Feb 212002

I’m all for women in sports.I was caught up in the feminine fever of the last Women’s World Cup – You know, when the U.S. women’s soccer team members ripped off their shirts.

And you have to be proud of CSU’s women. Our volleyball team is annually a top 10 power, and the women’s basketball team earns a berth in the NCAA tourney year-in and year-out.

This week, I’ve found myself rooting for the U.S. women’s hockey team, while switching back to catch Michelle Kwan and her four-minute performance. I even caught a few ends of women’s curling the other night.

But this time of year, I’m even more into women in sports. Thursday was the day I’ve been anticipating for the past 51 weeks. As many of you fortunate ones also found out, my Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue arrived.

Women have taken over my magazine, but you won’t find me complaining. It’s my most coveted issue of the year (though I was a little disappointed when no 3-D glasses came with this year’s issue).

But it’s ironic that the week it comes out this year happens to be one of the most sports-fulfilled weeks to ever come along: the second week of the Olympics. While many of our most talented athletes are soaking in their 15 minutes of fame – and even on home turf – the most respected sports publication in the nation fails to place any of the events under its cover. There’s a story about an overweight, over-the-hill soccer player from Argentina, but no coverage of the skeleton preliminaries.

But every year, this issue comes with controversy. Usually it’s, “Why are models on the cover of Sports Illustrated?” “Swimsuit modeling is not a sport.” “Heidi Klum should be the cover-bearer, not Yamila Diaz-Rahi.”

Knowing this, SI is always prepared with a justification. It defends itself every year. To answer the most important question: Klum has already graced the cover and is a well-established model; Diaz-Rahi is a budding star.

But seriously, SI has gone to great lengths in defending its popular issue. A couple weeks ago, the magazine questioned people in sports on whether or not swimsuit modeling is truly a sport. To no one’s surprise, the consensus was yes. “It’s swimming, so it’s a sport,” one athlete responded.

SI even sent out its top writer, Rick Reilly, to defend the issue. Going behind the scenes (would you believe the things they make journalists do these days), Reilly found out the true rigors of swimsuit modeling.

“Swimsuit models are a lot like athletes. They get paid big bucks to perform under bright lights wearing lots of padding.”

So although money is the main reason the swimsuit issue comes out annually, it does serve a purpose. It may not cover so-called “real” sports for a week, but the swimsuit issue can change lives. Modeling and photography careers take off. And in one instance, the cover model for a swimsuit issue wound up marrying the writer assigned to feature her in his article.

Too bad the Collegian doesn’t put out a swimsuit issue. n

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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