Many of us have a hard enough time stripping down to a swim suit in the summer or going 100 percent bare with someone new in the bedroom—but the athletes of the ESPN the Magazine Body Issue continue to go bare for all of the world to see. These world-class athletes are in incredible shape, and can do downright inspiring things with their bodies, but that doesn't mean they're immune to body image issues.
Christen Press, U.S. women's national soccer team forward, is one of the athletes in this year's issue, and she's being totally honest about her insecurities: she said she's always wanted a "more perfect body" but realized that was was a result of comparing herself to her teammates, according to ESPN. (We think she's pretty perfect as-is—just check out our Q&A video with her.)
"I've spent a lot of time being insecure about my body, but it's done so much for me. It's my tool, my vessel for my job," Press told ESPN. "I'm very grateful for the way that I feel when I play. I feel very powerful, I feel fast, I feel unstoppable, and that's because of my body." (We are all about this mentality. That's why created the #LoveMyShape campaign.)
Press joins eight other female athletes in gracing the pages of this year's body issue: Emma Coburn (a Rio hopeful for steeplechase), Courtney Conlogue (a pro surfer), Elena Delle Donne (a WNBA player), Adeline Gray (a Rio-bound wrestler), Nzingha Prescod (a Rio-bound fencer), April Ross (Rio-bound for beach volleyball), Allysa Seely (a Rio-bound paratriathlete), Claressa Shields (a Rio-bound boxer). (Start following these and other need-to-watch Rio hopefuls on Instagram.)
Press isn't the first U.S. Women's soccer team player to ditch her clothes for the issue and get real about body insecurities; Ali Krieger appeared in last year's spread and admitted to having a love-hate relationship with her big (and crazy strong!) calves. Now-retired Abby Wambach was in the 2012 Olympic issue, and said that she hoped "show people that no matter who you are, no matter what body type you have, that's beautiful." Preach, girl! But the first soccer player to take it all off was Hope Solo in the 2011 issue when she got real about feeling feminine: "Guys would say, 'Look at those muscles! You can kick my ass!' I didn't feel feminine. But that's changed the past four years. I saw the connection between my body and my accomplishments." (If you're thinking, "yassss," then you'll love these other inspiring quotes about being body-positive.)
Want more? Stay tuned for the full issue (and the gorgeous portraits of all our fave athletes) on July 6.