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Fourth-Place Medal

Destinee Hooker and Megan Hodge didn’t think twice before stripping down for ‘Body Issue’

Fourth-Place Medal

Destinee Hooker has been the Americans' leading scorer during the Olympic tournament. (ESPN)

The U.S. women's volleyball team can win its first-ever Olympic title Saturday with a win over Brazil, but before its quest to don gold began, two national team members took everything off.

Outside hitter Megan Hodge and right-side hitter Destinee Hooker appeared in ESPN's latest "Body Issue" — the publication's yearly celebration of nude athlete bodies. The shoot featured 2012 Olympians Hodge and Hooker and other national team vets Nellie Spicer, Heather Bown, Stacy Sykora, Cynthia Barboza and Alisha Glass.

"Your body is a work of art in itself," Hooker said. "I jumped at the opportunity because why not do it?"

[ Elite Athlete Workouts video: Beach volleyball gold medalist Kerri Walsh's Olympic workout ]

It all started with an email inquiry from ESPN about the possibility of having a few of the team members appear. Former national team member Kim Glass appeared in the 2010 issue and Hodge said she urged her pals on the current national team to do the same.

"I thought it was a cool concept," Hodge said. "I've seen the previous [issues] and thought it was very tastefully done. … Everyone I know and care about loved the photos."

While volleyball has long been a sport associated with sex appeal — and officials have done little to distance themselves from that notion, especially in the attire department — it is usually the beach players grabbing the headlines.

[ Photos: U.S. women's volleyball team ]

Hooker said her fiancé Clifton Gay was chilly to the idea at first, at first insisting on accompanying her to the shoot. After seeing the proofs, though, his fears were assuaged.

"I don't think it's wrong to show a female athlete in a feminine way," Hodge said. "We all had a great time."

Based on the response to the issue, so did the readership.

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