All The Athletes From ESPN’s 11th Edition Of The Body Issue, The Last For The Print Magazine

05 September 2019
Athletes, ESPN, Body issue, Chris Paul
Image: Gary Land for ESPN

After news that ESPN Magazine would be folding this September, the latest edition of The Body Issue is an historic reminder of an iconic moment in print history

In April of this year, avid sports fans and fastidious readers of ESPN’s print magazine were presented with the devastating news that the print magazine would be no more. After 21 years in the industry and having published some of the greatest writing on sport, the physical publication would be shut down come September, according to Sports Business Daily’s John Ourand.

The Worldwide Leader said in a statement: “Consumer habits are evolving rapidly, and this requires ESPN to evolve as well. The only change here is that we are moving away from printing it on paper and sending it in the mail…Our data shows the vast majority of readers already consume our print journalism on digital platforms, and this approach will maximise our reach and impact.”

That technology has significantly altered the landscape of print and publishing is undeniable, but even if you never found yourself to be a regular reader of ESPN The Magazine, you’d likely be familiar with one of its main yearly staples: The Body Issue.

The Body Issue features dozens of athletes in nude and semi-nude photographs, and unlike the centrefolds you’d expect in other men’s magazines, the images have actually been somewhat instrumental in shining a light on body positivity and acceptance of the human body in all its shapes and sizes. More importantly, and particularly for its female readership, The Body Issue championed the whole “strong is sexy” movement long before Instagram trainers and influencers took to the social media platform to do the same.

ESPN have since released photos of all 21 athletes who participated in the 2019 Body Issue which will also serve as a memorable one, issued in the final print edition of ESPN The Magazine. “We hope readers enjoy this year’s Body Issue and learning about the lives of the many incredible athletes who are featured,” Alison Overholt, Vice President, Editorial Director and Executive Producer of ESPN, said in a press release.

From Chris Paul to the Philadelphia Eagles Offensive Line, these athletes have bared all for the publication. Even pictured is Kelley O’Hara, who was part of Team USA’s gold medal-winning performance at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Speaking to the publication about how she has come to appreciate her body, O’Hara said: “I haven’t always loved my body. I mean, I’ve always appreciated it, but as a teenager, going through puberty and all that stuff, you look at the magazines and you’re like, ‘Oh, I want that hourglass figure; why doesn’t my body look like that?”

If you fancy purchasing a piece of history, the 11th annual ESPN Body Issue is out on September 6.

Via GQ Australia