Sports Breaking

Aja Evans reveals the naked truth

On a day when nearly all her body was exposed to the world, 2014 Olympic bobsled medalist Aja Evans was honing it for an attempt to reach elite status in another sport.

The 26-year-old Chicagoan is among 22 athletes, along with swimming legend Michael Phelps, tennis star Venus Williams and Seahawks' running back Marshawn Lynch, featured in ESPN The Magazine’s 2014 Body Issue, posing in the altogether with props, hands, or photo angles covering sensitive areas.

Not long after she pushed Jamie Greubel’s sled to third place in Sochi last February, Evans relocated to Phoenix to resume training in her previous sport, track and field.  A Big Ten shotput champion for Illinois and fourth in the state at 100 meters for Morgan Park High School, she now hopes to use that speed and power in the heptathlon.

ESPN approached Evans for the Body Issue in March.  She had no qualms about revealing a 5-foot, 10-inch, 170-pound body that had been tightly covered from neck-to-feet by a skinsuit in the Winter Olympics.

"Those onesies are pretty much the same thing (as being nude)," Evans said, laughing, in a telephone conversation after practice Tuesday.  "It’s like one giant tattoo.  You can see the muscles firing, the tension and everything else."

Evans had been a big fan of the Body Issue since 2009, when she saw Adrian Peterson and Serena Williams pictured in the first one.  She knew her mother, Secquoria Mallory, would worry about naked truth until she saw the photos of her daughter were much more Poussin than Playboy.

ESPN put the photos on the Internet Tuesday.  The magazine is on newsstands Friday.

"It’s kind of like a form of art," Evans said.

Like many powerful, muscular women, Evans remembers having insecurities about how she looked when she went from a “little scrawny sprinter” in high school to a bulkier weight event specialist in college.

"These muscles in my shoulders and arms started coming out of nowhere,” she said.  "At first, you are a little self-conscious because you still want to be this feminine person.  It comes as a little shock.  Then you start embracing it and see how well you are doing.  After a while, you stop looking at in such a negative way, and then it starts becoming empowering.

"The attractiveness comes from that confidence, from being in love with who you are, regardless of what size it is.  If you are a thin, willowy model or more muscular, it’s more how you wear it.

"When it comes to the Body Issue, I think people admire our athletic figures and our muscles and what we are capable of doing."

Evans, who has just begun studies toward an MBA at DeVry's Keller Graduate School of Management, plans to wait until next year to test her capabilities in track and field competition, starting with a few individual events and possibly a pentathlon at indoor meets.

She has not ruled out a return to bobsled in a couple years, despite the bad taste left by the U.S. bobsled federation’s inexplicable decision to take her out of the top sled at the Olympics.

"I would have to sit down and talk to them (federation officials) and get a better understanding of all the changes," Evans said, "but I’m definitely open-minded about it.  I’m blessed to have gotten this far.

"When everybody wanted to know what I thought and how I felt, I was like, 'Listen, I came in here as Aja Evans and I’m leaving as Aja Evans The Olympic Bronze Medalist for a sport I had only been in for two years.'"

That’s already a pretty good body of work.

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Man fatally shot after argument over woman at South Loop lounge
    Man fatally shot after argument over woman at South Loop lounge

    An argument over a woman led to one man being killed and another wounded during a shooting inside a South Loop music lounge early Saturday, police said.

  • Oklahoma fraternity's racist chant learned on a cruise
    Oklahoma fraternity's racist chant learned on a cruise

    Members of a University of Oklahoma fraternity apparently learned a racist chant that recently got their chapter disbanded during a national leadership cruise four years ago that was sponsored by the fraternity's national administration, the university's president said Friday.

  • In NYC building collapse, mayor cites 'inappropriately' tapped gas line; 2 missing
    In NYC building collapse, mayor cites 'inappropriately' tapped gas line; 2 missing

    Someone may have improperly tapped a gas line before an explosion that leveled three apartment buildings and injured nearly two dozen people, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday as firefighters soaked the still-smoldering buildings and police searched for at least two missing people.

  • Emanuel uses borrowing to cope with Daley's debt burden
    Emanuel uses borrowing to cope with Daley's debt burden

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel has reduced spending and increased fines, fees and certain taxes to shrink the chronic budget deficits left over from his predecessor, Richard M. Daley.

  • Six Flags Great America's lost attractions
    Six Flags Great America's lost attractions

    Not every ride's the Willard's Whizzer. That iconic coaster debuted in 1976 when Marriott's Great America, now Six Flags Great America, in Gurnee, Ill., first opened. And it's still popular today. But for every Whizzer there's a Tidal Wave, Shockwave or Z-Force, rides existing only in memory.

  • Denim's just getting started
    Denim's just getting started

    Five years ago, denim-on-denim defied all of the dire warnings in the "Undateable" handbook: Instead of evoking John Denver or Britney Spears in her misstyled youth, chambray shirts paired with darker blue jeans became as cool as actor Johnny Depp and street-style heroine Alexa Chung.

Comments
Loading