The Most Controversial Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Photos We’ve Ever Seen

2. The first topless SI cover

Model Veronica Varekova autographs copies of the 2004 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue.

Model Veronica Varekova autographs copies of the 2004 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. | Scott Eells/Getty Images

The problem: the lack of swimwear in a swimsuit-focused magazine

The Czech model has participated in eight SI Swimsuit issues, but her most controversial was 2004’s topless cover image. The shoot, which took place in Montauk, New York, features Veronica Varekova holding her swimsuit top rather than wearing it — and people freaked out. Many wondered if the Swimsuit issue even needed swimsuits anymore.

Next: Sports Illustrated gets artsy — at a cost.

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