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Gymnasts Simone Biles and Aly Raisman pose for Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue

Simone Biles will be featured in this year’s Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.
Simone Biles will be featured in this year’s Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. Sports Illustrated Swimsuit

Olympic gymnasts Simone Biles and Aly Raisman have posed for this year’s Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, which debuts next month.

They join other female athletes, including UFC fighter Ronda Rousey and Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn, who have been featured in the issue.

The gold medalists announced the news in tweets on Tuesday.

The magazine also shared photos from their shoots to announce its new VIBES music, food and culture festival Feb. 17 and 18 in downtown Houston. The gymnasts were photographed in Houston as part of the festival’s promotion, where they and other swimsuit issue models will meet with fans.

Biles, 19, who won the Olympic all-around title in Rio last summer, does a handstand in one promo shot provided by the magazine.

Raisman, 22, a vocal advocate for positive body image for women, wrote on Twitter: “Love how @SInow celebrates all women for being strong & beautiful.”

Raisman previously posed nude while doing gymnastics poses for ESPN the Magazine‘s Body Issue. “It didn’t feel weird. I kind of forgot I was naked and felt like I was just at the gym,” she told Boston.com.

MJ Day, editor of the swimsuit issue, said on the SI website the two gymnasts “represent all that is beautiful and strong and inspiring in women today.

“Women that are not only elite athletes, that are captivating and impressive in their own professional accomplishments (lots and lots of Olympic gold medals between them), but strikingly sexy and beautiful in front of photographer James Macari’s lens.

“I love seeing them shine in an entirely different way in the Swimsuit issue and being able to share these gorgeous and powerful images with the world.”

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