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AMID ALL the turmoil of 2002, there was at least one reason to feel fortunate that year. That was the year Petra Nemcova made her Rookie debut in the SI Swimsuit Issue. And despite how it might look, the above cactus swimsuit was not a Rookie hazing ritual; it was more of a Eureka moment, like finally we've found a woman who can rock a cactus bikini. Needless to say, once we discovered Petra we held tight to her, inviting the Czech stunner back for six more issues (2001-'06 & 2014) and using her picture to create one of the hottest covers the newsstands have ever had the pleasure of carrying (2003).

 

Check out her the Polaroids from her fittings below, and then scroll for more from 2002's Latin American-themed issue.

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VIDEO: Petra takes Brazil

Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday: Petra Nemcova 2002

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GALLERY: More from 2002's "Material Excess" feature