Amanda Beard may only be 29 years old, but she's been in the hearts and minds of Olympics-obsessed Americans ever since she took home three medals -- including a gold -- from the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games as a teddy-bear-clutching 14-year-old. Since then, Beard has juggled Olympic triumphs with more tabloid-worthy actions, such as posing for Playboy in 2007 and being a spokeswoman for PETA the following year.

But with the 2012 Olympics in sight, Beard is set to add a new accomplishment to her crowded list: being an author.

According to CBS News, Beard's upcoming memoir, In the Water They Can't See You Cry, will detail her life as an Olympic medalist several times over, as well as share stories away from the pool and her "harrowing journey" through drugs, alcohol and eating disorders. The book, which will be co-written by Beard's manager Evan Morgenstein, will be published by Touchstone, an imprint of Simon & Schuster (CBS).

One Badly Time Injury Could Spoil It All

As for the timing, at first blush it seems like a no-brainer to bring out the book in April 2012, just as Beard hopes to be preparing for the 2012 Games. But publishing's tortoise-like scheduling may be a thorn in Beard's side, accustomed as she is to a world where milliseconds make all the difference between being an Olympian and watching from TV at home.

By 2012, Beard will be 31 years old. That's a decade-and-a-half younger than the age multi-Olympian (and 2008 Games' top comeback story) Dara Torres will be, and only a year older than fellow competitor and Olympic gold medalist Natalie Coughlin, who's also making a bid to qualify for the 2012 Games.

All it takes, however, is one injury at the wrong time or the arrival of a new face out of nowhere to derail long-in-the-making expectations, and Beard's results so far this year, when she came out of retirement with an eye toward the London Summer Games, have been lackluster: At the National Championships in August, she qualified for finals in both the 100 breaststroke and 200 breaststroke -- events for which she'd previously won several world and Olympic medals -- but failed to medal, finishing fifth both times. Coughlin, by comparison, finished first and third in two events.

Whether or not Beard succeeds in her newest bid to be an Olympian, she certainly has a story to tell. And Beard and her publisher are banking on that story reaching not just Olympic Games watchers, but a broader and wider audience, as well.

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Actually, swimming is more fun than watching ice hockey,but not as fun as a good MMA match.

December 19 2010 at 10:58 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

The excitement of swimming competition.....I would rather watch my hair grow!!!

December 19 2010 at 8:20 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dtwoleftfeet's comment

You mean hair as in your beard? Just kidding,no offense if you are a lady.

December 19 2010 at 11:01 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

speaking of swimming, when will your elected officials secure our border?

December 19 2010 at 6:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

To the writer of the article. Your facts are not correct. She had a great Nationals, and placed second in the 200m breastroke, thus qualifying for the Pan Pacific Championships. This only after months of giving birth to her first child and limited training. This is a huge accomplishment, and I don't know of many athletes who could come to this level in a short period of time (not to mention her age), except for say Kim Clijsters (tennis).

December 18 2010 at 8:35 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

wonder how she looks naked

December 18 2010 at 4:32 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

"In the Water..." may be the single worst title ever and one of the worst books ever written...nobody cares what this ditz has to say; a waste of good trees.

December 18 2010 at 12:46 PM Report abuse -6 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to bonaventture's comment