Vonn on SI swimsuit shoot: 'Athletic women can be beautiful'

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LA TUILE, Italy (AP) Lindsey Vonn says that by posing in nothing but body paint in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue she's sending a message that ''athletic women can be beautiful.''

The 2010 Olympic downhill champion says, ''It's showing that strong, athletic women can be beautiful and it's not just skinny models. There's a lot of different body types in this world and everyone is beautiful in their own way.''

Vonn did the shoot in the Caribbean island of Petit St. Vincent in November, appearing naked with a swimsuit designed on her skin.

She says, ''It definitely was hard for me to have the self-confidence to do something like that but I got over it and I'm learning to be more comfortable in my own skin.''

Vonn also appeared in the 2010 swimsuit issue.