Sports Illustrated magazine covers have always been a big deal, from girls in swimsuits to iconic athletes. For the first time in history, readers were able to vote for an issue’s cover last year, choosing paralyzed Rutgers football player Eric LeGrande leading his teammates onto the field in his wheelchair as 2011’s most iconic moment. This year they’re going to be able to do it again. According to Mashable, readers can choose 2012’s best sports moment as well as upvote this year’s top photo and most inspiring athlete.
The readers’ pick for the most iconic sports moment of 2012 will determine the cover of the magazine’s Dec. 31 issue. Readers can also vote for the “Most Inspiring Performer” and “Picture of the Year,” which will respectively appear in the Dec. 17 and Dec. 24 editions.
Five nominations from each category will be featured on the magazine’s Facebook (News - Alert) page for one week beginning with Most Inspiring Performer on Nov. 22. Picture of the Year polls will open Nov. 29 and Moment of the Year voting will begin on Dec. 6.
Sports Illustrated has made an obvious effort this year to integrate social media into its legendary print pages. A July issue of the magazine featured photographer Brad Mangin’s Instagram baseball photos, and in September, SI.com ran a five-day “Tweet Week,” an opportunity to recognize Twitter’s (News - Alert) impact of these 140-character bursts on the ecosystem of sports, and to celebrate some of the sports world’s finest, fastest and first to the platform. The centerpiece of the week is SI’s 100 best Twitter feeds in sports, chosen by the SI staff. And the “SI Vault” Twitter and Tumblr accounts share frequent photo posts celebrating historic, beautiful and hilarious photos from the magazine’s database of images.
Facebook users who “like” Sports Illustrated on Facebook also have the chance to agree with nominations for Sportsman of the Year. Michael Phelps, Ben Reiter and Jon Wertheim have all been nominated.