Unveiled: The ESPN Body Issue 2014 Edition

Published On July 14, 2014 | By Shanda Foster

It’s my favorite time of the year; the release of the ESPN Magazine: Body Issue, which highlights the bodies of various athletes to celebrate their many different body types, shapes and sizes.  We all obsess over our bodies and how we look in the mirror naked and this issue covers an array of athlete bodies that are all different from one another and teaches us that being “in shape” doesn’t always look the same.

Michael PhelpsI applaud ESPN year after year for being diverse and showing us all that we’re are all equally beautiful. Women’s Olympic Hockey player Julie Chu who was in the 2011 Body Issue told Time Magazine, “I think that issue really highlights that there’s a lot of different types of bodies for elite athletes, and all of them can be beautiful and strong and confident.”

Last year boasted the outstanding physiques of many including Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski and this year was no different. Who made the body Issue covers out the 2014 class? Only this year’s best, including; Olympic snowboarder Jamie Anderson, Seattle Seahawk running back Marshawn Lynch, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, Oklahoma Thunder forward Serge Ibaka, Texas Ranger first baseman Prince Fielder and Tennis Champion Venus Williams but they are all amazing in their own right. Their stories all unique and some inspirational.  Venus Williams


One of my favorites of the class of 2014 is Rangers Prince Fielder, who shocked many by posing this year because he doesn’t have the typical athlete hard body but that didn’t stop him from showcasing himself in the issue, though he says he gets ragged on because of his size. When he was asked about posing nude He told ESPN:

“A lot of people probably think I’m not athletic or don’t even try to work out or whatever, but I do. Just because you’re big doesn’t mean you can’t be an athlete. And just because you work out doesn’t mean you’re going to have a 12-pack. I work out to make sure I can do my job to the best of my ability. Other than that, I’m not going up there trying to be a fitness model.” Prince Fielder

All 21 athletes looked fantastic but the one that resonated with me the most was Paralympian Amy Purdy who told the story of how she lost her legs and having the confidence to pose for the Body Issue and the importance of staying positive. Purdy told ESPN:

“Within 24 hours, I was in the hospital on life support, and I was given less than a 2 percent chance of living. It took five days for the doctors to find out that I had contracted bacterial meningitis. I ended up losing my legs below the knees from septic shock. But I have to say that if I had not gone through that experience, I certainly wouldn’t be where I’m at today.” Amy Purdy

Stories like these are what make the Body Issue so important. To be able to connect to readers and let them know that its ok to love the skin your in is so important. We as fans watch our athletes with perfect bodies and lavish lifestyles. Having even a small window into the personal insecurities they have and knowing that is normal gives me more respect for them and what they do. As a woman, I was diagnosed with uterine cancer at 32. I had major surgery, which left a large stomach scar. I was embarrassed to wear certain types of clothes or go to the beach for 2 years but being able to identify with someone who has overcome so much adversity gives me the courage to change my views. I hope this will inspire all of you as well!

Great job ESPN!

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About The Author

Shanda Foster is a media personality who got her start as a journalist. She began her career writing press releases and bios for clients at a public relations company. She then decided to pursue her passion of journalism and started contributing to fashion and entertainment online publications. Foster went on to contribute for other publications and began writing an entertainment column for Examiner.com. In 2009, Shanda entered the broadcast media world as the third member of Playaction Sports Radio. Her entertainment reporting, sports knowledge and humorous personality gained her attention locally. So sit back and enjoy the ride!