Elena Hight gets her kit off for the ESPN Body Issue

With last week’s rather blatant Roxy commercial for the Pro Biarritz 2013 surf comp stirring up quite the ruckus on the interweb, it’s perhaps a little ironic that ESPN have dropped their 2013 body issue so soon after all the cries of sexism, objectification of women and gender inequality are still ringing so fresh in the industry.

But drop it they have, with Elena Hight becoming the latest action sports athlete to join Maya Gabeira, Louie Vito, Stephanie Gilmore, Kelly Slater and Gretchen Bleiler in the publication which ESPN are branding as a tasteful showcase of the athletic human form:

It’s okay to stare. That’s what The Body Issue is here for. Each year, we stop to admire the vast potential of the human form. To unapologetically stand in awe of the athletes who’ve pushed their physiques to profound frontiers. To imagine how it would feel to inhabit those bodies, to leap and punch and throw like a god. To … well, gawk. So go ahead; join us.

Of course, this isn’t the first time a female snowboarder has posed nude for a mainstream publication with Hannah Teter and Clair Bidez both getting their kit off in Sports Illustrated just after the last winter Olympics in 2010.

Are shots like these at all degrading to women in action sports or do they simply portray athletic, healthy women (and men) who are confident with their bodies? Is this any better or worse than the Roxy commercial and where should the line be drawn between the two? Let us know in the comments below.

You can check out the gallery of Elena and motocross rider Tarah Gieger here.


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