GRETCHEN BLEILER: Meet The Only ESPN Cover Model You've Never Heard Of

gretchen bleiler modelling

Photo: www.gretchenbleiler.com

The cover models for this year’s ESPN The Magazine Body Issue: MLB star Jose Reyes, NBA star Blake Griffin, celebri-athlete Hope Solo, and … Gretchen Bleiler?Bleiler has been on the margins of the sporting scene since winning a silver medal in women’s snowboarding half-pipe at the 2006 Olympics.

But who is she? And how did she land on the cover of he Body Issue alongside such household names?

Bleiler was born in the not-so-snowboardy town of Toledo, Ohio. Her love of the slopes developed after she moved to Aspen when she was 10

At her private school, students were allowed to leave early every Wednesday so they could go ski. Must be nice

When she graduated high school in 1999, she skipped college so she could travel and train for the 2002 Olympics

She missed qualifying for the Olympic team in 2002. But her career had taken off nonetheless. She posed in just body paint on a 2004 cover of FHM

Her athletic career was coming on strong too, she came back and won a silver medal in the halfpipe in the 2006 Olympics

After winning silver, the endorsements and modelling gigs started pouring in

She got a spread in Maxim

She now has a deal with Oakley

And Old Spice

And a ton of bigtime corporations

She also got to go to the White House after striking Olympic silver

Back on the slopes, she kept up her awesome record in the half-pipe. She won gold at the 2008 X Games

The X Games even used her in an owl-theme commercial

She returned to the Olympics in 2010. She didn't win anything, but Al Roker was still interested

She's parlayed her moderate fame into advocacy. Earlier this year she appeared in a PSA about not using plastic bags

This summer, ESPN came calling. They wanted to put her on the cover of the Body Issue

And just like that, she's the model on the cover of one of the most popular sports magazines of the year

Way more people will know her name when the issue hits newsstands today

Now check out how the Body Issue gets made

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