I know: More pictures of hot women. But what do you expect? I am, after all, a man writing a romance.

These, however, are not just random shots of hot women. Alison Baver(top) and Anna Semenovich are, according to Bleacher Report.com, two of the 100 Hottest Athletes of All Time.

Not the 100 Hottest Female Athletes of All Time. The 100 Hottest Athletes of All Time, period. The number of men on list is zero.

Not that I disagree.

You could, I guess, throw in photos of, I don’t know, LeBron James? David Beckham? Ochocinco? I remember once being impressed with a picture of James Lofton making a long-jump leap in his underwear. Impressed, as in, “What are the odds of me ever looking like that while making a long-jump leap in my underwear?”

Here’s how the website itself justifies its picks:

Hot athletes are fascinating. With models, their talent is looking attractive and nothing else. With hot athletes, not only are they beautiful, but they can also kick your butt in whatever sport they play. That’s awesome.

Twenty years ago we didn’t really have hot athletes. Attractive women didn’t gravitate towards sports. Now it’s hard to name a famous female athlete that’s not good looking. That’s probably a sad commentary on our culture.

Why? Do scantily clad babes win roster spots while serious athletes of considerable skill but scant sex appeal sit on the sidelines? Is the U.S. Olympic softball team studded with outfielders who have big breasts instead of big swings? Has the WNBA loaded up on point guards who have sweet asses instead of sweet jump shots?

The Bleacher Report list includes surfers, synchronized swimmers, poker players—poker players!—and participants of something called MMA, which I had to look up. And learning that MMA meant “mixed martial arts” didn’t enlighten me much.

At any rate, I asked a woman what she thought. Are female athletes who become models, pinups and sex kittens liberated or exploited—or something else?

“Maybe it’s because they don’t get paid as much as men for playing their sports,” my source said. “If men got paid what women got paid, maybe we’d see more men posing in their underwear on websites for women.”

Makes sense to me.

In the meantime, I did have my Fast Lane heroine Lara hit the gym before embarking on her quest to destroy Clay. If you want a mental image of her, though, I’d say she’s more Baver (No. 42 on the list) than Semenovich (No. 8).

But, hey, while the latter is a figure skater, the former made her name in speed skating. And the novel is, after all, called Fast Lane.

(In Part 2: Insights from No. 41, Danica Patrick.)

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