You know the Olympic motto: Swifter, Higher, Stronger? Let's go ahead and add Barer to that credo. These days it seems as though any athlete hoping to hoist a medal first has to drop trou. In June 1999, women from the U.S. track and field team stripped for a calendar. Then last November the Australian women's soccer team shed all, also for a calendar. Now the ranks of the de-briefed, male as well as female, have grown out of hand. Canadian athletes, Australian Olympians, American swimmers (including a topless Jenny Thompson, SI, Aug. 14) and even Paralympians have all been recently shot in the altogether. "An athletic body is a work of art," says U.S. high jumper Amy Acuff, who appears in the 2000 track and field calendar adorned in body paint. "It's the tool of the Olympic athlete."
Still, even some of the jocks who have posed acknowledge that what was at first risqu� has become clich�. "Posing nude was like what tattoos or body piercings were like years ago," laments Canadian road cyclist Lyne Bessette, who was photographed wearing only her bike and a pair of Oakleys for the Canadian magazine G�o Plein Air. "It used to be special. Now it's not so unique."