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Amanda Beard is ready to swim

August 7, 2008 | 11:23 am

Amanda Beard BEIJING -- Pretty soon she'll be right there with her new friends from PETA, hurling blood at those clad in fur coats.

Uh, not quite.

Amanda Beard is going to draw the line at nudity. Hers.

"Nothing is showing in the picture. So that's pretty mellow, for me," she said on Thursday at a Speedo function at the Jintai Art Museum inside the bucolic Chaoyang Park.

"I like the photo. I thought it was fun. PETA is a little more risque, a little more out there. I know they can be somewhat in-your-face. That's not me. That's not my tactic."

Her appearance Wednesday just outside the athletes' village was to unveil her provocative poster, which focuses attention on cruelty in the Chinese fur trade. And, no surprise, the Beard story was among the most-viewed ones on newspaper websites around the world.

"I've learned the things that I stand for and I represent, things that I'm passionate for and want to commit my time," she said. "I've always been an animal nut and always been somewhat involved with animal groups. It's just building off that and learning different things. It's been an educational thing for me."

If anything, the mini-controversy has enlivened things in the run-up to the swimming here. Beard, competing in her fourth Olympics, will be in the 200-meter breaststroke. The team's first practice here was on Monday night.

"It's been, like, really boring," Beard said. "You are trying to save your energy and not walk around too much. Between my practices, I have five, six seven hours to just lay there. I get kind of bored watching the same movies."

Let the Games begin.

-- Lisa Dillman

Photo: Swimmer Amanda Beard during a practice at Beijing's National Aquatics Center on August 3, 2008 in Beijing, China. Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images

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