We can’t say we mind that Amanda Beard likes to split her time between Olympic-level swimming and the occasional bikini modeling. A master breaststroke swimmer, Amanda competed in the 1996 Olympics at age 14 and took home one gold and two silver medals (that she received while clutching a teddy bear on the podium, no less). From there she competed in several other Olympics, winning the gold in 2014, and became the world-record holder in the 100-meter breaststroke.
Her modeling career started almost as early. Rather than stumble into modeling after finding herself in the spotlight as an athlete, as many do, Amanda has pursued modeling since she was young and had her first shoot at 16. “I remember having so much fun getting my hair and makeup professionally done for the first time,” Amanda said. “I was scared out of my mind, but the pictures ended up looking really cute!”
In 2007 she graced the cover of Playboy next to a headline that screamed, “The world’s sexiest athlete nude.”
Still, things weren’t always as good as they might have seemed for this girl on top of her game. Amanda penned a memoir titled “In the Water They Can’t See You Cry” that was released in 2012. It tells of depression and unhealthy relationships endured during her rise to fame. “Through renewed faith in herself; the love of her family; and finally the birth of her baby boy, Blaise, Amanda has transformed her life,” reads the introduction from Simon & Schuster. She gives credit for her 180-degree change to now-husband Sasha Brown, a photographer with whom she also has a daughter, Doone.
Amanda appeared on Celebrity Wife Swap in June 2014 and continues to train for competition. “When I’m at the pool deck or when I’m training or in a meet, I’m very serious and very intense,” Amanda told The State Register-Journal. “Swimming is my hobby that I still take pretty seriously.”