Olympic gold medalist Amanda Beard tells of battle with cutting and bulimia

London, Mon, 02 Apr 2012 ANI

London, Apr 2 (ANI): Amanda Beard, who won a gold medal at the US Olympics, has revealed how she has battled with bulimia and self-mutilation during her astonishing rise to the top.

The teenage Olympic sensation, a seven-time Olympic medallist, has spoken out about her personal demons for the first time in a new memoir titled 'In The Water They Can't See You Cry'.

The 30-year-old swimmer has revealed how she struggled to cope with her troubled love life and parents' divorce while being in the spotlight as a champion swimmer.

The mother-of-one said that she wasn't healthy for long periods of her youth.

"There's all kinds of health - nutrition, exercising, but there's also mental health, and my mental health was awful," the Daily Mail quoted her as telling the New York Daily News.

Beard shot to fame at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics when she was just 14.

Despite winning two silvers and a gold medal, the teenager's innocence was clear for all to see as she carried a teddy bear named Harold around with her.

But her parents had already split and the world-wide fame which was suddenly thrust upon her became too much.

On dry land, she began to battle with personal torments. But when in the pool, it provided a temporary solace, a place where her worries quickly evaporated.

"I retreated to the pool, swam and swept the emotions under the rug.

"Nothing gets solved that way," she said.

Her problems with self-mutilation began when she was in college, sparked by arguments with her then-boyfriend.

She made small slashes in her arms, which continued until she confessed about her secret battle to her now-husband Sacha Brown, following one particularly bloody gashing.

Eventually, Beard sought therapy and was placed on a stretch of medication. A happy marriage has also helped her to overcome her demons.

Now the proud mother of a 2-year-old boy, she hopes to make her fifth Olympics in London this summer to add to the two gold medals, four silvers and one bronze which she has already won during her glittering career.

She admits that her memoir is "very personal" but added that works with lots of young female athletes and felt like she had to tell them about her "hard, dark" times. (ANI)

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