Kate Upton is officially the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition covergirl of 2012. The blonde bombshell covers the iconic bikini edition of the athletic mag this year and the photo, which was supposed to be unveiled Monday night on The Late Show with David Letterman, has leaked.

The photo shows Kate Upton in a skimpy red and brown string bikini with her blonde hair blowing in the wind and a small charm necklace around her neck. She poses with one hand on her head and the other on her hip, smiling coyly at the camera.

The Florida-native became famous because of her curves and those curves are on full-display on the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition cover. The leaked cover photo began trending on  Twitter Monday evening around 6 p.m. EST as male fans around the world gawked at and shared the shot.

I saw the cover of the 2012 SI Swimsuit magazine and I have to tell you, the real winner today is Kate Upton's boyfriend, tweeted the handle Shooter McGavin. 

Upton had hinted at her appearance in the annual Swimsuit Issue. All I can really say is that I'm in the issue, Upton told The New York Post's Page Six before the leaked photos went viral.

It is no surprise the blonde beauty got the cover. She has been on fire lately. And we are not only talking about her looks. 

The model was chosen to open New York Fashion Week 2012 on Feb. 8 in NYC's Lincoln Center with Super Bowl champion and Giants star Victor Cruz, who just signed on with IMG. She was named the Grand Marshal for the Daytona 500. And she will also be featured in a Carl's Jr. commercial, which has starred other pin-ups like Kim Kardashian, Audriana Patridge and Paris Hilton.

This year, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition was photographed in the Florida Gulf. Models went to Apalachicola, Fla. to photograph the drool-worthy issue in a spot hard-hit since the BP oil spill. The photo shoot will surely put Florida back in the limelight and show the world that it is still a thriving, and beautiful, tourist locale. 

It took us a couple days to master saying it, Diane Smith, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition editor, told USA Today. We thought we can do some good for our country, really help a region that needs to be showcased, said Smith. 

This week the Knicks' overnight-superstar, Jeremy Lin, appears on the cover. Though, we think the Swimsuit Edition will knock him down a few pegs.