Baring it all, for art

It is so, so tempting to dismiss "The Body Issue" from ESPN The Magazine as either a lame attempt to compete with Sport's Illustrated's swimsuit issue, or just so much voyeurism, or both. The clock is already running on which librarian in which city declares the whole thing an abhorrent shock to the system, and orders it banned.

That would be foolish.

To look at the photos themselves in the magazine, which goes on sale Friday, is to be reminded once again that the human body comes in an astonishing variety of different sizes and forms and features, and to realize that humankind has celebrated the gift of our bodies since the dawn of time, and it's absurd to pretend that we don't, or we shouldn't.

Here are some of the best of the best among us, among them Olympic athletes past, current and future.

Click here to read the rest at

And here for an ESPN photo gallery.