Top 10 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Covers

February 19 02:55 2014

Sports Illustrated is known for its highly-anticipated and extremely popular Swimsuit Issue. It comes out every February and this year, they celebrated their 50th anniversary of the swimsuit edition. The cover of the issue is always a big deal and has featured some of the most beautiful women in the entire world. Fashion models grace the covers wearing as little swimwear as possible in exotic locations. The cover is kept a secret, even from the models, until less than 24 hours before it is reveled, making it a surprise for almost everybody!

The swimsuit issue began in 1964 and was credited for making the bikini, which was invited in 1946, a legitimate piece of apparel. The best selling issue of all time was the 25th Anniversary Issue in 1989 with Kathy Ireland featured on the cover, but people believe this years 50th anniversary issue could top that. Most of the covers feature just one model, but few have featured more than one, and those are typically very popular. The magazine encourages models to have a natural look with less makeup, toned muscles and curvy shapes in order to celebrate more natural looking girls and their personalities.

Famous models like Tyra Banks, Heidi Klum, Cheryl Tiegs and Christie Brinkley have been featured on the cover and Beyoncé, of course, even made the cover one year, for their music edition. The issue itself features page after page of beautiful models in bathing suits, mostly bikinis, and a few issues even featured models with bikinis that were painted on. Famous models like Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell have never been on the cover, but have been featured within the magazine.

The magazine’s editor, Andre Laguerre, invented the swimsuit issue to fill the winter months, which are particularly slow in the sporting calendar. The issue has become such a popular staple in the magazine world, and people look forward to its release all year. The swimsuit issue is said to have began a new supermodel era, and these beautiful models continue to look amazing on the covers each and every year. With 50 issues, it’s hard to choose, but everybody has their favorite cover. Here are what believes are the top 10 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issues of all time…

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

[ new page = 1999 Issue ]

10. 1999 Issue

The 1999 issue featured Rebecca Romijn-Stamos on the cover. She wore a metallic, mesh bikini. This particular swimsuit was worth $800 and was designed by Simon & Eve France Design. It’s see-through material made this cover a huge hit. The issues photo-shoot took place in the “not so Virgin Islands” and featured birthday suits and star athletes.

Image Courtesy of SI

[ new page = 1975 Issue ]

9. 1975 Issue

The 1975 issue featured model Cheryl Tiegs. This particular photo was shot in Cancun, Mexico and was her second of three covers. She was also featured on the 1970 and 1983 covers. She was the first model to appear on three covers and was even considered the first American supermodel by some.

Image Courtesy of SI

[ new page = 2007 Issue ]

8. 2007 Issue

The 2007 issue featured singer Beyoncé and was the first issue to feature a non-model and non-athlete woman on the cover. This issue was their “music edition” issue, and who better than Beyoncé to pose in a neon bikini for the cover? This followed Beyoncé’s launch of her swimsuit line in 2006. She was only the second African-American woman to appear on the cover in the 43 years it had been around.

Image Courtesy of SI

[ new page = 1989 Issue ]

7. 1989 Issue

In 1989, the 25th anniversary issue was released with model Kathy Ireleand on the cover in a tiny, bright yellow bandeau bikini. She was photographed sitting on a rock in Mexico’s Pacific Coast. This issue is the highest selling issue to this day.

Image Courtesy of SI

[ new page = 1998 Issue ]

6. 1998 Issue

Supermodel Heidi Klum was the featured model on the cover of the 1998 issue. She rocked a black and white crocheted one piece suit, but still looked sexy as ever with the low rise top and bottoms that showed lots of leg. The cover read “Heidi Klum, straddles the equator.”

Image Courtesy of SI

[ new page = 1996 Issue ]

5. 1996 Issue

The cover of this issue featured two beautiful models, Tyra Banks and Valerie Mazza. This was a particularly special issue because it was the first issue to have an African-American model on the cover. The issue’s cover read, “South African Adventure” and had the two standing with their backs touching looking happy as ever. Tyra Banks was also the featured model of the 1997 issue, giving her back-to-back covers.

Image Courtesy of SI

[ new page = 2010 Issue ]

4. 2010 Issue

Brooklyn Decker was the chosen model for the 2010 swimsuit issue. The model, who is tennis star Andy Roddick’s wife, is featured in a bright yellow bikini that isn’t even completely on. She’s photographed covering her breasts with her arms, with the bikini top draped over her shoulders. The cover reads, “A Perfect ’10, Brookly Decker sizzles in the Maldives.”

Image Courtesy of SI

[ new page = 2006 Issue ]

3. 2006 Issue

The 2006 issue was a very special one as well. It was considered the “All-Star” issue and featured eight past cover models in one sexy photo. The eight models all wore white bikini bottoms and were topless, covering themselves with their hands. The cover read “beach party” and had some of the best cover girls of all time on it. This cover featured Veronica Varekova, Elle Macpherson, Rebecca Romijn, Rachel Hunter, Daniela Pestova, Elsa Benitez, Carolyn Murphy and Yamila Diaz.

Image Courtesy of SI

[ new page = 2012 Issue ]

2. 2012 Issue

Kate Upton appeared on the 2012 cover, for her first time at only 19-years-old. She then went on to be featured on the 2013 cover and the back cover of the 2014 issue. She was featured inside the 2011 issue and was named Rookie of the Year. She’s photographed in a brown and red barely-there bikini, with the tiniest bottoms. Upton instantly became a huge hit among readers and fans for her all-American blonde look and sexy curvy figure. The cover reads, “Kate Upton. Any Questions?”

Image Courtesy of SI

[ new page = 2014 Issue ]

1. 2014 Issue

This year’s issue is the 50th anniversary issue and features three beautiful models on the cover. This cover features models Chrissy Teigen, lily Aldridge and Nina Adgal standing in the clearest blue water, looking over their shoulders and smiling in a particularly “cheeky” shot. This issue has the past, the present and the future of swimsuit models inside the magazine. The 50th Anniversary Issue hits newsstands today, February 18, but the cover image has been all over the Internet for the past week and is already a huge hit.

Image Courtesy of SI



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Gina Masilotti
Gina Masilotti

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