Friday, 18 July 2014

Hilary Knight shows different side to her career with ESPN Body Issue appearance

With ESPN Magazine’s 2014 edition of the Body Issue consisting of a strong influence of athletes from the Sochi Winter Games, one of the world’s greatest female hockey players is among the remarkable group. A member of the valiant US women's hockey team that captured silver in Sochi, Knight graces its pages. 

Having scored the first goal for Team USA at the Sochi Winter Games, she joins the likes of other Sochi stars including Jamie Anderson, Aja Evans and Paralympic athlete Amy Purdy. Definitely one of the faces of USA Hockey, Knight becomes the second women's player next to Julie Chu, a four-time Winter Games participant and the first-ever to capture three straight Clarkson Cup titles, to appear in the Body Issue. 

The opportunity to appear in the highly popular magazine is certainly testament to Knight’s remarkable (and growing) popularity. Whatever quality it is that Knight possesses, she definitely has it. Also invited to participate in the famous celebrity golf tournament at Lake Tahoe, Knight is emerging as one of the most recognizable female star athletes in America.

Of note, the male and female athletes that appear in the body issue do so in a complete state of undress. While the photos resemble works of art, immortalizing chiseled physiques and preserving the physical perfection that separates world class athletes from others, willing to appear in such a state is a very brave move.

In theory, the Body Issue celebrates the physical form. Based on the good taste and presentation of the photos, it would be hard to dispute such facts. Unfortunately, the factor of sex appeal will play a role. Some sites referred to Knight as “Puck Naked” and others commented on her beauty rather than her hockey skills. 

Taking into account that the magazine was released on July 11, it was an amazing coincidence that her birthday fell on July 12. Incorporating a great sense of humor, Knight went to social media and spoke about how the experience of wearing her birthday suit and celebrating her actual birthday made for one crazy week. As a side note, she also provided words of encouragement when she thanked ESPN Magazine for showing how beautiful the human body can be, along with mentioning that muscle is not only strength and power, but beautiful.

There is no question that Knight’s appearance is empowering and graceful. Opening up about her issues of body image (she increased her body mass to 185 pounds for Sochi) and the concern that muscular may not be sexy, the Body Issue results in a personal exploration of encouragement, increasing her confidence and providing a positive message for other athletes that may struggle over body image.

While she possesses the gifts of a natural scorer, making her a key component in the offensive attack of any team whose jersey she proudly dons, the definition of her physique, which resembles that of a Greek goddess, and the photo interpreting her being comfortable in her own skin is a visual triumph. In a career that is nothing short of Hall of Fame worthy, Knight’s Body Issue experience is a crowning achievement.

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