Sports tend to be dominated by men, and sometimes women’s sports are a bit harder to sell. But strong female athletes are fascinating role models, and many sports fans want to know everything about them - where they train, why they play, and even what's going on in their personal lives. Maybe it's their top-notch physique; their astounding skills and agility, their toughness mixed with beauty...who knows? But what we do know is that some of these female athletes aren't afraid of showing a little skin. When the swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated comes out every year, both men and women flock to the magazine to get a peek at their favorite lady athlete in little clothing.
For the female athlete whp wants to go a little more risqué and shed not just a little, but all of their clothing, they may play with the idea of becoming a playmate. Whether it's for a boost of confidence and empowerment, or a boost in publicity, there have been many female athletes who have made an appearance in the naughty magazine. Many of these women will make their appearances post-Olympics or after their competitive careers are over - likely, to avoid any controversy. Their appearances in the magazine have still, however, stirred up some debate as to whether these athletes should be considered as role models.
Whether it is implied nudity, a risqué outfit, showing off a little booty or going full frontal, the following are the ten top female athletes who have posed for Playboy. After seeing them sweat it out in the competitive venue, these athletes have portrayed a different side for all the world to see. The women listed here have not only daunting natural beauty, but they chose to show off their bodies after toughing it out in their respective sports, which makes them all the more attractive.
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10 LaTasha Marzolla
Many Playboy fans might believe LaTasha Marzolla is primarily a Playboy model. That may be true, but she has also proven recently that she is more than a capable kick boxer and MMA fighter. When it comes to Playboy, she has graced a full seven covers of the magazine. While, unlike most on our list, she is a model first and an athlete second athlete, Marzolla's a perfect example for other models who want to break away from the traditional image.
9 Maria Butyrskaya – 1998
When it comes to a successful figure skating career, Maria Butyrskaya is living proof that hard work pays off. In the 1998 Olympic games, Maria placed fourth, and not too long after the conclusion, she accepted an offer to pose nude for Playboy. Maria would return to the 2002 Winter Games to place sixth. The figure skater hails from Russia and along with the Olympics, she also won the 1999 World Championship, and the Russian National Figure Skating Championship six times. Needless to say, she is a tenacious athlete who also isn’t afraid to shed some clothes and show off her softer side.
8 Mia St. John - 1999
7 Pasha Grishuk – 1999
6 Joanie Laurer – 2000 and 2002
5 Gabrielle Reece – 2001
4 Kiana Tom – 2002
3 Amy Acuff – 2004
2 Amanda Beard – 2007
1 Maria Kanellis – 2008
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