Top 5 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Covers Of All-Time

By Staff  |  02/04/2014

Kate Upton

Despite the rise in popularity model Kate Upton has seen in the past two years, her Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition issue is not the top cover in the mag's history.

In NBC's "Sports Illustrated Swimsuit: 50 Years of Beautiful" special Monday night (Feb. 3), the top covers in the mag's five-decade history were counted down, as each cover model accepted a prize and gave a speech.

Upton was among the top five, which also included Heidi Klum, Tyra Banks, and Christie Brinkley. However, the top cover of all-time was... Kathy Ireland's 1989 cover.

Here's the breakdown, as reported by Yahoo:

Top Sports Ilustrated Swimsuit covers of all-time.

1. Kathy Ireland (1989): The three-time cover model's Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, shoot in the late '80s — during which she posed in an itty bitty yellow bikini — took the top prize.

2. Kate Upton (2013): The newbie, who appeared on back to back covers in 2012 and 2013, was celebrated for her chilly shoot in Antarctica.

3. Tyra Banks (1997): The "American's Next Top Model" guru was celebrated for her iconic red and white polka dot bikini cover, shot in the Bahamas, which was the first time a black woman graced the mag cover.

4. Christie Brinkley (1980): The iconic blonde donned a white string bikini for the shoot in the British Virgin Islands. Can you believe she's now 60?

5. Heidi Klum (1998): Did you think she'd really host if she didn't make the top five? Her cover, in which she wore a black and white crocheted one-piece, made the list.