Irina Shayk vs. Brooklyn Decker: How Do the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Models Compare?

VIDEO: Sports Illustrated unveils 25-year-oldIrina Shayk as this years swimsuit model.
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New year, new model, same instant-star effect.

Today, Sports Illustrated unveiled the cover of its 2011 swimsuit issue. Russian model Irina Shayk glows on it, kneeling in the sand, basking in the sun, soaking up her moment in the spotlight.

It's a natural position: the cover SI's annual swimsuit extravaganza has launched many careers, including those of supermodels Christie Brinkley, Tyra Banks and Heidi Klum.

But it's easiest to compare Shayk to Brooklyn Decker, the model who graced SI's Swimsuit Issue last year. Below, a breakdown of how they stack up:

Age and background: Shayk, 25, hails from Yemanzhelinsk, Russia. Decker, 23, was born in Ohio and grew up in North Carolina.

Before the coveted SI cover: After winning a Russian beauty pageant in 2004, Shayk began pursuing a career in modeling. In 2007, she made her SI Swimsuit Issue debut inside the pages of the magazine and has appeared in every swimsuit edition since. She's also modeled for Lacoste, Guess, Armani Exchange and the lingerie brands Intimissimi and LaPerla.

Decker started modeling after being discovered at a shopping mall in Charlotte, N.C. as a teen. She first appeared in SI's swimsuit issue in 2006 and got more attention from the magazine in 2007 and 2008 before landing the 2010 cover. She also had a handful of acting gigs on TV shows including "Ugly Betty" and "Royal Pains."

Irina Shayk on SI's 2011 swimsuit issue.

What they said about making the cover: Shayk, on "The Today Show" this morning: "I didn't know that I was landing on the cover of Sports Illustrated and it was a total surprise for me. I was in shock. They announced yesterday on the David Letterman show and I was crying."

Decker, on "The Today Show," Feb. 9, 2010: "[It's] the equivalent of a model winning the MVP or the Super Bowl. ... I have no memory of that shot. For me, I didn't remember, and that is what's so nice about it -- it's one of those natural, nice organic moments."

Brooklyn Decker on SI's 2010 swimsuit issue.

Significant others: Shayk is reportedly dating soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo; the two are rumored to have met through their gigs modeling for Armani Exchange. On "The Today Show," Shayk declined to discuss their relationship, saying, "We Russians, we keep secrets."

Decker, meanwhile, is married to tennis ace Andy Roddick. He reportedly sought her out after seeing her in 2007's SI swimsuit issue.

After SI: Where Shayk will go remains to be seen -- on "Today" she said, "I'm just trying to enjoy the moment and we will see what's next." Perhaps she'll follow in Decker's steps: Decker's career exploded following her SI cover stint. She's currently co-starring with Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler in the No. 1 movie in the country, "Just Go With It," which banked $31 million in its opening weekend.

Irina Shayk inside SI's 2011 swimsuit issue.

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