Tag Archives: ESPN The Magazine

ESPN The Magazine 2013 Body Issue

5 Things We Love About ESPN the Magazine’s 2013 Body Issue

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Golfer Gary Player (above) and motocross racer Tarah Gieger (below) are two of the athletes featured on ESPN The Magazine’s eight Body Issue covers.

So maybe ESPN The Magazine’s Body Issue isn’t as controversial as it used to be, but it’s still a hot topic when it’s released every year. Here are five reasons to love the 2013 celebration of the athletic form.

Another year, another installment of ESPN The Magazine’s “The Body Issue.” Since 2009, the printed spin-off of the all-sports, all-the-time channel has been celebrating the perfectly chiseled bodies of athletes at the top of their game.

After five years, the annual Body Issue doesn’t quite have the same shock value it used to, but the editors still manage to keep the buzz alive around its content to make it the magazine’s most talked about edition year after year.

Here’s our take on what’s so great about ESPN The Magazine’s 2013 Body Issue.

It covers a variety of sports. The 2012 Body Issue—obviously inspired by the Summer Olympic Games—featured a bunch of buff athletes representing a wide range of sports. Even in the absence of such a major sporting event, the 2013 installment managed to impress again.

Aside from the baseball, basketball and football players that we expect to see, the 2013 issue covered an exceptional list of sports that are often overshadowed by the major ones. Among the athletes representing, an NHRA Funny Car Driver, motocross racer, snowboarder, boxer, UFC fighter and rock climbers.

It challenges long-held body image notions. For years, fashion magazines have nearly convinced us pencil thin is beautiful—especially when it comes to women’s bodies. But the female form featured in the Body Issue is anything but, making it a welcome challenge to that idea.

Notably, motocross racer and X-Games medalist Tarah Gieger’s muscular body is a far cry from the “thin is in” fashion mantra. But, further, it shows the level of conditioning required to succeed and Gieger’s dedication to do so.

It’s a reminder that age is just a number. This is closely related to body image, but we’re often conditioned to think that athletes beyond a certain age just fade away. But 77-year-old golfer Gary Player serves as a reminder—on one of the issue’s eight covers, no less—that just because you’re not in the prime of your career doesn’t mean you automatically let yourself go.

Perhaps even more fitting, especially in this vein, Player is the oldest athlete to ever be featured in ESPN The Magazine’s Body Issue.

It draws on artistic inspiration. The majority of the Body Issue’s photography is quite artistic anyway, using angles, shadows or props (sometimes ridiculous in nature) to cleverly conceal certain body parts so we don’t quite see, well, everything.

But in this 2013 issue, the photography appeared to gain some inspiration from mythology and art. Both Gary Player and Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton are pictured in an Atlas-like pose, depicting the mythological bearer of the heavens who is often shown hoisting the world on his shoulders. Player is shown with an oversized golf ball, while Stanton is shown in a more authentic presentation with a globe.

In another pose, Stanton looks reminiscent of Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, standing with his arms outstretched. Da Vinci’s drawing shows a sketch that depicts both the extended arms and legs in a range of motion.

It’s a collection of great photography. Well, most of it anyway. While all the athletes’ bodies can be respected and admired, sometimes the photos don’t do them justice. The best ones show the athletic form within the context it’s meant to excel, such as Gieger’s photos on the motorcycle, rock climbers Chris Sharma and Daila Ojeda in action, or boxer Marlen Esparza in the ring.

But others lose some of the power they could have, such as Washington Wizards guard John Wall’s pose in the bathtub, snowboarder Elena Hight’s shots with the grill or New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey setting out dirty room service dishes in a hotel hallway.

ESPN The Magazine can do—and has done—better in that regard, and it’s not the first time we’ve noticed.

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ESPN the Magazine’s Age Issue and the Changing Attitudes Towards Sports and Aging

ESPN the Magazine Oct. 1, 2012 issueIn sports, adoration is largely reserved for the seemingly unlimited potential of youth, but some magazines are changing their approach to athletes and aging.

The relationship between sports and aging is tenuous at best. The youthful phenoms are adored, the legends are revered—despite the constant need to discover and herald their replacements—and the over-the-hill are often not so quietly urged to make a graceful exit.

But aging within the sport has largely gone unexamined, its effects unknown until it is too late—such as the case with NFL stars now battling the effects of repeated head injuries before the preventive measures and precautions of today’s game were put in place.

ESPN the Magazine broached the subject in a different way in its first-ever Age Issue, which hit newsstands on Friday. In the Oct. 1 issue, the magazine follows four Major Leaguers at different stages of their careers, starting with the phenom at 21 and the aging veteran at 33.

Of course, in a sports culture that celebrates youth, the phenom—Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout—was featured on the cover.

Beyond merely baseball, the issue touts general age analytics, including career expectancy projections and the peak age at every position in every sport.

Back to baseball, another article examines the “real age” of 38-year-old New York Mets pitcher Robert Allen Dickey’s pitching arm. The magazine surmises that his preferred knuckle ball reduces the wear and tear—and thus age—of his pitching arm, which it rates as that of a 32-year-old.

In recent weeks, some magazine covers have taken the more usual approach to sports aging. Relative league newcomers and hyped QBs Cam Newton and Tim Tebow were celebrated on GQ’s NFL Kick-Off issue.

Tebow’s appeaSports Illustrated Sept. 10, 2012 issuerance was the source of controversy since the New York Jets QB received “starter” attention, though he’s Mark Sanchez’s backup on the squad, and the photos used were recycled from his superstardom as the University of Florida’s all-everything quarterback.

His latest feature in Vogue’s October issue is sure to draw more criticism, as he poses shirtless (again) and deflects any want for attention, despite what some would say is the obvious appearance to the contrary.

Meanwhile, another’s approach may signal why a greater examination is needed between the two subjects. Sports Illustrated featured former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon, but from his girlfriend’s perspective as she’s become the caregiver for a heralded athlete affected by the violence of the sport in which he excelled.

Such suffering by McMahon and others of his era have helped bring awareness to the severity of head injuries in the NFL—and other sports—and have led to measures to minimize injury in the game.

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Team USA’s Best Moments in the 2012 London Games So Far

With more than a week remaining in the London Games, let’s pause to reflect on Team USA’s best moments thus far. Could one of these be the defining moment of this Olympiad?

Not halfway through these Summer Olympics, we’ve seen plenty of history made, records broken, tears of joy and heartbreak, and, of course, controversy. But have we seen the overall defining moment of these Games?

It’s hard to believe there’s another week-plus of competition ahead—and who knows what the rest of the schedule could hold? Lest we forget, these are Team USA’s best moments so far. Maybe, just maybe, one (or more) of them will be what we remember long after the Olympic flame in London is extinguished.

Women’s Gymnastics Captures Team Gold Medal

The Fab Five tumbled, back-flipped and vaulted their way into our hearts on their way to earning gold in team competition. The diminutive phenoms, as expected, ended the drought of top-medal honors that dated back to the 1996 Atlanta Games and the Magnificent Seven—another Olympic-defining moment that pre-dates the entire team.

Gabby Douglas Shines With All-Around Gymnastics Gold Medal

If anything outshone the gold medal-winning performance of the women’s gymnastics team, it had to be Gabby Douglas’ megawatt smile, which only seemed to get bigger and brighter after she won gold in the all-around competition—becoming the first African-American in Olympic history to do so. She’ll soon be lighting up a breakfast table near you, as she’ll grace boxes of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes cereal.

Michael Phelps Earns Most Decorated Olympian Title

As someone who can claim the title of the “greatest swimmer in history,” what record does Michael Phelps not hold? He’s got the all-time record for golds, most golds in individual competition and most golds in the same individual events at consecutive Olympic Games. Now that he’s added most decorated Olympian of all time to his already impressive resume, he says the London Games are his last.

Missy Franklin Gives Aurora, Colorado Reason to Cheer

The much ballyhooed Phelps vs. Lochte showdown may seem to overshadow any other swimming competition, but not where Missy Franklin and Aurora, Colorado are concerned. The teenaged record-setter has won two gold medals so far and—maybe most importantly—given her hometown something to cheer about after a deadly movie theater shooting just a week before the Games began.

Kayla Harrison Wins First-Ever Olympic Gold for U.S. in Judo

Kayla Harrison experienced the lowest point in her life to her highest, all in relation to judo. After being sexually abused by her coach as a young teen, Harrison wanted to give up the sport altogether. But instead she fought back to ultimately stand on top of the world as the best in her sport and make U.S. Olympic history. The emotion of the moment boiled over as she broke down on the medal stand.

Kim Rhode Takes Aim at History—and Makes It

With a near-perfect performance in London, the American double trap and skeet shooter became the first from the United States to medal in five consecutive Olympic Games. By hitting 99 of 100 clays in London, Kim Rhode equaled the world record en route to earning her record-setting medal—a gold in skeet shooting—to add to her collection.

Now through the duration of the Summer Games, get ESPN The Magazine for the gold medal deal of just $19.50 for a one-year subscription!

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5 of the Most Inspiring Athletes Competing in the 2012 Summer Olympics

Once the torch is lit in London, athletes can continue—or begin—their quest for gold. While every Olympian trains years for this moment, these five have had to do even more.

When the 2012 Summer Olympics officially kick off in London tonight, we know that for the next 17 days we’ll see inspiring performances from athletes who’ve trained for years to achieve peak athletic form.

We’ll learn new names and get to know their stories. We’ll witness records broken and endless emotional moments on the medal stand. Every athlete carves a different path on his or her way to the Olympics, but some must overcome great personal or physical odds to have even the chance to compete on the world’s biggest stage.

While every Olympian is an inspiration, these five have already won in many ways, but perhaps a gold medal isn’t out of the question at these Summer Games.

Lopez Lomong, Track & Field, United States: Captured by Sudanese rebels at the age of 6, Lomong eventually escaped and ran—over the course of three days—to the safety of a refugee camp in Kenya. One of the “Lost Boys of Sudan” in the Second Sudanese Civil War, Lomong later found a home in the U.S., became a citizen and adjusted to his new country the only way he knew how: running. The 27-year-old continues his race for his first gold in his second Olympic Games.

Oscar Pistorius, Track & Field, South Africa: After losing both legs because of a bone disorder at only 11 months old, Pistorius would be a long shot to compete in any track event, much less at the Olympics. But with the help of his carbon-fiber limbs, the 25-year-old Paralympic gold- and silver-medalist will be the first amputee to ever compete on a track at the able-bodied Olympics.

Im Dong Hyun, Archery, South Korea: Despite being legally blind, Im is one of the world’s most decorated archers—and a two-time team gold medalist for his sport, winning in Beijing in 2008 and Athens in 2004. With only 10 percent vision in his left eye and 20 for his right, the 26-year-old will aim for a third gold in London. Already, he’s off to a promising start having broken his own points record during preliminary competition for rankings in these games.

Oksana Chusovitina, Gymnastics, Germany: If gymnastics is a sport primarily for the young and younger, Chusovitina wasn’t aware. The 37-year-old will take to the beam and the vault against fellow gymnasts, some half her age, for an astounding sixth Olympic Games appearance. And she’s not just hanging on. She medaled at last fall’s world championships and isn’t ready to count out her participation in the 2016 Games in Brazil.

Nur Suryani Mohd Taibi, Shooting, Malaysia: Imagine the pressure of competing at the Olympics, let alone while eight months pregnant. Taibi, the first female shooter representing her country, will also be the closest to giving birth of the few women who’ve participated in the Olympics while with child. The 29-year-old is shooting for her first medal in London—and hoping she can do it before going into labor. In reference to a recent debate waging in magazines and blogs, how’s that for having it all?

Now through the duration of the Summer Games, get ESPN The Magazine for the gold medal deal of just $19.50 for a one-year subscription!

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ESPN The Magazine’s Body Issue and the Difference Between Good and Great Photos

ESPN The Magazine Body Issue cover

Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista is featured on one of six different Body Issue covers.

When 27 athletes strip down for a magazine, tongues usually wag. But four years later and shock value gone, let’s just say there’s a difference between good and great photos.

Whenever the clothes come off, the controversy piles on, so expect to hear some murmurings when ESPN The Magazine’s Body Issue hits newsstands on Friday. Or maybe not.

By the fourth installment of this annual celebration of the human body, maybe we’re over the shock value of seeing athletes in their very chiseled—but very buff, save for the strategically placed hand, shadow or sporting apparatus—form.

Already, slideshows and galleries of the 27 athletes with the “bodies we want,” so labeled by the magazine, are making their rounds on the Internet. Were it so controversial, the Twitter-verse should have alerted us by now.

This year’s expanded crop is no doubt thanks to the upcoming Summer Olympic Games that begin later this month in London. We’ll be seeing some of these athletes from the national soccer, rowing, track and field, and volleyball teams compete in just a few short weeks—albeit with some clothing on.

While not every photo is of the most compelling artistic quality, many are. The most captivating are the black-and-whites and muted tones of athletes featured with a discus or a soccer ball, or in mid-kick, mid-leap or mid-sprint. Some will even make you wonder how many takes it took to capture the photo just right.

Others, like the ones featuring New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, seem a little out of place. At least it’s hard to take them seriously next to the focused emotion of nearly all of the rest, including two particularly memorable of Paralympic rower Oksana Masters—with and without her artificial legs.

Still others, while tastefully done, are merely just pretty athletes posed with a strategic turn or arm placement, like tennis player Daniela Hantuchova who was photographed without a racquet. Sometimes their setting has something to do with their sport of choice, like U.S. men’s national soccer team defender Carlos Bocanegra who was captured with a net behind him. Sometimes it doesn’t, like New York Knicks center Tyson Chandler, who is pictured on a beach holding a basketball.

Perhaps if there were any controversy, this would be it. It’s one thing to celebrate the years of hard work and training necessary to carve out the perfect athletic form against the backdrop of the setting in which its meant to excel. It’s another to celebrate the human form for the sake of doing it or without the proper context.

That’s not to go so far as to say the difference is as egregious as being exploitative of women or pandering to sell more magazines or create any buzz. It’s just merely the difference between a good photo and a great one.

The 10 Best Magazines to Take to the Beach

The 10 Best Magazines to Take to the Beach

The 10 Best Magazines to Take to the BeachYou’re ready to soak up some sun this summer, but don’t hit the sand without these bright magazines safely stowed in your beach bag. 

How long have you been waiting for this summer vacation? You’ve got your spf, your sunglasses, your suit and a giant beach towel. Now all you need are some great summer reads. To help stock your beach bag this summer, we’re listing out the 10 best magazines to take to the beach this year.

For Her:

People: Who doesn’t love a little celebrity gossip while soaking up some rays? Sometimes we all need a little mental break to sit and enjoy our guilty pleasure magazine, and People is it.

Coastal Living: For once you can stare at those beautiful oceanscapes on the page and then look beyond the page to see the real thing in the background. Enjoy the magazine, and when that pang of “Oh I want to be there!” kicks in, just set the magazine down and voila!

Dwell: Totally focused on modern home design both inside and out, Dwell magazine is a great read with beautiful graphic design, and it just seems to speak to that creative side, which you actually have time to nurture while on vacay.

Sunset: Sunset magazine will help you drift peacefully into your tropical paradise. Devoted to everything West Coast, this magazine will add a splash of summer with great tips on everything from green living to food, wine and entertaining.

Health: It’s the best way to catch up on how to stay fit and maintain a healthy lifestyle, all things that just make sense when you’re at the beach with a little time to scheme about the future.

For Him:

Wired: You finally have a chance to sit down and enjoy an entertaining read, and Wired is chock-full of enough new gadgets, inventions and trends to keep you entertained for an entire afternoon of sunning.

Fast Company: This is another good read, with stories of entrepreneurs, trends and business ideas both current and future. And don’t worry — though it has “company” in the title, this read will feel nothing like being at work!

The New Yorker: Great reporting and super interesting stories — need we say more?

Surfer: Even if you don’t have plans to hit the board on this trip, there’s just something fun about thumbing through a surfing magazine while at the beach. And hey, if you feel like a poser, you can always hide it between the pages of one of your other magazines and no one has to know.

ESPN The Magazine: Catch up on the latest sports news and let your mind kick back and relax. Golf anyone?

Enjoy these additional suggestions of quick and easy summer reads–all for less than $10.