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Was Amanda Beard sick, distracted, or just too old to compete in Beijing?

Amanda Beard, two-time Olympic gold medalist and US team captain, unveils her nude poster for People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta)

It was pretty hard not to notice Amanda Beard as the Beijing Olympics began, she was the one holding the nude poster of herself on behalf of PETA. But the US Team captain blew past the media in record time after failing to advance out of preliminaries Wednesday night in the 200-meter breaststroke, a shocker to all.

Times writer Lisa Dillman this morning wrote in the lead of "Amanda Beard goes from centerfold to just plain fold":

If only Amanda Beard moved as quickly through the water in the 200-meter breaststroke on Wednesday night at the Water Cube as she did afterward in the mixed zone -- which she ripped through at warp speed -- she might have avoided creating another first in her long Olympic career.

Beard had won a medal in the 200-meter breaststroke in the last three Olympic Games, including gold in 2004 in Athens. This time, she didn't even make it out of the heats, finishing 18th in 2 minutes, 27.70 seconds, nearly a half-second out of the last qualifying spot.

Later, Dillman speculated:

Had Beard, of UCLA's Team Bruin, simply missed her taper, or was there one? Perhaps she was feeling the same illness Ryan Lochte suffered a few days before the meet started? And, finally, was this it for the 26-year-old's swim career . . . time for an ode to a centerfold?

-- Tony Pierce

Amanda Beard, two-time Olympic gold medalist and U.S. team captain, unveils her nude poster for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals at the Olympic village in Beijing on Aug. 6. Photo: Jewel Samad  AFP/Getty Images

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Comments (12)

As with Anna Kournakova, who cares? So she's past her prime and didn't medal or qualify for the finals this Olympiad. She parlayed her swimming talent and stunning looks into the beginning of a career and I say more power to her.

I could look at pictures of this has-been swimmer and that mediocre tennis talent all day long!

Dillman's article was character assassination, a disgusting hit job on Amanda Beard. It's clear from Dillman's other blog entries on Beard that she bears a personal animus toward the swimmer; she practically celebrated Beard's failure to qualify in the piece. A dismal failure of basic journalistic practice. It's also clear the LA Times is deeply embarrassed by the piece because, save for a few trace remnants like on this blog, the article has been completely removed from the LA Times web site. It's a nifty bit of censorship that would impress the Chinese government. Too bad none of that new-found self-control and good editorial judgment wasn't exhibited by the Times BEFORE the piece was published in print and on the web for all the world to see.

It's an established fact that Amanda Beard loves to show off her body (she has posed for playboy and FHM). IMO, the PETA poster is nothing but a publicity stunt by a swimmer long past her prime.

A journalistic rule- no editorializing. Report the facts- don't give you're own opinion. The woman is a champion and she is the most upset and shocked with her performance. It just didn't work out for her this time, and most of us will never work 1 tenth as hard as she has trained over her career. She will take this disappointment and use it to propel herself back to the winners' circle.

A journalistic rule- no editorializing. Report the facts- don't give you're own opinion. The woman is a champion and she is the most upset and shocked with her performance. It just didn't work out for her this time, and most of us will never work 1 tenth as hard as she has trained over her career. She will take this disappointment and use it to propel herself back to the winners' circle.

She has already disappeared from GoDaddy's website. Pretty cold blooded of them. How soon they forget.

Baloop. Amanda's amazing. When I started watching her in 96 I never imaged she'd make it to Athens much less Beijing. SHe's come a long way, further than most olympians. If this is the last we see of her at the olympics it's just asl well, but she's surprised me before.

A lot of athletes simply DREAM to be in the Olympics. She's been 4 Olympics and medaled in 3. Past her prime Earshad? I'd say she is just beginning...

Kerasotis Article—Major Crash and Burn
I sincerely regret ever reading the article Peter Kerasotis wrote about Amanda Beard. It appeared in the Florida Today Newspaper on August 14. My husband pointed it out to me. After I read it, I asked him why he had read the article. He assured me that he always reads this column, and that his interest had nothing to do with the two opening lines.
“Amanda Beard is naked.”
Because it was a sports column—I’ll let the matter go. Those two simple lines, however, definitely caught my eye: I actually read a column in the sports page for the first time in my life, and I doubt I will ever read another, thanks to Mr. Kerasotis and his warped attitude. Although he quickly denied using the “Amanda Beard is naked” hook as a “cheap ploy to gain readers’ attention,” that is exactly what he did. He knows it, and everyone who read the article knows it. His denial was a lame attempt to try to hide the fact that he is no better than those he berates. In fact, I think he is worse because he is making money by exploiting others while pretending to be a beacon of morality.
People in glass houses Mr. Kerasotis…
Now, I won’t go so far as to single out men here. I will say, however, what most of us know… that if it weren’t for all of the people involved in the business of publishing real “pornographic” material, or for the people who buy it (or look at it—which I’m certain, Mr. Kerasotis and his ethical-self never have) the venue would not exist. In fact, all that his article did manage to do—besides outrage many readers, was to titillate others and probably make the value of an Amana Beard issue of Playboy that much more valuable on Ebay. Google hita have probably gone off the charts as well.
Oh, and for the record, I think that people like him, uh… hypocrites are worse than pornographers. At least we all know what pornographers are really about. He writes as if he has some strong sense of moral fiber and American pride. He is in actuality however, using those people he criticizes to further his own means. He hooks the reader with the opening line, “Amanda Beard is naked” and then uses one of the so-called “objectionable” “pornographic” photos he so strongly opposed, calling such behavior, “street prostitute-like” to make what point? To sell more newspapers, and basically for his own gain!
I wonder if he is familiar with the term pimp.
By the way, Amanda did not let down her team or Country simply by posing nude. Okay, she didn’t perform well. It happens. But no one except for Amanda can know for certain what affected her performance. If she had been up all night with cramps and a headache instead of doing anything that Mr. Kerasotis deems “Unsportsmanlike” or “UnAmerican”, would we even be reading about her nudity in the sports page? Hmm… sports page—nude women, sounds like a cash-cow to me.
What is so wrong with Amanda, just like the many men and women athletes from the past, simply cashing in on that little-known all-American system known as free enterprise? As a sports writer, Mr. Kerasotis should know that women athletes make far less money than their men counterparts; their opportunities for big bucks are also much more limited. At the age of 26, even Amanda’s modeling prospects are not quite on the upswing. Why shouldn’t she make a chunk of money to pose nude or semi-nude if she wants to? Okay, so she may not be endorsing an athletic product, or a breakfast cereal—she’s still not hurting anyone. And if Mr. Kerasotis has seen any of her pictures, which I will assume from his comments and attitude that someone forced him to view them—and if he could climb down off his high horse for one moment, he might be able to view her very healthy, very athletic body as a testimonial for fitness. Or how about art? Why should it matter whether or not she is making money from posing naked?
If he honestly believes that nude modeling is all pornographic and “not far from what street prostitutes do—selling their bodies”, I can’t help wondering two things: Does he understand what exactly prostitutes (street? or otherwise) actually do for a living? Few of them could command the kind of money Amanda can probably pull in—and they have to do a lot more than get naked and smile for the little that they do earn. Secondly, and I’m not quite sure why I’m asking, but why the need to differentiate by using the term street-prostitutes versus… say, I don’t know, your average everyday prostitute, or even a Heidi Fliess—is there some hierarchy of prostitution that Mr. Kerasotis is aware of, or a deeper, just plain mean reason for him to use a term that I assumed he meant to be associated with the lowest of the low?
Maybe it is just me, and maybe I took this article too much to heart. Perhaps his is a humor column and I really missed the funny--but just as he has his opinion, I also have mine: I think Mr. Kerasotis should stick to writing about sports rather than morality and behavior, and publicly berating not only women athletes, but women in general, even street-prostitutes—whoever and whatever they are.

She would have performed much better if she stops posing nude for playboy magazines etc and start focusing more on her swimming.

Her behavior as US Team Captain was appalling and she is surely not the role model I want for my children. How hard she has worked at her sport does not excuse lack of moral judgment when she knows impressionable young swimmers are looking to her example. Thank goodness for Michael Phelps.

I just came across these old thread posts and they are hilarious. I absolutely love Judie's post which I think is SPOT on and well written. But the best is below, "Thank God for Michael Phelps." Hind sight is 20/20, but it's funny now to read that with historic context. A bong smoking marijuana lover is SO MUCH better than a girl expressing herself for a good cause (PETA) and/or capitalizing on a hot streak in her career. Looks like a mom needs to focus on teaching her kids the morals close to her heart because public figures are not quite cutting it. Take a little responsibility for your own kids. If you teach them and talk to them about doing the "right" thing, they will be able to think for themselves and determine what is or is NOT an admirable quality. Don't blame people in the public eye...they aren't the ones that had your kids and therefore they have no obligations to do what YOU think is right for them. It's all you mom...


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