14 athletes who modelled for Playboy from Olympic superstars to WWE wrestlers

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It's not just models, actors and TV stars who pose for Playboy – plenty of athletes have also graced the pages of the iconic magazine.

And why wouldn't they? After all that hard sweat in the gym honing their perfectly sculptured bodies, why not flaunt them?

Some do it to give their career a lift, some for money, some for charity.

But whatever the reason, the magazine has featured some of the world's most stunning sportswomen.

Here, Daily Star Sport takes a look at 15 of them, from Olympic champions to WWE wrestlers, tennis aces, swimmers and a beach volleyball star as featured in thepopularlist.

Ashley Harkleroad

The gorgeous tennis star was the first from her sport to feature on Playboy's front cover in 2008.

She won five ITF titles, but never claimed a Grand Slam and her highest ranking in the game was 39 – however, her appearance in the magazine earned her a huge fan following.

Amanda Beard

Olympic champion Amanda Beard appeared on Playboy's front cover in 2007, and was billed as 'The World's Sexiest Athlete'.

She appeared in four Olympiads – the first in 1996 when she was just 14 – earning two golds, four silvers and a bronze.

Amy Acuff

High-jumper Amy Acuff set the bar high when she appeared on Playboy's front cover in 2004.

That was the year of the Athens Games, and inside she posed for a 12-page nude pictorial entitled 'Women of the Olympics'.

She competed in four editions of the Olympics in total.

Katerina Witt

Katarina Witt is known as the great figure skaters of all time, having won two Olympic gold medals, six consecutive European Championships and four World Championships.

She was also the face of the second ever sold-out issue of Playboy magazine, and later went on to become a judge on Dancing on Ice.

Torrie Wilson

The wrestling star's first shoot with Playboy in 2003 led to some controversial storylines in the WWE World, and also sparked feuds among other wrestlers.

Torrie Wilson appeared on the front cover again less than a year later, this time with her No1 rival Sable.

Mia St John

Mia St John floored her first pro match rival in less than one minute, and went on to win the International Females Boxers Association Lightweight World Title as well as the IBA Continental Lightweight Title in 2005.

Before that, she starred in an 11-page pictorial in Playboy in 1999.

And she was still packing a punch after turning 40, claiming the WBC International Welterweight Championship in 2007.

Maria Butyrskaya

The beautiful Russian figure skater appeared on the front of Playboy in 1998 – the same year she finished fourth in the Winter Olympics, just missing out on the medals.

Her career took off after she claimed World Championship gold in 1999, while she also won three European Championships and six Russian National Figure Skating Championships.

Romy Tarangul

Judo star Romy Tarangul appeared in the iconic magazine in 2008 – the year the German beauty competed in the Beijing Olympics, won the Judo World Cup and also claimed silver in the European Championships.

Nicole Reinhardt

Canoeing has never been the most high-profile of sports, but Nicole Reinhardt won fans around the world when she posed nude for Playboy in 2010.

But the gorgeous German athlete was already a star name within her sport, having won Olympic gold in Beijing in 2008, as well an incredible eight world championship golds and five silvers.

Maria Kanellis

Maria Kanellis was ranked as one of the top 50 female wrestlers in 2008 by Pro Wrestling Illustrated, is a TNA Knockout Champion and also holds the Slammy Award for Diva of the Year in 2009.

She also shifted plenty of copies of Playboy when she appeared in April 2009.

Sable

Sable first appeared on the front of Playboy in 1999 – and it went on to become one of the highest-selling Playboy issues of all time.

The WWE legend was to appear in the magazine three times that same year, and as mentioned above also featured with rival Torrie Wilson in 2004.

Joanie Laurer

Better known in the wrestling world as Chyna, and described as the Ninth Wonder of the World by the WWE, Joanie Laurer was the face of Playboy twice, in 2000 and 2002.

She sadly died four years ago, aged 45.

Ashley Massaro

Ashley Massaro tragically died last year aged 40, after a successful career in wrestling.

She won the WWE's 2005 Raw Diva Search, with her most high-profile matches include a WWE Women's Championship against Melina at WrestleMania 23 in 2007. That same year she appeared on the front cover of Playboy.

Christy Hemme

Wrestling star Christy Hemme graced the front of Playboy in 2005.

The former WWE and WWE Diva Star was the winner of the 2004 WWE Diva Search, and also became a ring announcer in TNA, now known as Impact Wrestling.

Gabrielle Reese

Stunning beach volleyball star Gabrielle Reese was nominated as ‘one of the five most beautiful women in the world’ by Elle magazine.

But it was her nude appearance on the front of Playboy in 2001 that really set pulses racing.

 

 

  • Olympics
  • Raw
  • World Cup
  • Wrestlemania
  • WWE
  • Money
  • Playboy

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