October 6th, 2011
01:27 PM ET
Soccer champ and "Dancing With the Stars" contestant Hope Solo is showing what she's made of on the cover of ESPN's "The Body Issue."
Solo's image is one of four covers that also highlight Clippers forward Blake Griffin, Mets player Jose Reyes and pro snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler, and it shows off the frame that the athlete says she's only recently come to appreciate.
“Growing up, I felt insecure about my build. Guys would say,‘Look at those muscles! You can kick my ass!’ I didn’t feel feminine," she tells ESPN the magazine in its November issue.
"But that’s changed in the past four years," she goes on. "I saw the connection between my body and my accomplishments. I couldn’t have been a great goalkeeper without power, agility and quickness. I was so self-conscious about my broad shoulders in college that I’d avoid weight lifting, but now I’m most proud of that part of my body."
Solo says in a video on ESPN's website that she's "honored" to be featured nude on one of the magazine's covers, because it celebrates "not just the athlete's body, but the female's athlete's body."
Confidence, she tells the magazine, "goes a long way— although I still don’t buy the idea that I’m a sex symbol. Sure, I’ve had marriage proposals, invitations to military balls and prom offers. But my entire purpose is trying to be the best, and if that exudes beauty too, that’s pretty powerful. It means the image of the typical female body type is finally evolving.”
ESPN the magazine's "The Body Issue" arrives on newsstands Friday.
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