Natalie Coughlin, Amanda Bingson And Kevin Love Cover The ESPN Body Issue
Bryce Harper, Kevin Love, Amanda Bingson, Odell Beckham, Jr., Chantae McMillan and Natalie Coughlin appear nude on their individual covers of ESPN The Magazine’s famous Body Issue.
ESPN Body Issue 2015
ESPN’s annual Body Issue has arrived, this year with six collectible covers – three featuring women, three featuring men. As has become tradition with the issue, each body is different and each athlete plays a different sport, showcasing the multitude of bodies and strength it takes to excel at professional sports.
Natalie Coughlin, 32, an Olympic swimmer, posed in the water for her stripped down cover, and showed off an impressive tan line in the photo spread inside the magazine. Coughlin made history at the 2008 Beijing Olympics when she won six medals – one gold, two silver and three bronze – one for each event she competed in. Despite being a record-breaking athlete, Coughlin revealed to ESPN that she faced some sexism when she returned to the sport after getting married and turning 30.
“I was turning 30 and married going into the 2012 Olympics, so everyone assumed I would retire, have babies and disappear. There are teammates on the male side that don’t get those questions. I just find it interesting that people so openly are like, ‘Yeah, this is obviously what you’re going to do, right?’” she said, adding that she has no plans to retire anytime soon.
And, while many might envy Coughlin’s toned swimmer’s body, the athlete admitted there is one body part she’s not entirely fond of: her arms. “I’m self conscious about my arms. It’s really hard to find a dress that’s a size 10 in the lats but a size 4 in the waist. But I want to be as successful as I can; if that means having big arms, I’ll take big arms,” she said.
Coughlin’s Body Issue cover-mate, Olympic hepathlete Chantae McMillan, revealed she has a similar problem when it comes to her arms: “My lats are super huge! They are always ripping dresses. It’s definitely happened when I’ve lifted my arms up, and you hear that tear…”
Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, 22, hinted that he was ready to strip for ESPN’s Body Issue this year after a year of head-to-toe training. “I worked hard this offseason to get my body where I needed to get it because, finally, I wasn’t hurt. I was able to work every single muscle in my body head to toe. …Now, I feel great. I feel light. My body feels unbelievable,” Harper, who also claimed to have 8 percent body fat, told the magazine.
The one thing Harper wishes he could change about his body is his abs, though it’s hard to see why after looking at his Body Issue cover. “I wish my abs were a little bit better. God gave me a great body, but I think my abs could be better than they are,” he admitted.
Odell Beckham Jr.
Cover star and wide receiver for the Giants, Odell Beckham, Jr., 22, credited his body to his mother. “I have my mom’s body. She was a six-time All-American [in track]. I have her exact body structure from head to toe – her wrists, arms, everything. I pretty much look like an identical twin of my mom,” he said.
Beckham also revealed that his mother was the one who really pushed him to become the athlete he is today, ever since he declared his dreams of being in the NFL at age 4: “I told my mom I was going to be a pro athlete at 4 years old. I was outside playing and it was cold, but I was just by myself throwing the football around. She was like, ‘What the hell are you doing outside?’ I told her: ‘I’m practicing for Sundays.’ Ever since, she’s pushed me to where I am today.”
It’s unclear whether or not Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kevin Love, 26, posed for his Body Issue cover before or after he suffered the injury that put him on the sidelines during the playoffs, but he did open up about it in his interview with the magazine. “This injury is one of the hardest things I’ve dealt with. It was really tough to go out the way that I did,” he said.
Love also opened up about his past as a “rounder” athlete, saying his love of food kept him from being slimmer in high school, but also taught him to focus on other aspects of the game. “I always looked at it as an advantage on the court. I was using my weight, and learning to get my touch and my footwork. Then in high school, when I started to lift weights, I was able to take off,” he said.
Finally, USA Track & Field hammer thrower Amanda Bingson, 25, opened up about her body, noting that her less sculpted physique proves professional athletes don’t all have to look like Greek Gods.
“Dense would be the right word for me. Generally when you look at athletes, you see their muscles and all that stuff; I don’t have any of that. My arm is just my arm – it’s not cut, it’s not sculpted. I don’t have traps bulging out to my ears; I have a neck. I don’t have a six-pack. My legs are a little toned, but they aren’t bulging out. I’m just dense. I think it’s important to show that athletes come in all shapes and sizes,” Bingson told the magazine.
Bingson opened up about the first time she realized people thought she was “fat” after a boy in middle school told her she was “too fat.” And Bingson admitted that she internalized it to some extent, especially when she lived in Las Vegas. But, her continued growth as an athlete and a move to Texas allowed her to find her confidence. “When I moved to Texas, everyone here is just so open about their bodies. I see these big girls in these tiny little bathing suits and I’m looking at them like, ‘Man, these girls are so confident!’ Now I just think, ‘I’m going to throw far because I’m confident with myself and I don’t have to worry about what I look like anymore,’” she said.