Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue
Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue (Photo: Sports Illustrated)

Bar Refaeli graces the cover of the 2009 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue

From the beach on Canouan Island in the Grenadines, supermodel Bar Refaeli graces the cover of the 2009 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

Refaeli, a three-year veteran of the SI Swimsuit Issue, is the first Israeli model to land the cover of the coveted magazine. Photographer Raphael Mazzucco, who also photographed the 2008 cover of Marisa Miller, captured the cover photo during a two-day shoot with Refaeli on Canouan Island in the Grenadines.

The 2009 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue takes a journey to four countries with ancient cultures and pillars of modern beauty and makes stops in Naples, Italy; Cappadocia, Turkey; Riviera Maya, Mexico; and Tenerife, Canary Islands. The cover of the iconic magazine is billed, BIKINIS OR NOTHING, and showcases a photo of Brooklyn Decker displaying a map of the world -- in only paint!

The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, a staple of American popular culture, will reach an audience of more than 66 million and there will be more than 350 million page views on SI.com/swimsuit.

Three smashing tennis players -- Tatiana Golovin, Daniela Hantuchova and Maria Kirilenko -- make their SWIMSUIT debut in the Dominican Republic with SI legendary photographer Walter Iooss Jr. The magazine also features 10 NBA dancers representing Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, Chicago Bulls, New Jersey Nets, Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons and Philadelphia 76ers.

"This issue brings together all of the elements that make SI Swimsuit Issue the most anticipated magazine in the world every year," said SI Group Editor Terry McDonell. "The photography is perfect, the locations make you want to go there yourself and the models are full of surprises."

Swimsuit model Anne V attends the launch of Sports Illustrated's 2009 Swimsuit Issue at Prana on February 11, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated)

SI.COM: SI's editors turned the Swimsuit models loose in their cities and asked them to bring back snapshots showing their wild sides - from rookie Lucia Dvorska posing on the bull on Wall Street to Esti Ginzburg doing some laundry beach-style in her apartment building in New York's East Village. For model snapshots visit SI.com/candids.

SI.com will post over 1,500 exclusive photos and 60 video clips totaling over 100 minutes of footage from all 19 models, NBA dancers, Danica Patrick and WTA tennis players. Footage includes a behind-the-scenes look from the seven locations, model-produced Web diaries and a close-up, detailed presentation of body-painting.

SWIMSUIT ON TV: The 2009 SPORTS ILLUSTRATED SWIMSUIT SPECIAL premieres on TNT this Friday, February 13, at 11:30 p.m. ET. The special takes an exciting look at the making of the issue. A home DVD version of the program, with bonus footage and exclusive access to the photo shoots, retails for $9.99.

SI SWIMSUIT 24/7, From New York to Las Vegas: With the launch of the 2009 issue, SI is launching a groundbreaking experiential marketing initiative. SI SWIMSUIT 24/7, From New York to Las Vegas, features the organization's first SWIMSUIT launch event in Las Vegas and the first SWIMSUIT branded airplane.

The models will journey to Las Vegas aboard SI One, a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700, which will be wrapped in SI SWIMSUIT imagery. Southwest Airlines, will unveil SI One at LaGuardia Airport in New York City on Wednesday, February 11. On the evening of the 11th, Southwest will take the SWIMSUIT models and a traveling party from New York to Las Vegas for the launch. Beginning February 11, SI One will fly throughout the Southwest route system for a limited time. This marks the first time that Southwest has wrapped a plane virtually nose-to-tail in imagery.

The CLUB SI SWIMSUIT party, presented by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor's Authority (LVCVA) is scheduled for Thursday, February 12 at LAX, Las Vegas's hottest nightclub located in the Luxor Hotel and Casino. The party is the pinnacle event in a week of launch activities for the SWIMSUIT franchise. More than two dozen SI SWIMSUIT models featured in the acclaimed annual will be in Las Vegas for a day of autograph signings and events culminating with the launch party at LAX, where guests will be treated to a live performance from six-time Grammy Award-winning recording artist John Legend.

Inside The 2009 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue

Swimsuit model Esti Ginzburg attends the launch of Sports Illustrated's 2009 Swimsuit Issue at Prana on February 11, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated)

THE ROOKIES

Meet the new faces in the SI SWIMSUIT family: Kim Cloutier, Cintia Dicker, Lucia Dvorska, Esti Ginzburg, Jessica Hart, Damaris Lewis, Ariel Meredith and Hilary Rhoda.

OFF WE GO

Brooklyn Decker, Jarah Mariano, Bar Refaeli, Hilary Rhoda, Jessica White bring their distinct vibe to Canouan Island, in the Grenadines, the first stop on the '09 SWIMSUIT tour.

NAPLES

The SWIMSUIT odyssey continues to mystical lands where Roman, Mayan and Ottoman cultures once flourished, and to volcanic islands that were stepping stones to the New World. Amid treasures of the past are found pillars of modern beauty with Esti Ginzburg, Daniella Sarahyba and Irina Shayk.

CAPPADOCIA

While eyeing a landscape marked by fairy chimneys, underground cities and colorful bazaars, consider the charms of Lucia Dvorska, Julie Henderson, Damaris Lewis and Anne V.

BODY PAINTING

Take a guided tour of ancient civilizations that is anthropological, archaeological and topographical. It's fascinating …really. Artiste extraordaire Joanne Gair explains the history behind her latest masterpieces on Brooklyn Decker, Julie Henderson, Irina Shayk and Jessica White.

TENERIFE

On this rocky and rockin' archipelago off of Africa, bikinied Cintia Dicker, Jessica Gomes and Tori Praver bring the magma to a boil.

RIVIERA MAYA

Surrender yourself to the new conquistadoras - Kim Cloutier, Melissa Haro, Jessica Hart and Ariel Meredith - who stormed this lush coastal paradise and, not surprisingly, encountered little resistance.

DAN PATRICK BRINGS BROOKLYN IN DA HOUSE

Four-time SI SWIMSUIT model Brooklyn Decker dishes on modeling, her man and men in Speedos with SI's own Dan Patrick.

Swimsuit models Jessica Hart and Tori Praver attends the launch of Sports Illustrated's 2009 Swimsuit Issue at Prana on February 11, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated)

THE 2009 ISSUE features 33 models, 7 countries and 83 bikinis; super models, rookie models, WTA tennis stars, NBA dancers and the world's fastest Woman Danica Patrick!

2009 SI Swimsuit Models

Kim Cloutier (cloo-tee-ay)
Brooklyn Decker
Cintia Dicker (sin-tia)
Lucia Dvorska (Lu-ch-ia Dvor-ska)
Esti Ginzburg (ginz-burg)
Jessica Gomes (Go-mms)
Melissa Haro (har-o)
Jessica Hart
Julie Henderson
Damaris Lewis (da-maris)
Jarah Mariano (Jar-a)
Ariel Meredith
Tori Praver (Pray-ver)
Bar Refaeli (Ra-fii-l-e)
Hilary Rhoda (road-a)
Daniella Sarahyba (dan-YELL-uh sara-YEE-buh)
Irina Shayk (eh-REE-nuh sh-ake)
Jessica White
Anne V (Anne-vee)

2009 Photographers

Marlena Bielinska (Bell - Lin - Ska)
Steve Erle
Walter Iooss Jr.
Matt Jones
Rennio Maifredi
Raphael Mazzucco
John Peden
Riccardo Tinelli
Yu Tsai

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