Everyone has a story to tell, mostly different from all others.

Virtually none are simple nor, at least from initial outside appearances, what they originally appear to be.

Amanda Beard is an American swimmer and a seven-time Olympic medalist, winning two gold, four silver and one bronze.

fciwomenswrestling.com article, amandabeard.net photo

fciwomenswrestling.com article, amandabeard.net photo

She is also a former world record holder in the 200-meter breaststroke.

Amanda has been crowned the American Swimmer of the Year twice.

fciwomenswrestling.com article, amandabeard.net photo

fciwomenswrestling.com article, amandabeard.net photo

Our super star has won a total of twenty-one medals in major international competition, five gold, thirteen silver, and three bronze spanning the Olympics, the World Championships, the Pan Pacific Championships, and the Summer Universiade.

So based upon that, if she were to write a book, what would you imagine that she would say?

Well it’s good that you asked because she did write a book. A best seller at that and it’s a story that we suspect would surprise and shock many.

As shared at biography.com, “Born in Newport Beach, California, on October 29, 1981, Amanda Beard went to her first Olympics in 1996, where she won two silver medals and one gold.

The youngest of three daughters, she enjoyed watching her two sisters practice for the local swim team. At 14 years old, Amanda Beard’s breaststroke abilities took her to the Olympic trials, where she carried her teddy bear, “Harold,” with her.”

Okay, the teddy bear named Harold. Is that a metaphor or an indicator of what lies beneath?

The respected comprehensive and informative aquatic site swimswam.com adds, “She made her Olympic debut at the 1996 Atlanta Games where she raced to a gold medal as part of the 400 medley relay and two silver medals in the 100 breast and 200 breast as well. Considering her young age–she was the second-youngest swimmer in American history to win an Olympic medal.”

Thankyou Swim Swam for the enlightenment and your colorful name.

Wait a minute. There’s more.

Let me close my eyes. I think I see something. Yeah, it’s ah, furry, has two ears and wait. It went away. Let me try again (eyes closed and straining).

Okay the image is blurry but it’s sitting and watching Amanda swim from behind the starting blocks. Okay, it’s becoming a little more defined. I see a name. Arnold? No. Ronald? No. Wait, got it.

It’s Harold! Harold the bear!

Now I’ve heard of parents wanting to be behind the starting blocks, maybe friends, perhaps a boyfriend, but a bear?

Look, don’t take my word for it. Swimswam said so.

Say Swimswam six times without stopping. Come on. Bear down.

Swimswam continues, “It is not surprising that her beloved teddy bear accompanied the breathtaking breaststroker throughout these high pressure meets. Beard’s bear watched her race from behind the starting blocks, waited for her next to the warm-down pool, and even joined her on the medal stand. As Beard matured, the teddy bear was less prevalent, but her skills as a world class breaststroker were front-and-center.”

This now brings us to Amanda’s story as related from her best seller.

The global book publisher simonandschuster.com provides us with an excerpt.


fciwomenswrestling.com article, amandabeard.net photo

fciwomenswrestling.com article, amandabeard.net photo

“At the tender age of fourteen, Amanda Beard walked onto the pool deck at the Atlanta Olympics carrying her teddy bear, Harold, and left with two silvers and a gold medal. She competed in three more Olympic games, winning a total of seven medals, and enjoyed a lucrative modeling career on the side.

Yet despite her astonishing career and sex-symbol status, Amanda felt unworthy of all her success. Unaware that she was suffering from clinical depression, she hid the pain beneath a megawatt smile. In her late teens and twenties, she became bulimic, abused drugs and alcohol, and started cutting herself.

Her low self-esteem led to toxic relationships with high-profile men in the sports world. No one, not even her own parents and friends, knew about the turmoil she was going through. In these pages, she speaks frankly about her struggles with depression, the pressures to be thin, and the unhealthy relationships she confused for love. In the Water They Can’t See You Cry is a raw, compelling story of a woman who gained the strength to live as bravely out of the water as she did in it.”

When we researched Amanda’s book, the reviews virtually all express that In the Water They Can’t See You Cry is compelling reading.

To purchase a copy please click on the link below.


Fortunately Amanda’s story doesn’t end there and neither does her list of awards. Here is a synopsis.

Gold Medal (200m Breaststroke)
Silver Medal (200m Individual Medley)
Silver Medal (400m Medley Relay)
Swim Team Captain

Swim Team Captain

Recipient of eight National Titles

Gold Medal (400m Medley Relay)
Silver Medal (100m Medley Relay)
Silver Medal (200m Breaststroke)

Bronze Medal

World Champion (200m Breaststroke)
World Record Holder (200m Breaststroke)

Amanda gave up her amateur athletic status in 2001, which allowed her to receive sponsorships and endorsement deals. She was very successful, appearing as a model in several publications, including the Sports Illustrated‘s 2005 swimsuit edition.

She was also a correspondent on the Fox Network’s “The Best Damn Sports Show Period.”

Our beautiful super star is the co-founder of the upcoming Beard Swim Co., which offers swimwear and swimming lessons.

Now happily married, although she isn’t participating in the current Olympics, she recently tweeted that she was “feeling the Olympic spirit” as she watched the games with her children.

In the larger picture, Amanda’s story is very helpful.

“Beauty is when you can appreciate yourself. When you love yourself, that’s when you’re most beautiful.”… Zoe Kravitz

During research it was related she suffered extreme stress from wearing a swimsuit in front of others as well as seeing the photo-shopping process of her ads which caused Amanda to desire having a body which matched that in her photos.

More than wanting to be a great swimmer like so many young girls, she wanted to be skinny, and perfect.

At Femcompetitor Magazine we are absolutely ecstatic that the world of the Curvy and Shapely model has emerged, in part to take pressure off of young girls like Amanda that there is only one vision of what beauty is.

fciwomenswrestling.com article, jessicavanleahy twitter photo credit

fciwomenswrestling.com article, jessicavanleahy twitter photo credit


There isn’t, and as we know, mostly true beauty is internal. It’s not a cliché. It’s really true.

In art and beauty, so many things are subjective and a matter of personal taste.

As her book stated, in the water, we couldn’t see her cry, but as she has emerged from the pool, what we see is a story of resilience, determination and triumph.

No one’s story is simple.

fciwomenswrestling.com article, amandabeard.net photo

fciwomenswrestling.com article, amandabeard.net photo

Even the story of one of the greatest female swimmers in history.

~ ~ ~

Sources: brainyquote.com, Wikipedia, fciwomenswrestling2.com, FCI Elite Competitor, photos thank you Wikimedia Commons.