ESPN the Magazine's BODY Issue was born in October of 2009 with a singular mission: to celebrate the incredible power of the athletic form. With the help of 20 brave athletes -- including Serena Williams, Adrian Peterson and Dwight Howard -- and an equally elite group of photographers, the debut issue immediately established itself as a cultural force.
Since then, BODY has evolved into more than a stunning annual portfolio of images -- it's become a powerful storytelling platform, a trusted forum for athletes to share not only their strengths, but also their vulnerabilities. There have been many milestones along the way: Olympic volleyball icon Kerri Walsh Jennings posing for the issue in 2013 while eight months pregnant. Transgender duathlete Chris Mosier sharing his powerful transitioning story with the world in 2016. Paralympic rower Oksana Masters daring to pose without her prosthetic legs in 2012. Golf legend Gary Player, in 2013, proving you can still have ripped abs at age 77.
Over the past 11 years, through thousands of photographs of more than 200 athletes, ESPN's BODY franchise has helped change the way people think about the athletic form. It's driven and shaped the conversation around what athletes look like and what it means to have a body that is perfect for your sport. It's inspired a deeper appreciation for what our bodies are capable of, the power they possess, the flaws they force us to accept, what they can overcome and where they can take us. It's a dialogue that we are proud of, and one we are committed to continuing in the years to come.