Amanda Beard: Bleacher Report's Sports Hottie of the Week

Zachary D. RymerMLB Lead WriterDecember 15, 2010

Amanda Beard: Bleacher Report's Sports Hottie of the Week

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    Amanda Beard is Bleacher Report's Sports Hottie of the Week.

    And why shouldn't she be? It was a good day for her, as she announced that she is planning on publishing her memoir, "In the Water They Can't See You Cry," in April of 2012. The release is timed perfectly to coincide with the 2012 Summer Games in London.

    Any time you can add "published author" to a resume that includes "Olympic swimmer" and "model," well, you've done all right.

    So we here at Bleacher Report have decided to celebrate Amanda Beard in the only way we know how: with a slideshow of hot pictures that accompany her story.

Early Life

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    It's usually a good idea to start at the beginning in times like this, so that's exactly what we'll do.

    Amanda Beard entered the world on Oct. 29, 1981 in Newport Beach, Calif.

    Her two older sisters, Leah and Taryn, were into swimming before she was, but legend has it that Amanda used to jump into the pool with them while they were busy training.

    Needless to say, she got to be pretty good in her own right, and it was apparent by the time that she reached middle school that she might by Olympic material.

    In 1996, when she was just 14, her coaches signed her up for the United States National team.

1996 Summer Olympics

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    Amanda was still just 14-years-old when she competed in the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta. And she was still a student at Irvine High School as well.

    She proceeded to go on to become the second-youngest medalist in American swimming history, winning a gold and two silvers. The gold was for her role in the breaststroke leg of the 400-meter medley relay, and the silvers were for 100 and 200-meter breaststrokes. 

    Her youth was obviously a part of her celebrity, and she was often photographed clutching a teddy bear, even while on the medal stand.

Education

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    Amanda graduated from high school in 1999 and enrolled at the University of Arizona, and began pursuing a degree in Retail and Consumer Sciences.

    Naturally, her many talents required a significant amount of her time, and a 2005 piece on SI.com claimed that she could spend as many as 100 days a year away from her studies.

    But when last I checked, competing in the Summer Olympics is a pretty good excuse to play hooky.

2000 Summer Olmpics and Other Success

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    Amanda made her second Olympic appearance in the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.

    She would once again compete in the 200-meter breaststroke, and took home a bronze medal.

    Competing for the University of Arizona in 2001, Beard won an individual NCAA Division 1 Championship. And in 2003 at the World Championships, she set a new world record in taking home gold for the 200-meter breaststroke.

2004 Summer Olympics

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    At the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens, Amanda qualified for four events, and was poised to take home gold in her event, the 200-meter breaststroke.

    And she did just that, once again setting the world record in the process.

    She also won silver for both the 200-meter individual medley and the 4x100-meter medley relay. Worthy of note is that her breaststroke leg in the 100-meter relay would have been fast enough to win gold had she competed for it individually.

Modeling

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    It was in the years following the 2005 Games that her modeling career started to blossom.

    In addition to this wonderful shot for Godaddy.com, she has also modeled for FHM and was a natural choice for the 2006 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. She would also later pose nude in the July 2007 issue of Playboy.

    She also did some work as a correspondent for The Best Damn Sports Show Period in 2008. She would also pose nude in front of an American Flag for PETA as part of an anti-fur campaign.

    Not sure I get it either, but that and her Playboy pictures are indeed on the internet. That would be your cue to stop reading this.

2008 Summer Olympics

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    Her modeling career was all well and good, but Amanda's true calling has always been the pool.

    And in 2008, it called her to Beijing to compete in the Summer Olympic Games once again.

    However, she failed to reach the semifinals for the 200-meter breaststroke, placing 18th in the preliminaries.

    She announced her retirement soon after.

Marriage and Birth of First Child

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    In case you were wondering, the answer is yes. Amanda Beard is married.

    She got engaged to photographer Sacha Brown on Christmas Day 2008.

    "We are completely in love and to top it off we are best friends," she said. "He is truly the man of my dreams and every day I spend with him is a blessing."

    She also gave birth to her first child on Sept. 15, 1999, a boy named Blaise Ray Brown.

Un-Retirement For 2010 USA Swimming Nationals

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    Amanda came out of retirement in August of 2010 to compete in the Conoco Phillips National Championships.

    She finished second in the 200-meter breaststroke, and sixth in the 100-meter breaststroke.

    She was nominated as a co-captain for Team USA soon after the US Nationals, but failed to win any medals at the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships.

Memoirs

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    Larry Busacca/Getty Images

    Now 29-years-old, Amanda announced today that is working on her memoir, which will be published under the title In the Water They Can't See You Cry.

    The book will exclusively discuss her personal struggles with drugs, alcohol, and eating disorders. In a press release, she said that she hopes her memoir "will help others, especially high school and college-aged women, who may be dealing with some of the same issues."

    Once again, In the Water They Can't See You Cry will be released in April of 2012.

    Until then, we'll just keep enjoying her lovely image.