A total of 21 medals in major international competitions, 5 gold, 13 silver, and 3 bronze, are spread across the Olympics, the World Championships, the Pan Pacific Championships, and the Summer Universiade. An American swimmer and seven-time Olympic medalist (2 gold, 4 silver, 1 bronze). A former world record holder in the 200m breaststroke. She has earned the American Swimmer of the Year Award two times. Yes, we are talking about a famous autobiography “In the Water They Can’t See You Cry” athlete “Amanda Ray Beard”.
Amanda Ray Beard was born on October 29, 1981, in Irvine, California, USA. Her father’s name is Dan Beard and her mother’s name is Gayle Beard. She has two older sisters, Taryn and Leah. When Amanda Beard was growing up, there was a pond on a culvert down the road from their house. This is where she started her swimmer dream.
At five years old, She joins the Colony Red Hots summer swim team and began swimming practicing. She told her father that she wanted to become an Olympian.
In 1993 Amanda’s parents’ divorce. In the following year, Amanda becomes a Nova (Novaquatics nonprofit organization swim team in Irvine CA) and begins her uprising in competitive swimming.
At the age of 14, she becomes the youngest member of the US Olympic swim team. In the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, she won three medals – two silver medals and a gold medal. At this time, she was a when a student at Irvine High School in Irvine, California. Fans loved the spunky 14-year-old Amanda, who held a lucky teddy bear on the medal stage, and who swam to greatness with youthful innocence.
Amanda begins to grow. She grows three inches and gains weight, which is a deadly combination in the athletic world. Her self-confidence begins to diminish, and she is led in a downward spiral of destructive behavior like alcohol/drug abuse, and self-harm.
In 1999, Amanda goes to the University of Arizona on a swimming scholarship, where she meets Ryk Neethling. The two form a relationship that is ultimately detrimental to Amanda’s fragile self-image. The stress of college and her relationship with Ryk causes Amanda to develop several eating disorders.
In the following year, Amanda goes to her second Olympics and she competes in her second Olympics, this time in Sydney, Australia. She takes home the bronze medal in the 200-meter breaststroke, despite all of her body peace issues.
In 2003, Amanda became the world champion and American record-holder in the 200-meter breaststroke. In 2004, Ryk and Amanda separated. After several fights, she demands that Ryk leave her. Also, her swimming improves.
At the 2004 US Olympics, she qualified to compete in four events 2004 Olympics and broke the world record in the 200 m breaststroke. She won the gold medal in the 200m breaststroke.
Family & Personal life:
After two years Amanda meets photographer, Sacha Brown. During a photo shoot, which was booked to help her self-esteem. The two hit it off during the shoot and started dating shortly after. She greatly improves her self-image. She has been married to Sacha Brown in 2009. They have two children, Their first child, a boy named Blaise Ray Brown and their second child is a daughter, named Doone Isla Brown. She credits her husband for encouraging her to seek treatment.
In 2012, Amanda Beard published an autobiography, a memoir entitled “In The Water They Can’t See You Cry”. The book cites the divorce of her parents at age 12 as the beginning of her personal struggles, as well as her perfectionist nature.
Awards & Accomplishments:
Third, 100m & 200m breaststroke; second, 400m medley relay, Pan Pacific Championships, in 1995
Silver medals, 100m, and 200m breaststroke; gold medal, 400m medley relay, Olympic Games, in 1996
Qualifies for Olympics with 2nd-fastest time in women’s breaststroke history, in 1996
Second, 100m breaststroke, World University Games, in 1999
Bronze medal, 200m breaststroke, Olympic Games, Sydney, Australia, in 2000
First, 200y breaststroke, NCAA Championships, in 2001
First, 100m and 200m breaststroke; second, 400m medley relay, Pan Pacific Championships, in 2002