ESPN’s Body Issue always celebrates the amazingly hard work that athletes put into their crafts and this year’s group is as diverse as ever.
Literally showing off their money-making bodies, first up is Saquon Barkley. The running back from the Bronx, N.Y. stunned everyone during his three years at Penn State. But now he’s preparing to suit up for his first season in the NFL with the NY Giants. Following in Odell Beckham Jr.’s steps, he bared it all for ESPN.
During the shoot, Barkley can be seen jumping around with the football instinctually tucked to his side as he spoke about how he battled with his size when he first started playing football. He wasn’t as built as the other athletes because he lacked the maturity and never put in the effort in the gym. But once he did, he began to take his craft seriously becoming a force on the field and posing naked for ESPN allowed him to show off the body he put so much into attaining.
With the 2018 Olympic Games over, ESPN showcased one of America’s gold medalist, cross-country skier, Jessie Diggins. Diggins speaks on the double standard of men and women posing nude for magazines and how having muscles as a woman made her self-conscious. As she grew up, she learned to embrace those muscles, as they inevitably lead to her becoming a gold medalist. As a cross-country skier, she also explains how important self-discipline is, saying, “Cross-country skiing is a silent sport. You’re moving under your own power. It’s such a wonderful feeling. It’s almost meditative sometimes.”
The other 13 artists displaying their bodies on The Body Issue’s tenth anniversary include Charlotte Flair, who speaks on the struggle of honoring her superstar wrestler father Ric Flair, while also forging her own path, soccer’s most polarizing figure Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and the outspoken soccer player and Los Angeles Dodger Yasiel Puig.