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By Julia Greenberg | October 6, 2011 6:27 PM EDT

ESPN is previewing photos, videos, and interviews from the magazine's third annual "The Body Issue," which arrives on newsstands Friday, October 7. Over 20 athletes will appear naked, with their private parts strategically covered, as part of the issue titled "Bodies we Want."

"This is an issue in the short time we've been doing it that's become pretty anticipated," ESPN The Magazine editor-in-chief Chad Millman told TV Guide. "In terms of the athletes we've attracted, we feel like the group is really strong."

Athletes posing in the nude for the "Bodies we Want 2011" photo gallery include: U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo, Chicago Sky Center Sylvia Fowles, Olympic gymnast Alicia Sacramone, Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers, Steve Jackson of the St. Louis Rams, and track and field star Natasha Hastings, among others.

What do the athletes have to say about their bodies and their decisions to pose in the nude for ESPN The Magazine "The Body Issue?" We take you inside for a preview of ESPN The Magazine "The Body Issue" where the athletes talk about posing for "Bodies We Want 2011," their insecurities, and feeling self-conscious.

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Sylvia Fowles, Chicago Sky Center, WNBA: "My legs have gotten bigger. You'll think I'm cocky, but I'm totally infatuated with my legs now. They are just big, healthy and toned."

Stephanie Gilmore, Four-Time World Surfing Champ: "When I was growing a lot (I'm 5-foot-10), I was worried I'd be too tall to surf. I thought it would be a disadvantage. But I've really embraced it and realized that my height is actually a benefit. I probably get more strength in my paddling and pushing up through my maneuvers. It's an advantage to be tall, athletic and powerful."

Suzy Hotrod, Co-Captain of Team USA Roller Derby: "I like that I have a strong rear end -- you can hit people with it, play defense with it, and you don't hurt your tailbone when you fall. It's really an 'ass-et' in Roller Derby."

Alicia Sacramone, Gymnast, Team USA: I'm really not that flexible. When I do my jumps for gymnastics, I only get into those positions because I'm relatively strong. It has nothing to do with flexibility. I can do splits and touch my toes, but for a gymnast, I can barely move. It's always been a struggle... I watch little girls with envy doing this and think, "God, I wish I could do that."

Hope Solo, Goalkeeper, U.S. National Team and WPS magicJack: "Growing up, I felt insecure about my build. I didn't feel very feminine. But as time went on, I learned to completely embrace my body. It's helped me attain all my dreams and goals. I didn't have an issue posing nude, because now I see my body as empowering."

Vera Zvonareva, Ranked No. 3 on the Women's Tennis Tour: "Everyone has to overcome something. You won't find any professional athlete who doesn't feel pain somewhere. It's part of our job, part of our lives. You just accept it."

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ESPN The Body Issue 2011: A Preview
(Photo: REUTERS / Ralph Orlowski)
ESPN is previewing photos, videos, and interviews from the magazine's third annual "The Body Issue," which arrives on newsstands Friday, October 7. Over 20 athletes will appear naked with their private parts strategically covered as part of the issue titled “Bodies We Want.” Hope Solo, Goalkeeper, US National Team and WPS magicJack, is one of the athletes featured.
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