Timaru teen skates into Playboy magazine

Last updated 00:00 26/09/2007
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EYE-CATCHING: Playboy magazine wants to use photos of Timaru world champion speedskater Nicole Begg in their January edition.

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Playboy magazine is chasing Timaru speedskater Nicole Begg – but not as a centrefold.

Playboy photo editor Matt Steigbigel said the magazine was preparing its annual pop culture 'News in Review' feature for the January edition and would like to use one or two photos of Nicole.

The photos will appear only in the United States edition of the magazine.

In April the 19-year-old world champion appeared on the front page of The Timaru Herald with one of her series of "sexy" shots undertaken for overseas magazines and websites.

Begg had stripped off in an attempt to lift her international profile and that of her sport by undressing and she has allowed Playboy to use two of them in their 'News in Review' section.

The revealing photos had an immediate impact, with some of the websites carrying the photos crashing due to surge in demand.

Interviewed on radio stations around the world, Begg was bagged by a fellow Chilean competitor, who claimed the shots were vulgar – and immediately did a series of her own photographs.

At the time the world champion said she was a bit nervous at the start of the shoot but decided it was no worse than what could been seen on most European beaches.

"Lots of sports stars, both male and female, have done this sort of thing before."

Often they have done it for big money offers from magazines, but Begg's motivation is simply to increase her profile in the hope of attracting a sponsor and also increase the profile of inline skating.

Playboy magazine is likely to fulfil both those aims as it is the largest monthly men's magazine in the United States and has a circulation around 3.25 million readers.

In June, United States Olympic swimmer Amanda Beard posed nude.

Beard, who won three medals in the 1996 Olympics at the age of 14, had previously appeared in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and in FHM.

Begg, who was nominated for the Halberg Awards but missed the finals, will again be in contention after grabbing her second world title in Columbia last month.

She also performed well on the road in Germany at the weekend winning her second World Inline Cup race of the season to lift her to fourth overall in the championships.

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- The Timaru Herald

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