While the ninth edition of ESPN’s Body Issue gets an online release of Wednesday, July 5, and a print release of Friday, July 7, we’ve already gotten a glimpse of a majority of the 23 athletes.
Here’s a full look of the pictures released thus far:
2017 ESPN Body Issue Photos
Note: Athletes listed in alphabetical order. Pictures for Zach & Julie Ertz, and Malakai Fekitoa have yet to be released
A.J. Andrews, Softball, Akron Racers
In 2016, Andrews, a former LSU softball standout who now plays professionally with the Akron Racers in the National Pro Fastpitch softball league, became the first female to ever be awarded a Rawlings Gold Glove.
Javier Baez, Baseball, Chicago Cubs
Says Baez, the 2017 NLCS MVP, in an interview for the Body Issue: “I’m strong as well because I’ve seen all the things my sister, Noely, has gone through. [Noely Baez suffered from spina bifida and died in 2015 at age 21.] But for me, my sister was never a crippled person. The only thing she didn’t do throughout her life was walk. She is my biggest inspiration.”
Brent Burns & Joe Thornton, Hockey, San Jose Sharks
“I bet Joe has been training hard for this thing to get his body jacked,” jokes Burns. “Me? I just got back from 10 days at Disney eating funnel cakes and ice cream with my kids.”
Julian Edelman, Football, New England Patriots
“Sometimes you eat a little too many hamburgers [laughs] and have a little too much fun after a season and you start feeling a little slacky,” says Edelman, 31, who has caught 90-plus passes in three of the last four years. “But the older you get, the more you realize how precious it is to be in the National Football League, and you see all the young talent and the guys who are grinding. So I firmly believe you think about that, and the best way of staying in shape is never getting out of shape.”
Ezekiel Elliott, Football, Dallas Cowboys
“I don’t know if people really understand how much work we put into our craft,” says Elliott. “We play such a brutal game. Working out by itself is a hard task, but keeping our body together is tough because we play this brutal sport week in and week out. It’s hard.”
Kirstie Ennis, Snowboarding (Marine Veteran)
Ennis, a former Marine who was forced to have her left leg amputated above the knee after her helicopter crashed in Afghanistan, is attempting to qualify for the 2018 Winner Paralympic Games as a snowboarder. She also has a goal of completing the Seven Summits, as well as reaching the top of Carstensz Pyramid, a 16,000-foot rock face that sees only 33 summits per year.
Gus Kenworthy, Skiing
Kenworthy, a freestyle skier who was born in England but grew up in Colorado and represents the United States, won silver in the slopestyle event at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. In Pyeongchang 2018, he has a chance to out-do himself, as he’s expected to contend in both the slopestyle and halfpipe events.
Nneka Ogwumike, Basketball, Los Angeles Sparks
“I know a lot about what food does to your body,” she says. “I know that cucumbers are the best thing to put inside your water. It has a lot of vitamins, but it also accelerates hydration. You should always drink a glass of cucumber water once you wake up and before and after each meal; I know that. My fridge is filled with cucumbers.”
Isaiah Thomas, Basketball, Boston Celtics
“There was always a doubt in other people’s minds: They didn’t feel like I could do it, they felt like I was too small, they felt like I wasn’t a typical point guard,” says the 5-foot-9 Thomas. “And now, I just laugh at those people. I just make them eat their words. And if people don’t believe in me, I make them believers.”
U.S. Women’s National Hockey Team (Brianna Decker, Kacey Bellamy, Meghan Duggan, Jocelyne Lamoureux, Monique Lamoureux, Alex Rigsby)
After finishing second to Canada in the 2014 Olympics, the United States women’s hockey team has dominated international competition, securing gold in the three World Championships since that defeat. In Pyeongchang, they’ll be seeking their first Olympic gold medal since 1998.
Ashley Wagner, Figure Skating
Wagner, who finished seventh in 2014 Winter Olympics, bounced back for a silver at the 2016 Worlds but returned to seventh in a lackluster performance at Worlds earlier this year, is fully focused on returning to the Olympics in 2018 despite being “old” for the sport at 26.
“I feel like I’m technically stronger than I have ever been,” she says. “I’m not quite satisfied with my career at this point,” she said, “I discovered my passion at five years. I owe it through to that kid, to see it to the end.”
Michelle Waterson, Mixed Martial Arts, UFC
“MMA is not for someone who wants to keep cute,” says Waterson, who is 2-1 since making the move to UFC. “Your body changes. You lose body fat, and that means you lose breast tissue. Your shoulders get broad, and you get scraped from the gloves. I do it because I love to do it. I could definitely be doing something else if I just wanted to look hot.”
Novlene Williams-Mills, Track & Field, 400m
“No one else can tell you how to fight your battle,” says Williams-Mills, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012 and has won two Olympic medals since. “All I can say is, when you feel like giving up, just push a little bit harder. It’s not going to be easy. You’re going to have rough days. But giving up is easy. Fighting every single day is harder. I have to be that survivor of my own battle. I have to be a survivor of cancer.”
Caroline Wozniacki, Tennis
“I don’t have as much power in my groundstroke as some of the other girls, but I’m fast and I know that I can last for a long time out there,” say the former No. 1 player in the world. “My fitness is something I pride myself on. I think that’s definitely something that I win quite a few matches on.”