In Which The SI Swimsuit Edition Struggles (Again) To Stay Relevant

The 2008 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition is out, folks; gaze upon its wonders. And in other news, there's still a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. What year is this again? Aren't naked women on the Internet now? At any rate, our aquatic, clothing-challenged model is Marissa Miller, making her first cover appearance, and fifth appearance overall. And she's wearing possibly the least amount of fabric in SI Swimsuit history (I liked Letterman's line last night: "How would that suit hold up in choppy surf?).

It's amazing to realize that back when SI first started doing these, in 1964, this swimsuit caused quite a bit of controversy. Each year since, the models have been more scantily dressed; but there isn't much more they can take off. I give it three more years, tops, before Carl Monday bursts in and shuts down the entire operation.

I know what you're thinking: Who is the greatest SI swimsuit model of all time? To settle any bar bets, that's undoubtedly Elle Macpherson, who has proven unparalleled talent and longevity. Not only does she have the most covers (five), but they're spread over an amazing 20-year career; her first being in 1986, and latest in 2006. Nicknamed "The Body," she is 6 feet tall and reportedly can run a 5.1 40. Truly the Hank Aaron of swimsuit models.

There are four models tied for second place with three covers each; and among them I tend to lean toward the durable and reliable Paulina Porizkova. Although Kathy Ireland gets extra style points for her role in the movie Alien from LA: Possibly the most bewildering performance ever captured on film.

Will Marissa Miller end up being one of the all-time greats? I for one will watch her progress with interest.

Swimsuit 2008 [SI.com]