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PHOTO: Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue 2012 Cover, Featuring Kate Upton

The 2012 Sports Illustrated Swimsut Issue is upon us, featuring Kate Upton on its cover. Athletes Alex Morgan, Natalie Gulbis, and Natalie Coughlin also appear in body paint, though sadly no Southern women appear. Upton, however, does have a locally relevant sports connection, for the time being.

Upton, along with Jane Lynch, will be a grand marshal at the Daytona 500, which is quite a step up from 2011's service by Michael Bay, I'm sure we can all agree. And there you have it: Kate Upton is perhaps the most Georgia SI Swimsuit Issue cover model in quite a while.

Click to see a larger version at SI.com:

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Kate Upton/Swimsuit 2012 cover

Photograph by Walter Iooss Jr.

See more of Kate Upton at SI Swimsuit 2012.

We'll eagerly await the 2013 issue, which will surely be photographed on Tybee Island and feature Falcons and Georgia cheerleaders.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.