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02/04/2014 04:14 pm ET Updated Feb 04, 2014

'Sports Illustrated Swimsuit: 50 Years Of Beautiful' Declares Kathy Ireland 1989 'Greatest Cover Of All Time'

Sports Illustrated celebrated 50 years of the most famous single-issue magazine franchise in the world -- as well as the most profitable at more than $1.5 billion. "Sports Illustrated Swimsuit: 50 Years of Beautiful" was a star-studded event, featuring many of the magazine's cover girls. But only one could take home the coveted title of "greatest cover of all time."

In the end, Kathy Ireland was declared the top of the heap for her iconic 1989 issue. "Oh my goodness. 25 years ago?" Ireland marveled. "We never dreamed that that image would be celebrated in this way.”

The honor stands alongside Ireland's other impressive SI Swimsuit Issue feats. She appeared in the Swimsuit Issue for 13 consecutive years, including three covers -- in one of those, she was pregnant.

The 2014 edition of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue hits newsstands on Tuesday, February 18, kicking off the next 50 years of beautiful women.

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