Athlete nabs unusual Sports Illustrated cover

ANNIE STEVENS
Last updated 09:51 28/02/2014
Sports Illustrated
COVERED UP: Mikeala Schiffin's Sports Illustrated cover.

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The magazine famous for putting female athletes in their swimsuits in its swimsuit edition, and most recently for putting that girl about town, Barbie (you know, the impossibly genetically perfect doll) on its cover has made a somewhat shocking announcement.

Sports Illustrated have announced that they're going to feature Sochi Olympic gold medalist 18 year-old Mikaela Shiffrin on one of four covers released post the Sochi Winter Olympics, and she is going to be fully clothed. Not a flash of flesh to be seen.

I suppose we must mention that her skiing costume is skin tight. But still, a begrudging nod of approval in the magazine's direction.

Though it's not the first time a woman has appeared with her kit on when gracing the cover of the magazine.

Perennial magazine favourite Kate Upton caused a fuss last year when she covered the magazine in a baseball uniform. Luckily the Daily Mail was on hand to inform us that she looked just as sexy with her clothes on. Phew. 

Even still, an athlete such as Mikaela Shiffin not having to strip to be recognised for her accomplishments, unlike her fellow Russian athletes who were photographed in highly sexualised ways pre-Olympics is a win. 

When we can move beyond appreciating female athletes for their achievements rather than their bodies there will be actual progress, and I imagine, more clothed Sports Illustrated covers.

As Ruby Hamad wrote in her piece earlier this year, For sportswomen, looks matter, there's still a way to go.

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"Audiences are groomed by many in the world of sports and media to value female athletes on their looks.

"In this world, the faceless bodies of female surfers are used to titillate as a means of promoting tournaments, tennis players are valued on 'marketability' as journalists unapologetically ask about the impact of breast surgery on a player's (sex) life, the endless training of professional athletes is reduced to an effort to keep themselves 'sexy' for male viewers, and 'average-looking' girls are reprimanded for winning Wimbledon."

Congratulations Mikeala Shiffin for being a champion at skiing.

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