Bodies in Motion


Jerry Cooke conceived of the photo project Bodies in Motion to celebrate the Olympic athlete; inspired by ancient Olympic Greek athletes, Leni Riefenstahl’s 1936 Beauty of Olympics book, and Richard Avedon’s 1961 nude photographs of dancer Rudolph Nureyev.



This photograph of Cathy Rigby on the balance beam is part of the Bodies in Motion series.  August 21, 1972, the photo appeared in the Sports Illustrated article, Sugar and Spice – and Iron by Anita Verschoth.



“Jerry did an essay – a very, very smart idea, on the perfect body in sports – which would be the Olympic athlete.

My favorite – only because I thought it was done so well, and is the kind of picture that could have really backfired on Sports Illustrated – but Jerry managed to photograph Cathy Rigby, who was our best Olympic Gymnast at the time – in just a beautiful picture.

And, as I said, it could have been done by a lot of photographers. It would have been cheap, it would have been simply the kind of picture you would have seen in Playboy or Penthouse Magazine.

But when Jerry did it, it was very appropriate for the magazine.”

— Neil Leifer, SI photographer

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