- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Hailing the gold medalists as “strikingly sexy and beautiful,” Sports Illustrated Swimsuit editor MJ Day announced that Simon Biles and Aly Raisman would be featured in the pages of next month’s iconic annual swimsuit issue.

“Aly and Simone represent all that is beautiful and strong and inspiring in women today,” Ms. Day said in a Tuesday post on the magazine’s Swim Daily page that gave viewers a peek at the U.S. gymnasts’ photo shoot.

“Women that are not only elite athletes, that are captivating and impressive in their own professional accomplishments (lots and lots of Olympic gold medals between them), but strikingly sexy and beautiful in front of photographer James Macari’s lens,” she said.

Sports Illustrated also announced Tuesday that the swimsuit issue’s launch would occur at the first annual VIBES Festival, to take place in Houston.

“The highly-anticipated event kicks off on Friday, Feb. 17, with a food festival featuring favorites from well-known national and regional chefs,” according to the magazine. “The food festival will be followed by a VIP performance from R&B sensation Miguel. The fun continues on Saturday with a lineup of local Houston musicians and a headlining performance by Grammy Award-winning producer and DJ Diplo.”

The swimsuit issue got its start 53 years ago to boost sales during a mid-winter slump but didn’t really become a cultural touchstone until the late 1970s as the magazine sought to “make the issue seem much racier than it actually was, while still maintaining its wholesome aesthetic,” a culture critic for Slate once observed.



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