I first read about Amanda Beard’s memoir, In the water they can’t see you cry, on Chrissie Wellington’s Twitter account on April 4. If Chrissie was impressed with an excerpt from the book, I knew I’d be blown out of the water.
Beard, an American Olympic swimmer and model, wrote a candid memoir about her innocent love for swimming, the fame she found from her successes, and her struggles within.
I read the book from start to finish within four hours. I literally couldn’t tear myself away.
Beard had a quick rise to fame at the age of 14 when she surprised herself by earning a spot on the Atlanta Olympic team and winning a gold medal and two silvers. She went on to win a bronze medal at the Sydney Olympics and a gold and two silver medals in Athens. She also competed in the Beijing Olympics.
Due to body image issues and relationship problems with her then boyfriend, she began to cut herself while in university. She continued cutting herself until she cut too deep once. She found help from her husband (Who she was dating at the time), and therapy and medication.
Beard is now happily married with a son.
The memoir is incredibly brave; Beard talks about many taboo topics, including body image, mental health issues and drug abuse. I think that when high-profile athletes talk about their struggles it makes it easier for ‘regular’ people to feel ok about their similar struggles. It helps people know there is hope for them, too.
The story is unbelievably inspiring. Beard is a phenomenal athlete, and role model. Her talent is incredible. At the age of 30 she is preparing to compete in the Olympic trials in June, potentially qualifying for her fifth Olympics in London.
I know I’ll be cheering for her, not only because of her talents but because of what she has overcome to be the happy and successful woman she is today.