Four German Olympic stars have posed nude for the cover of Playboy, threatening to overshadow their team’s efforts at the Beijing Games. Topless photos of hockey player Katharina Scholz, sailor Petra Niemann, judo competitor Romy Tarangul and canoeist Nicole Reinhardt are published on four alternative front covers of the latest German edition of the adult magazine.
Reinhardt poses with only a canoe paddle to protect her modesty, while Niemann is shown tugging on a sailing rope over her head.
Scholz defended her decision to pose nude but said that she had no plans for a future in modeling.
"For me it was a good opportunity, and maybe when I look back after a few years I will be proud of it,” the 25-year-old said.
“Not everybody can go on the cover of Playboy. I did it because I am confident of my body and myself."
She added: "It wasn't a group decision, we haven't seen each other. The shooting was separate. Everyone decided it for themselves.”
The four Germans are not the first Olympic athletes to strip off for extra publicity.
US Olympic swimming champion Amanda Beard posed naked in Playboy last year, and three British athletes including triple jumper Phillips Idowu bared all as part of an advertising campaign ahead of this year’s Games.