As I’m sure you know, USA swimmer Amanda Beard has posed nude yet again. This time it's for PETA. Although there was talk that she'd be photographed in front of a bunch of Olympic complexes naked, that didn't exactly happen. Instead she strolled around with the photo you see above. But since she's a four-time Olympian, and pretty much naked in the picture, this is obviously big news. But it also raises the issue - yet again - of should women Olympic athletes pose nude? For whatever reason, perhaps because the Olympics are a worldwide event, we seem to go through this question during every Olympics. As if a woman athlete posing suggestively for a magazine or for Playboy will set our nation back 40 years. Personally, I don't think it's my right to tell a woman Olympic athlete what she should do. It's her decision.
Plus, it's also somewhat odd - even though I'm not exactly in the all-nude camp - that the original Olympics were all in the buff, and yet so many people get bent out of shape these days about nudity. But the truth is, women Olympians have been getting totally naked for quite a while, and it's been predominantly through Playboy, which Beard posed for in 2007.
So since Beard has us all talking about this again, and the Olympics are on the verge of starting, we might as well dig into the dust bin to find all the Olympians who have ever posed for Playboy - both domestic and international. Many of them were/are highly decorated athletes and you'd be surprised how frequently Eastern Europeans have appeared in the magazine (or at least the foreign versions).
Anyway, nothing here will be NSFW, but we'll provide you the necessary links.
1. Svetlana Khorkina - The Russian gymnast has a ridiculous 27 international medals to her name, from both the Olympics and World Championships. However, early on in her career, and only a year after she won individual gold on the uneven bars in Atlanta, she posed for Playboy's Russian magazine. Her mother thought she looked beautiful. Her father went absolutely ballistic. But it didn't do anything to hurt her career, as she kept racking up medals through the 2004 Games. [NSFW link]
2. Maria Butyrskaya - Had a long and decorated career as a Russian figure skater. In 1999, she became the oldest person to win the ladies' singles title at the World Figure Skating Championships. She also won bronze medals at the 1998 and 2000 World Championships. She placed fourth at the 1998 Winter Olympics and sixth at the 2002 Winter Olympics. She appeared in the November 1998 Russian issue of Playboy. [NSFW link]
3. Katarina Witt - Easily the most celebrated athlete to ever pose for Playboy. She won women's figure skating gold medals in the 1984 and 1988 Winter Olympics and won 4 World Championship golds. Perhaps even more impressive, Witt's December 1998 appearance in Playboy was the second ever sold-out issue of this magazine. The first sold-out issue? That was the inaugural one which had photos of Marilyn Monroe. So pretty select company. And as an added bonus, Witt was also in the movie Ronin. [NSFW link]
4. Amy Acuff - Beijing will be Acuff's 4th Olympic Games as a high jumper. However, she has yet to medal in the Olympics. What she'll probably always be best known for is being the cover girl for the September 2004 "Women of the Olympics" edition of Playboy, which featured five Olympians in total. [NSFW link]
5. Haley Cope - Cope joined Acuff in the 2004 Olympics edition of Playboy. She earned a silver medal by swimming in the prelims of the 400 medley relay in Athens, but aside from that had an uninspiring Olympic career. Hopefully she got cut a decent check for her pics. [NSFW link 1, NSFW link 2 (second athlete down)]
6. Ineta Radeviča - Radeviča was also in the 2004 Olympics issue. She won two triple jump NCAA championships while competing for the University of Nebraska. In the 2004 Summer Olympics, while competing for Latvia, she placed 13th in the triple jump and 20th in the long jump. [NSFW link 1, NSFW link 2, NSFW link 3]
7. Zhanna Pintusevich-Block - Block was a two-time world champion sprinter who also posed in the 2004 issue. She never wound up medaling in the Olympics and was later identified by Victor Conte as having taken illegal performance-enhancing drugs in the BALCO scandal - which if you search around for pictures of her, you can clearly understand why. Although my guess is A-Rod would totally dig her. [NSFW link, if you dare (third athlete down)]
8. Fanni Juhasz - An extremely obscure Hungarian pole-vaulter who also appeared in the 2004 Olympic issue. She didn't do anything of note at the 2004 Olympics and pictures of her are nearly impossible to find - hence this random photo of her on some street. I'm not even sure how Playboy found her, in all honesty. [NSFW link (far right hand corner, although I'm not even sure that's her)]
9. Amanda Beard - She's obviously the best known of everyone on the list right now. Beijing is Beard's 4th Olympics. She broke on to the scene in 1996 as a 14-year old winning silver medals in the 100-meter and 200-meter breaststrokes, and a gold in the medley relay. In 2004 she won a gold medal in the 200-meter breaststroke, her first individual gold medal. She also won a silver medal in the 200-meter individual medley, and she finished fourth in the 100-meter breaststroke. She also grew up pretty fast from being a shy 14-year-old. She appeared in the 2004 Olympians shoot for FHM, the 2006 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, and she of course posed for the July 2007 issue of Playboy. [NSFW link]
And I know you ladies want something as well. Olympian Bruce Jenner appeared on the cover of Playgirl in 1982, but that's it. He just did an interview with the magazine.
Of course, the question after these Olympics end will be who joins Beard and crew? I guess we'll have to wait and find out.