Thursday, April 2, 2009

Amanda Beard

Amanda Ray Beard (born October 29, 1981 in Newport Beach, California), is an Olympic-level swimmer and model from the United States of America. Beard participated in the 1996 Summer Olympics, 2000 Summer Olympics, 2004 Summer Olympics, and 2008 Summer Olympics, capturing a total of seven medals, the most recent in the 2004 games. She held the world number one ranking of 200 meter breaststrokers in 2003. In U.S. competition, Beard won three 200 meter breaststroke, three 100 meter breaststroke, and two 200 meter individual medley US National titles.

Beard made her first Olympic appearance at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games at the age of 14, while still a student at Irvine High School in Irvine, California. Her youth and shy manner captured the attention of the media, and she was often photographed clutching her teddy bear, even on the medal stand.Beard became the second-youngest Olympic medalist in American swimming history.

Beard attended the University of Arizona where 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.

Beard made a good showing at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Swim Trials, qualifying to participate in four events at the Athens games.

At the 2008 US Olympic Swim Trials, Beard finished second in the 200 meter breaststroke event, and she qualified for her fourth consecutive Olympics. On 30 July 2008, at the US swimming team's final training in Singapore, Beard, together with Dara Torres and Natalie Coughlin, were elected co-captains of the US Olympic women’s swimming team.In Beijing, Beard failed to reach the semifinals in the 200 meter breaststroke, placing 18th in the preliminaries.

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

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.

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.

In 2008, Beard participated in an anti-fur campaign for the organization PETA. She was photographed nude in front of an American Flag. The flag in that photograph is hung incorrectly according the the United States Flag Code with the blue field to the upper right.


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