Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The body beautiful

The Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue has nothing on The Body Issue of ESPN The Magazine. I view SI as soft porn, whereas ESPN actually honors athletes. The Body Issue celebrates the athletic form by showcasing bodies of every size and shape, and from just about every sport. They also tackle every aspect of physicality -- from hard bodies to injuries to virtual reality.

There's more to see on the Web site, with photo galleries and videos. I could have done without watching Blake "Bilko" Williams undergo ACL surgery. But that's just me; I happen to be squeamish about surgery.

Favorite images? It's hard to say. ESPN must have had an equally hard time, because it printed six different covers.

The one that arrived in my mailbox was arresting and effective in getting me to sit down and read the whole issue. Normally, I just hand it over to my husband. What I first saw was a beautiful model. Then I realized it was an athlete. Then I saw the prosthesis. There she was, Sarah Reinertsen, the first female above-knee amputee to become an Ironman, having completed the hardest triathlon there is -- in Kona, Hawaii. Her artificial leg was all she had on. It was all she needed.