brand recognition for an athlete. It is one of those shots that no one would really pass by. With that in mind, we decided to pick 15 female athletes we would love to see in the SI Swimsuit Edition. To make things even more fun we decided to diversify and not only focus on the usual sports, so you might see a lady or two you’re not familiar with on this list. In addition, we won't be including any athlete who has already graced the magazine.
15 Anastasia Bryzgalova
No one had a roller coaster ride in the 2018 Winter Olympics as crazy as the one Russian curler Anastasia Bryzgalova experienced in South Korea. This 25-year-old became instantly famous in the games because of how beautiful she is. Seriously, she made headlines all around the world with people claiming she was hands-down the most beautiful athlete competing in South Korea. She did well in the tournament too, as she and her husband won the bronze medal in the mixed competition.
Nevertheless, she also fell prey to something Russian athletes have become quite accustomed to. Her husband was caught in the doping scandal, and all hell broke loose. She should probably blow off some steam in the SI Swimsuit Edition. We know that not a single guy, with the possible exception of her husband, would complain. But then again, who cares, the guy is being accused of doping in curling, so that has to be a new low.
14 Michelle Jenneke
Michelle Jenneke might just be hands down the most beautiful track and field athlete in action today. She has yet to score a major result in professional competitions, but if her performances in junior competitions was a hint of anything, we could probably expect her to be headlining races in the future. After all, this is a woman who won the silver medal in the Youth Olympic Games.
Performance aside, she became a hit worldwide because of her pre-race tradition of doing a little dance for the fans whenever her name is called by the announcers through the stadium speakers. When it comes to photo shoots, she seems to be very comfortable in front of a camera, as her more than 477,000 fans on Instagram will confirm.
13 Mikaela Shiffrin
Mikaela Shiffrin is now expected to take the reins when it comes to the most famous and most beautiful active female skier. Now that Lindsey Vonn is set to retire from active competition, having announced the South Korea games were her last, it's time to turn to Shiffrin. Vonn, as we know has posed for the SI Swimsuit edition before and has even gone so far as to pose in body paint for the magazine. Shiffrin is 22 years old and made waves at this year's games by taking home a gold medal for the giant slalom event in PyongChang. She also took home a silver. Shiffrin seems set to have much more success in skiing and every man would be greteful if she graced the swimsuit edition in the next few years.
12 Alexa Bliss
She might not be the tallest woman on the WWE roster, but it is hard to deny that Alexa Bliss has proven her status as The Goddess of the WWE. It doesn’t matter what kind of storm the people behind-the-scenes try to throw at her, Alexa always brushes it off and comes out with that beautiful belt wrapped around her shoulder. At this point, we are convinced that even if she does lose that belt at some point, she will be given a chance to get it back and she will do so. That is just how much the people love her, and the WWE knows that you should give the people what they want. And since we are on that topic, SI should give the people what they want and try to score Alexa for their swimsuit issue. The WWE doesn't let their women pose for Playboy anymore, so why not go with the next best thing?
11 Silje Norendal
Anastasia Bryzgalova was what we could call the breakout star when it comes to looks at the 2018 Winter Olympics. However, that doesn’t mean she was the only beautiful woman competing in the games. Much on the contrary, if someone were to make a proportion of beautiful athletes to competitors, it would not be too much to claim that the Winter Olympics has more beautiful athletes than the summer games. Another athlete who embodied this tradition of beautiful athletes competing in the games was Norwegian snowboarder, Silje Norendal.
Despite being only 24 years old, Silje was already competing in her second Olympics. She didn’t come out with a medal around her neck, but she wasn’t too far from it either as she finished in fourth place in the ladies’ Slopestyle competition.
10 Gina Carano
Her last fight happened all the way back in 2009, but it is hard to claim that Gina Carano is not an athlete anymore. First and foremost, there is the fact that she still practices martial arts to the extent that the regular human population would not be able to even if they tried their hardest. This woman is a master when it comes to mixed martial arts, and she has not only proven that in professional competitions, but she has also proved that in the movies she starred in.
Yes, this mixed martial artist turned movie star is one of the people who has managed to change the image of badass women in movies. Not all of them need stunt doubles to put on those crazy moves. And if you doubt that she really is that good, you just have to look at her professional MMA record. Gina’s last fight was her only loss and she “retired” with a 7-1 record.
9 Bia And Branca Feres
Wait a minute, you mean to tell us there are beautiful twins who happen to be synchronized swimmers and Sports Illustrated still hasn't come calling with an offer to pose? What gives, SI?!
Bia and Branca Feres are Brazilian natives and they even share an Instagram account so their fans can see countless steamy pictures of them, but we can only imagine what the fine photographers at SI would be able to come up with. The twins haven't competed at the Olympics in a while, as they've managed to achieve mainstream fame in Brazil, but we say it's never too late to feature a beautiful pair of twins on an SI swimsuit edition. Even if they're past their sporting relevance, we're sure a lot of copies would still be sold.
8 Ekaterina Vandaryeva
What do you say we diversify a bit? Let’s steer away from the mainstream sports for a little bit and delve into the world of martial arts. And no, we are not talking about mixed martial arts. Let’s talk about kickboxing. For many people, kickboxing is something that a middle-aged teacher at a gym will teach you so you can lose weight without having to be on the treadmill for hours.
But all over the world, kickboxing is a way of living. There are kickboxing championships all around, and, believe it or not, there is good money in it. While one could imagine that because they get hit all the time, fighters would look ugly, that would be a wrong assumption. Just take a good look at the Belarusian kickboxer, Ekaterina Vandaryeva. She has 65 flights under her belt and still looks better than most other female athletes.
7 Zsuzsanna Jakabos
It’s finally time to jump into the water and add a swimmer to our list. Someone who is certainly not a stranger to bikinis, Zsuzsanna Jakabos could very well be a fitting face for the SI swimsuit issue. You will not find someone who says Zsuzsanna it is not beautiful. It will probably be the contrary. You will have a hard time making a case for her not being the most beautiful swimmer in action today. This woman is only 28 years old, and she has already competed in four different Olympics.
Sure, her best result was a sixth-place in the 4 x 200 m freestyle relay in both 2008 and 2016, but that is still number six in the world. In contrast to that, Zsuzsanna won a gold medal in the 2016 London European Championships.
6 Niki Gudex
Since we have opened the door for what some would call “unconventional” sports for this list, we might as well talk about mountain biking. Yes, after all, this is an Olympic sport now. And within the world of mountain biking, you will have a hard time finding an athlete who has a mix of beauty and skill like Niki Gudex.
Her mountain biking career might have taken a step back in recent years, but if someone like Niki appeared in a publication that is as massive in following as the SI Swimsuit Issue, it could turn out to be an incentive for people to start practicing and following the sport. This Australian biker rose through the ranks with blinding speed as just two years into her career, she was already a national champion in Australia.
5 Mari Paraiba
How about we throw some Brazilian flavor into the mix? Brazil has long been known for its people’s love for sports, their amazing parties (Carnaval), and their beautiful women. So why not pitch someone who embodies at least a couple of those traits? We don’t know how much she likes partying, but we can attest to the fact that Mari Paraiba is both one of the most beautiful and one of the best volleyball players of her time. That is no easy feat since volleyball is an incredibly competitive sport in which a lot of beautiful women play.
Mari, however, is a beautiful and decorated athlete who won a gold medal with the Brazilian national team during the World Grand Prix in 2016. A fun fact is that she also posed for Playboy in Brazil back in 2012.
4 Darya Klishina
No list like this would be complete without a solid representative from the field competitions in track and field. The chosen one for this honor was none other than the Russian long jumper, Darya Klishina. There are a lot of reasons of why people should respect Klishina and her work. What shouldn’t be one but still is, is the fact that despite being part of a Russian delegation of athletes who seemed dead-set on competing while using performance-enhancing drugs, Klishina was one of the few who stayed away from the cheaters. She was one of the few athletes who was still allowed by the Olympic Committee to compete as they deemed her character above the doping allegations against all the others.
For better or for worse, she responded to everything on the track and recently won a silver medal at the World Championships last year.
3 Hilary Knight
Women's hockey is on the rise in the United States as was proven by the women's gold medal win at the 2018 Olympics, where they finally defeated their archrival Canada in the gold medal game after dropping the previous four finals. One hockey player that always gets viewers' attention is Hillary Knight, not only because she's a star player and has been the female face of the sport for the women's game, but she is also incredibly beautiful and is constantly destroying stereotypes that people think of when they think of women's hockey players. Knight has achieved a considerable level of fame, but her popularity would increase drastically if she took the leap and posed for SI, as sports fans worldwide would finally get to see how beautiful female hockey players can be.
2 Victoria Pendleton
One of the most amazing things to watch as a sports fan is to see an athlete being able to perform at a world-class level in more than one sport. Yes, these kinds of people are rare, but they do exist. And an even more rare feat is to find one of these athletes who are as beautiful as they are good in every sport they practice.
The perfect example of this mixture of traits is a woman who became known by the nickname Queen Victoria. Probably no relation to the former ruler of the British Empire, but Victoria Pendleton is also a lady who stands in a league of her own. Arguably one of the most successful British female Olympians as a sprint cyclist, she could not stay away from sports for too long, and after giving up that career, she became a jockey.
1 Fatima Melo
Since we do reserve ourselves a little spot on our list for a controversial entry, we decided to burn the one for this list with Fatima Moreira de Melo. The reason for that is that some people will make the ridiculous claim that poker is not a sport. Come on, grow up, poker is definitely a sport. But even if we were to lose that argument, we could say that the beautiful Fatima still qualifies for this list because she was a professional field hockey player.
Not only that, this Dutch beauty was a gold medalist with the Netherlands national team in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. After she retired from field hockey, Fatima decided to focus her attention on poker, which seems to have been a good choice as she is one of the most famous female poker players in the world today.