Aly Raisman and Simon Biles pose for pictures at event

Gold Medalists Aly Raisman, Simone Biles Rock Bikini In ‘Sports Illustrated’ Swimsuit Issue, Celebrate Body Image

Aly Raisman and Simone Biles were part of the women’s gymnastics team that took the world by storm in the Rio Olympics last year. Now, the gold medal winners, who know a thing or two about body image, are going full-on bikini for the 2017 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue next month, according to People.

With such a whirlwind year in 2016, Simone and Aly are beginning the New Year with a bang. The Olympic darlings, two of the “Final Five” team, have traded in their “leotards for bikinis for the 2017 edition of the iconic special issue,” as the magazine wrote.

Aly and Simone posed for sizzling bikini pics at three different venues in Houston, Texas: Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden, the World Champions Center, and the North Houston Skate Park. Both ladies were trained in the city. Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue photographer James Macari shot the smoking-hot images for the magazine.

Five months after turning heads in #Rio, @alyraisman will be in the 2017 @si_swimsuit issue. #siswim????

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The decorated gymnasts will help celebrate the first-ever VIBES by Sports Illustrated Swimsuit’s event over two days, Feb. 17-18. Miguel and Diplo headline the outdoor event and Houston-based chef Chris Shepherd is providing the food. Models that made the 2017 SI Swimsuit issue will also make appearances.

Aly Raisman and Simone Biles are trading in their leotards for bikinis in SI Swimsuit 2017! @si_swimsuit is headed to #Houston for a music, food and culture festival at @posthtx featuring @diplo and @miguel. Visit the link in our bio to buy tickets.

A video posted by Sports Illustrated Swimsuit (@si_swimsuit) on

MJ Day, SI Swimsuit editor, issued a press release about the event and its hosts.

“We couldn’t be more excited to bring the SI Swimsuit experience to America’s fourth-largest city less than two weeks after the Super Bowl, the biggest event in sports, takes place in Houston. This year’s ‘VIBES’ event will be an all-new and expanded experience, offering fans a cultural festival that spotlights not only the amazing stars of the iconic Swimsuit franchise, but the best in food, music and more.”

Alexandra Rose Raisman, 22, and Simone Arianne Biles, 19, with seven gold medals between them both, also have something else in common: they both are victims of body imperfection bullying.

Big news: America’s sweetheart @simonebiles will be featured in the 2017 @si_swimsuit issue.????

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At different points in their lives, Aly and Simone were made to believe their bodies were not appropriate for gymnastics. They are both testaments to the fact that things that don’t kill you make you stronger. After their dominating performances at the Rio Games, they’ve both made strong cases against doubters and have effectively diffused the arguments. The two recently spoke to USA Today‘s For the Win about their past struggles with body image.

“There was a time when both of us were told our body fat percentage was off. I was a lot more self conscious about it when I was younger…it’s something we’ve both worked hard on so it didn’t hold us back.”

During the interview, Aly joked that gymnasts are supposed to have “flat butts,” to which Simone agreed by saying, “It’s true.” Biles added that, in the irony of it all, the bullying actually empowered them to dream higher and work harder.

Recently, Aly attended a promotion for her video game, Just Dance 2017. There, an aspiring gymnast asked Raisman about any advice she has to offer. “Stay active, eat healthy, work hard, and don’t listen to the people who don’t believe in you,” Aly responded.

The two Team USA Olympians understand the gravity of the SI photoshoot and what it means to young girls and women around the world who face criticism about their bodies and are constantly comparing themselves to others. Aly says that non-athlete women are heroes in their own rights and should celebrate their accomplishments — whatever they may be.

“Women that are not only elite athletes, that are captivating and impressive in their own professional accomplishments (lots and lots of Olympic gold medals between them), but strikingly sexy and beautiful in front of photographer James Macari’s lens.

“I love seeing them shine in an entirely different way in the Swimsuit issue and being able to share these gorgeous and powerful images with the world. These women, their beauty, and what they can achieve know no limits.”

As Daily Mail wrote, next month’s magazine is sure to be chock-full of Victoria’s Secret models who flaunt their assets. However, judging from the teaser pics on Instagram, Aly and Simone can give them a run for their money.

Are you excited to see Aly Raisman and Simone Biles in the 2017 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition?

[Featured Image by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images]

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