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Olympic Swimmer Tells of Cutting, Drugs and Bulimia

American gold medalist Amanda Beard reveals "hard, dark times" in her new memoir.

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Amanda Beard preparing for the 2008
Olympics in Beijing. Photo via

By Fionna Agomuoh

04/02/12

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Amanda Beard was America's sweetheart in 1996, when the then-14-year-old swimmer carried around a teddy bear while winning a gold medal at the Atlanta Olympics. But her life afterwards was anything but cushy. In her memoir out tomorrow, In The Water They Can't See You Cry, Beard opens up about struggling in her teens and early 20s with cutting, bulimia and drug use. “I work with a lot of young female athletes and moms,” says Beard. “And I felt like a fake standing up talking about everything in my life without saying that it was a roller coaster of a journey, that I have had hard, dark times." Now 30, happily married and the mother of a 2-year-old boy, Beard says her dark days are behind her thanks to therapy, a stint on medication and her marriage. She's also still actively swimming and will compete in the US Olympics trial this June, with the hopes of making her fifth consecutive Olympics in London this July. “I would not change anything about my life,” she adds. “That’s what makes you who you are, what sculpts and makes you stronger. I’m very much a stronger person in every aspect because of the things I went through.”

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