Amanda Beard

Amanda Ray Beard (born October 29, 1981), also known by her married name Amanda Brown, is an American swimmer and a seven-time Olympic medalist (two gold, four silver, one bronze). She is a former world record holder in the 200-meter breaststroke (long course).

Amanda Beard
Beard at the 2009 Heart Truth fashion show
Sports career
Personal information
National team United States
Born (1981-10-29) October 29, 1981
Newport Beach, California, U.S.
Height5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Weight130 lb (59 kg)
StrokesBreaststroke, individual medley
ClubIrvine Novaquatics
College teamUniversity of Arizona

Beard's success has earned her the American Swimmer of the Year Award twice. She 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.


1996 Summer Olympics

At the age of 14, Beard made her inaugural Olympic appearance at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, when a student at Irvine High School in Irvine, California.[1] She was often photographed clutching her teddy bear, even on the medal stand. Beard has the distinction of being the second-youngest American Olympic medalist when she won three medals—a gold and two silvers.[2]


At the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, Beard won a bronze a medal in the 200-meter breaststroke.[3]

Beard attended the University of Arizona, where she competed for the Arizona Wildcats swimming and diving team. She won an individual NCAA Division I championship in 2001. In 2003, she became the world champion and American record-holder in the 200-meter breaststroke.

2004 Summer Olympics

At the 2004 U.S. Olympic Swim Trials, she qualified to participate in four events at the 2004 Summer Olympics and broke the world record in the 200-meter breaststroke. She would win a gold medal in the 200-meter breaststroke.[4] Beard also won silver in both the 200-meter individual medley and the 4×100-meter medley relay. Her split in the medley relay was the fastest out of the eight competing (1:06.32)

2008 Summer Olympics

At the 2008 U.S. Olympic Swim Trials, Beard finished second in the 200-meter breaststroke event, and she qualified for her fourth consecutive Olympics. On July 30, 2008, at the U.S. swimming team's final training in Singapore, Beard, together with Dara Torres and Natalie Coughlin, were elected co-captains of the U.S. Olympic women's swimming team.[5]

In Beijing, Beard failed to reach the semi-finals in the 200-meter breaststroke, placing 18th in the preliminaries.

2010 U.S. Swimming Nationals

In August 2010, she came out of retirement to compete at the 2010 Conoco Phillips National Championships. She finished second in the 200-meter breaststroke finals at 2:26.50, qualifying her for the Pan Pac team to represent the United States later in the month.

In the 100-meter breaststroke, Amanda Beard swam a 1:08.72 in prelims and 1:09.12 in finals, finishing 6th.[6]

After the U.S. Nationals, Beard and Natalie Coughlin were nominated co-captains of U.S. national team once again. During the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships, Amanda Beard signed up for her two signature events, the 100- and the 200-meter breaststroke. Beard qualified for finals in both events, but failed to medal. She was fifth in the 100-meter breaststroke (1:07.49) and fifth in the 200-meter breaststroke (2:24.30).[7]

2012 Summer Olympics

Beard failed to qualify for the 2012 Olympic team after finishing 5th in the 200-meter breaststroke at the Olympic swimming trials.[8]

Modeling and advertising

Her modeling work has included appearances in FHM,[9] the 2006 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, and the July 2007 issue of Playboy magazine, in which she posed nude.[10]

She is a spokeswoman for Defenders of Wildlife, and enjoys interior decorating. Both of her sisters, Leah and Taryn, are swimmers. Amanda placed eighth in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Celebrity car race in 2006.

In November 2007, Beard made her first television commercial for GoDaddy entitled "Shock". It featured her "flashing" the seven Olympic medals she won from 1996–2004. Mark Spitz made a cameo appearance.[11]

In April 2008, she joined Fox Network's popular sports talk program, The Best Damn Sports Show Period as a correspondent, covering major sporting events.[12]

In 2008, Beard participated in an anti-fur campaign for the organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). She was photographed nude (again covering her breasts and not exposing her nipples) in front of an American flag. The flag in that photograph is hung incorrectly according to the United States Flag Code with the blue field to the upper right.[13] Shortly after the PETA campaign was released, accusations of hypocrisy surfaced. Beard had told a fashion blogger the year before that her favorite shoes were leather sandals, and she had stated during an interview with SmartMoney magazine that she would never buy a low-quality leather jacket.[14]

Personal life

Beard is a vegetarian.[15] She reports a case of mild dyslexia, which caused trouble with grades in school.[16] She is married to photographer Sacha Brown. On September 15, 2009, she gave birth to their first child, a boy named Blaise Ray Brown.[17][18][19] Their daughter, Doone Isla Brown, was born on June 19, 2013.[20]

Bulimia nervosa

After achieving an athletic scholarship to the University of Arizona, Beard began to struggle with bulimia nervosa.[16] Stress from wearing a swimsuit in front of others as well as seeing the photo-shopping process of her ads caused Beard to desire having a body which matched that in her photos. Beard has said that "even if the purging had hurt my swimming, I wouldn't have stopped. I wanted to be a great swimmer, but more than that, I wanted to be pretty, skinny, and perfect."[21]


Beard released an autobiography on April 3, 2012, entitled In the Water They Can't See You Cry: A Memoir.[22] She explains the title's significance as the sensation of putting her face in the water while swimming to hide any tears she shed into her goggles.[21] The book cites her parents' divorce at the age of 12 as the beginning of her personal struggles,[16] as well as her perfectionist nature.[22] In the memoir, Beard chronicles struggles with self-mutilation, depression and drug use. She credits her husband with encouraging her to seek therapy.[16]

Personal bests

Beard's personal bests in long-course meters are:

See also


  1. Klein, Sarah A. "Conquering Heroine; Amanda Beard Welcomed Back After Olympic Trial Swim Wins", Los Angeles Times, March 15, 1996. Retrieved January 15, 2008.
  2. "Amanda Beard". Archived from the original on August 14, 2008. Retrieved August 14, 2008.
  3. "ESPN Sydney Swimming". Retrieved March 13, 2009.
  4. "2004 Olympic Games swimming results". CNN. Retrieved July 22, 2007.
  5. "U.S. swim teams name captains for Beijing". The Los Angeles Times. July 30, 2008.
  6. Swimming Results | National Championship | Swimsuit Model at Archived August 7, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on January 14, 2012.
  7. Star Meet | Music | Entertainment | Magazine | Celebrity | Fashion | Concert at. Retrieved on January 14, 2012.
  8. Hansen, Greg (July 1, 2012). "Beard falls short in try for fifth Olympics". Arizona Daily Star. Retrieved July 1, 2012.
  9. "FHM Modeling pictures". Archived from the original on August 24, 2008. Retrieved August 18, 2008.
  10. Wojciechowski, Gene. "Beard's decision to bare all is either brilliant business … or all wet". Retrieved June 2, 2008.
  11. "Amanda Beard GoDaddy 'Shock' commercial". November 7, 2007. Archived from the original on September 15, 2008.
  12. "Amanda Beard on FSN's Best Damn Sports Show Period". Archived from the original on December 20, 2008.
  13. "Olympic Swimmer in Naked Controversy; PETA Sorry for Backwards Flag Flap". TV Guide. June 30, 2008. Archived from the original on August 10, 2008.
  14. Bird, Cameron (August 6, 2008). "Is Amanda Beard an animal rights hypocrite?". The Orange County Register. Retrieved January 7, 2011.
  15. "Amanda Beard Talks About Being Naked". Washington Post. Retrieved June 4, 2009.
  16. "Olympic swimmer Amanda Beard recounts drug abuse, bulimia in book". CBS News. April 6, 2012.
  17. "Amanda Beard Says Her Engagement 'Rocks!'". People Magazine. February 13, 2009. Archived from the original on February 15, 2009. Retrieved February 14, 2009.
  18. "Olympic Swimmer Amanda Beard Welcomes a Boy". People Magazine. September 15, 2009.
  19. Crouse, Karen (July 31, 2010). "Olympic Swimmer Amanda Beard Finds Joy Out of the Pool". The New York Times.
  20. "Amanda Beard Welcomes Daughter Doone Isla". People Magazine. June 20, 2013.
  21. Liza Ghorbani (March 22, 2012). "Amanda Beard: My Secret Life". Marie Clare.
  22. Beard, Amanda; Rebecca Paley (April 3, 2012). In the Water They Can't See You Cry: A Memoir. Touchstone. ISBN 145164437X.

Preceded by

Qi Hui
Leisel Jones
Women's 200-meter breaststroke
world record-holder

July 25, 2003 (tied) – July 10, 2004
July 12, 2004 – July 29, 2005
Succeeded by

Leisel Jones
Leisel Jones
Preceded by
Natalie Coughlin
Swimming World
American Swimmer of the Year

Succeeded by
Katie Hoff

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