And we're all about celebrating strength.

By Julia Malacoff
Updated: January 11, 2017

Many people eagerly await the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue every year (for various reasons). But this time, we're thrilled about the special issue for one very important, very gold-medal worthy reason. Yesterday, the mag announced that Aly Raisman and Simone Biles will be featured in the swim spreads, showing off their hard-earned and muscular physiques.

This follows some other milestones from SI. The mag made major moves in the body-pos arena in their last issue by featuring Ashley Graham on the cover as one of their rookies of the year. The year before that, they highlighted Robyn Lawley, the first-ever plus-size model. These steps towards body-inclusiveness definitely made us pay attention to their annual special issue in a way we never really did before. After all, seeing women with real bodies all glammed up in swimsuits being admired in a way that's usually reserved for only very specific body types is super exciting and relatable. (Want more inspo? Check out these 10 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Models to Follow for Fitspiration.)

We couldn't be more psyched to see two of America's most accomplished female athletes featured in this issue, and both Simone and Aly seem incredibly pumped too. In a caption that goes along with a photo from the shoot, Aly said, "I'm very proud of my body and how hard I have worked to look like this. I of course, like everyone else, have my days where I feel insecure and not at my best. BUT I think it is that much more important we love our bodies and support each other. It is 2017 and there is NO perfect or ideal body type. SI Swim celebrates women for being unique and beautiful in our own way which is why I am so happy to be a part of it." (For more from Aly on body confidence, check out her body image advice.)

Simone shared a similar sentiment along with her photo, saying that she's "so happy to be a part of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, where athletes' bodies can be beautiful, too. No matter what anyone tells you, have confidence in your own body. OWN IT." Yas, girl. Even better, her photo doesn't feature a traditional seductive swimsuit pose but instead shows off some of her insane gymnastic skills.

Considering how hard athletes work not to just look good but to perform to their maximum potential, we'd love to see more elite women featured prominently. Both Biles and Raisman have shown that they're advocates of body positivity and have handled haters with grace, so seeing them get the chance to be role models in yet another way is seriously awesome.



Be the first to comment!