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Kathy Ireland named best cover model during Sports Illustrated televised special

Supermodel Kathy Ireland was named top ranking swimsuit cover model during the 'Sports Illustrated Swimsuit: 50 Years of Beautiful' special, which aired last night on NBC, for her 1989 cover of the 25th Anniversary Swimsuit Edition of SI.

Kathy Ireland attends the SI Swimsuit Awards in Hollywood, CA
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

During the televised special Ireland tweeted 'The greatest cover award belongs to everyone! It's a delightful fashion honor.'

Hosted by Heidi Klum of America's Got Talent, and featuring musical guests Tim McGraw, John Legend, Enrique Iglesias and Lady Antebellum, the show was pre-taped on January 14th at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, CA and included interviews with Kate Upton, Christie Brinkley, who recently turned 60, and America's Next Top Model host Tyra Banks.

As a nod to the event, Banks tweeted a photo of her first Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover and added 'Wouldn't be where I am now, if it weren't 4 this cover. Grateful. Thankful. Blessed.'

Kathy Ireland appeared in 13 consecutive Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues until 1996, including 3 covers, and one while she was pregnant. Her 1989 SI cover has grossed over $1 billion to date.

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