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Saturday, April 28, 2012
Amanda Beard on drinking, drugs in book

By Aimee Berg
Special to ESPN.com

Amanda Beard
"We all deal with certain dark sides," Beard said.
Seven-time Olympic medalist Amanda Beard has sizzled on the covers of FHM and Playboy but the chest-baring photos aren’t nearly as revealing as her new memoir, “In the Water They Can’t See You Cry.”

In 245 pages, the swimmer admits drinking alcohol at her first Olympics (in Atlanta at age 14), and later: bulimia, cutting herself, depression, taking cocaine, acid, and ecstasy with ex-boyfriend and Olympic swimmer Ryk Neethling of South Africa, and an unhealthy relationship with NASCAR driver, Carl Edwards.

“These are not things to be embarrassed about,” Beard said. “We all deal with certain dark sides.”

Beard had long considered writing a book but never felt truly happy and healthy enough -- until now.

“As long as it’s truthful I can’t get into trouble,” she said, “because it’s my life.”

Beard, 31, is off all depression medication, happily married, and has a 2-year-old son. In June, she plans to vie for her fifth consecutive Olympic team in the breaststroke.

Anticipating reaction to these long-held secrets “makes me a little nervous,” she said, “but it also makes me very proud that I had the guts” to share them.