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Irina Shayk Is First Russian on Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Cover


From left, the cover of the magazine's 2011 Swimsuit Edition featuring Irina Shayk pictured in Hawaii and the model in the Philippines (AP; Raphael Mazzucco/Sports Illustrated)

The most coveted magazine cover in the world - the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition --announced Monday that Russian stunner Irina Shayk is its 2011 covergirl.

She is the first Russian model to appear on the S.I. cover.

While the official unveiling took place on "The Late Show With David Letterman," the sexy cover, featuring a sun-kissed Shayk in a pink and yellow halter-neck bikini, was reportedly leaked to the Twitterverse minutes earlier. The New York City billboard was accidentally exposed, allowing time for a few cell phone snap shots, before quickly being covered up again.

The stunning 25-year-old brunette, who has now appeared in the famed swimsuit edition five times, earned her moment in the limelight.

"There were ten models there to do the Top 10 List, and nobody knows until the last minute who the cover will be," Shayk said. "And then I saw it, and I couldn't believe it." 

PHOTOS: A Decade of Sports Illustrated Covers.

Shayk's covers also include GQ Spain, GQ South Africa, and Elle Spain. 

She and soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo have been item since 2010 after meeting through their Armani Exchange modeling duties. 

RELATED: Get Irina's Teeny Weeny Bikini.

Her regimen to get ready for the skimpy work doesn't really change from her normal beauty routine.

"I do work out five times a week, but I'm never dieting," Shayk said. "I try to be healthy because to be happy and healthy on the inside shows on the outside."

Other models in the running included last year's winner Brooklyn Decker. The issue hits newsstands on Tuesday.

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