Michelle Jenneke: Hurdler Has Shot as 1st SI Swimsuit Cover Athlete in 2014

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIFebruary 14, 2013

Photo Credit: flotrack.org
Photo Credit: flotrack.org

Australian hurdler Michelle Jenneke was best known for her prowess on the track, particularly dancing, prior to this week.

But when she lent her elite athletic physique to Sports Illustrated's latest swimsuit issue, she established herself as a viable contender to be the first-ever athlete to grace the cover in the 2014 edition.

In a behind-the-scenes look at her shoot with the magazine, Jenneke did the renowned dance that defines her pre-race routines. What was also clear, though, was that the young track star, who won a silver medal in the 100m hurdles at the 2010 Summer Youth Games, has a bright future as a model.

Possibly being featured on the SI cover next year would ignite that future. It has never been done before, and if there is a strong candidate to do it, Jenneke fits the bill.

She has a tall, slender but toned frame with tan skin and dark features. Those physical attributes would translate well to the exotic locations the Sports Illustrated crew usually chooses to shoot.

Plus, there is a need for something new.

Kate Upton has graced the cover in both this issue and the previous one, while winning Rookie of the Year in 2011. Especially in this day and age, new is the new old, and Upton's luster on the swimsuit issue will likely lose its edge a little bit should she reign supreme for the third consecutive time.

She should be moving on to even greater things, while this prospective move would be a big launching point for Jenneke, should she want to pursue it.

According to Australia's News Limited Network, the 19-year-old is studying to become an engineer in case the whole hurdling gig doesn't work out. Yet as promising as her career has been on the track, there may be even more upside for Jenneke in modeling.

It's all a matter of personal taste and how those who decide on the cover choose, but Jenneke definitely has the potential to be a cover girl in 2014. Even if it doesn't happen in that particular year, there is still time for Jenneke to break through—and she will almost certainly be asked to return.

There is stiff competition from other athletes in the form of surfer Alana Blanchard and Dutch field hockey stars Eva De Goede and Ellen Hoog. All three were stunning in this year's issue, but Jenneke distinguishes herself from those three women in a unique, almost indescribable way with her aforementioned dark features.

The viral dance video alone put Jenneke in the spotlight and she has the chance to capitalize on this self-described flattering appearance in Sports Illustrated to make a career out of it.