Like many high school boys, I was fascinated by Sports Illustrated's annual swimsuit issue. And like with my peers in the 1980s, Kim Alexis was a favorite recurring subject of mine. I think the first picture of her that I ever saw, in fact, was from Sports Illustrated. I definitely remember the first adjective I thought of to describe her: "sexy." :-D
Of course, it now seems inappropriate to me, as feminists have long argued forcefully, for Sports Illustrated to have a swimsuit issue. While I don't necessarily see anything wrong with pictures of beautiful women in swimsuits - is that really any worse than some of the infamous beefcake spreads in Cosmopolitan? - it makes little if any sense to feature in a sports magazine women in swimsuits that have nothing to do with the sport of swimming.
But Kim Alexis was different. She looked like she belonged in a sports magazine. By that, I mean that she was (and is) so muscular and athletic that, as I once wrote in an essay, she could have easily been featured in Sports Illustrated as a champion Olympic swimmer just as swimmers like Donna de Varona and Nancy Hogshead were, had she gone that route.
Of course, she wouldn't have been wearing any bikinis or provocatively cut maillots, so how gorgeous could she have possibly looked in a regulation swim team tank top?