Women athletes have no qualms posing nude for magazines. For them, making the cover of Playboy is a proud achievement
From scantily-clad, gyrating go-go dancers at the beach volleyball to Germany’s finest hockey player baring all for a steamy photo-shoot, sex sells at the Olympics. Katharina Scholz has spent as much time in Beijing explaining away her decision to join sailor Petra Niemann, judoka Romy Tarangul and canoeist Nicole Reinhardt in Playboy as she was discussing her part in helping Germany reach the semi-finals of the field hockey tournament.
“For me it was a good opportunity, and maybe when I look back after a few years I will be proud of it,” said the 25-year-old. “Not everybody can go on the cover of Playboy. I did it because I am confident of my body and myself. It wasn’t a group decision, we haven’t seen each other. The shooting was separate. Everyone decided it for themselves.” Other pin-ups of the Games have also been happy to pose in and out of competition.
Meanwhile, Nicole Reinhardt wants to wear one shiny accessory for her next photo shoot. And this time, the Olympic kayaker will bring along her Lycra racing suit. “It’s beautiful pictures,”
“There’s attention, but it’s good,” she said. “It’s good for us.” Reinhardt rested her kayak paddle against her left shoulder while she spoke. “You’ll have to buy the magazine or surf the Web to find out where she strategically placed it for Playboy.”
She already had a fan in boyfriend Tim Wieskotter and said he enjoyed the photos and made no attempt to talk her out of the shoot. “I’m proud,” a smiling Wieskotter said.
“They’re fine pictures.”
US swimmer Amanda Beard was naked in Playboy last year and made headlines in Beijing even before the Games started, when she used the Athletes’ Village as a backdrop to unveil a nude photo of herself in a poster backing an anti-animal cruelty cause.
“I’ve done Playboy. I’m comfortable with my body,” Beard said of her willingness to shed her clothes for a People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals anti-fur campaign. “I go to the office in a swimsuit.”
Australian Stephanie Rice, who was a triple gold medallist in Beijing, opted for a series of raunchy shots in FHM after causing a sensation when her personal website featured her dressed in a tight-fitting, policewoman’s uniform.
“She’s thoughtful and not the least bit full of herself,” her manager Lisa Stallard said in her client’s defence. Such is the high profile of the Games, and the insatiable demand for information driven by the Internet, that countless polls and picture spreads exist detailing the attractions of athletes of choice.
The Sun in Britain, traditionally feverishly nationalistic and weary of all things European, named the German Playboy four as their favourites. Their reporters have also enjoyed watching what they’ve dubbed the Peach Volleyball at Chaoyang Park where game intervals are filled by energetic routines performed by a troupe of bikini-clad dancers. “We’re used to it. Whether domestically or internationally we have dancing girls with us,” said a US player.
7 months ago