As of Feb. 8, 2010, Lindsey Vonn joins the ranks of a select few.
She has the privilege of gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated as very few women have been able to do, well aside from those appearing in the swimsuit edition.
And the upcoming Winter Olympic preview issue is already stirring up controversy among feminists and politically correct folks.
The U.S. ski racer phenom posed for the cover in a sexy pose while smiling at the camera. Of course, that so-called sexy pose is also a skiing pose (known as the tuck position). That’s how ski racers ski.
Critics continually ask why Sports Illustrated must objectify women as sex symbols?
The answer is simple: Sex sells. This is the genius behind Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit issue. It alone generates 7 percent of advertising revenue for the magazine and is the single best-selling print issue in Time Inc.'s stable of magazines. On average, it sells more than one million copies at newsstands.
After all, the magazine’s main goal is to sell magazines. It’s a business and the cover is the eye candy—ready to entrap any possible readers with just one glance in its direction.
No one complains when Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady is pictured wearing a wife beater on the cover of Details. Or when tennis star Rafael Nadal is pictured shirtless with a seductive smile and a towel on the cover of New York.
True, Sports Illustrated rarely features women on their covers and when it does, the athletes tend to be scantily clad in sexualized, inactive positions. One recent study reveals that only about 4 percent of all SI covers have portrayed women.
But critics complain that Vonn is an athlete and not a sex symbol. However, the magazine did proclaim her as “America's Best Woman Skier Ever.” It’s not like the headline reads, “Lindsey Vonn Shares All Her Naughty Tips,” or something equally as ridiculous.
Why can't she be both the best skier in the world and really, really attractive too as the cover portrays her?
What’s all of the fuss? She is wearing the uniform she wears while she’s racing. Well, minus the helmet and goggles, which would make her face indistinguishable. It’s not like SI put her in a string bikini in a Vancouver hot tub or covered her with a body painted bikini like FHM did with U.S. Olympic snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler.
This is Vonn’s moment to shine. She has the potential to win multiple gold medals in Vancouver and could be the next Michael Phelps, only with better looks, an actual personality, and a clean drug record.
For Vonn, it is a great honor to be among the other great athletes who have graced the covers of Sports Illustrated.
But Vonn, as well as the rest of the U.S., can only hope that the Sports Illustrated cover jinx doesn’t cross international borders.
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