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Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue 2012: Kate Upton Graces The Cover

It's been a rite of passage for teenage boys since its first edition in 1964, and this year will likely be no exception. Yes, today is the day that the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue hits newsstands and mailboxes from coast to coast, border to border, and well beyond.

I remember my days at Sargent Central High School. . .Sports Illustrated was one of the magazines that came to the library on a regular basis, and everyone knew when the swimsuit issue was coming. Unfortunately, it didn't make any difference, because our librarian would get her hands on it first and cross out all of the. . .shall we say, "good parts". . .with a black permanent marker before anyone could have their innocence ruined by such things. I realize that today a woman wearing a swimsuit isn't even a blip on the radar, but waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in the late 80s and early 90s, it was kind of a big deal.

Now that I've waxed nostalgic for a while, check out this year's cover after the jump, along with how the swimsuit issue connects back to a Minnesota native.

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This year's cover model is the lovely Kate Upton, a 19-year old from Michigan. This is the second time she's been on the cover, but the first time that she's gotten the big picture. Last year, she was an "inset" picture.

Elle MacPherson has been on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue five times, and four models have found themselves on the cover on three occasions. One of those three-timers is none other than Minnesota native Cheryl Tiegs, who was born in Breckenridge. Though she was on the cover of the 1970, 1975, and 1983 editions of the magazine, it was one of her pictures from a year that she was not on the cover (1978) that has become one of the most iconic images in the history of the issue.

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As latter-day prophet Adam Sandler intoned in his famous Thanksgiving Song, "turkey in the oven and buns in the toaster. . .I'll never take down my Cheryl Tiegs poster." Good call, Adam.

If you'd like to check out the 2012 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, feel free to do so at SI.com.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.