by: Bob D Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk Updated:
Olympic gymnasts Simone Biles and Aly Raisman will be featured in Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit issue, the magazine announced Tuesday.
Biles and Raisman, part of the "Final Five" U.S. gymnastics team that won gold at the Summer Games last year in Rio de Janeiro, will join the traditional lineup of swimsuit models when the issue hits the stands next month.
The two stars, who have combined for eight Olympic medals, posed at the North Houston Skate Park and The Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden, not far from Biles' hometown of Spring, Texas.
Biles, 19, who won the Olympic all-around title as well as gold medals in the team, vault and floor exercise competitions in 2016, does a handstand in one promo shot provided by Sports Illustrated. The 22-year-old Raisman won six medals combined between the 2012 and 2016 games, including silver on the floor exercise last summer.
Raisman showcased one of the promotional photos on her Twitter page, writing, "Love how (Sports Illustrated) celebrates all women for being strong and beautiful."
Previously, 28 women athletes have been featured in Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit lineup since 1997. UFC fighter Ronda Rousey graced the cover of the 2016 edition. Other athletes who have appeared in the issue are Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn; tennis players Steffi Graf, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Caroline Wozniacki, Maria Sharapova, Anna Kournikova and Ana Ivanovic; beach volleyball star Gabrielle Reece; WNBA standouts Sheryl Swoopes and Nikki McCray; Olympic swimmers Amanda Beard and Natalie Coughlin; auto racing driver Danica Patrick; and softball star Jennie Finch.
"I am thrilled to include the gold medal-winning, U.S. women's gymnasts Aly Raisman and Simone Biles in this year's swimsuit issue," MJ Day, Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit editor, said in a news release. "Aly and Simone represent all that is beautiful and strong and inspiring in women today."
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