WHO: U.S. Olympic swimmer Amanda Beard.
WHAT: Signing her new memoir, "In the Water They Can't See You Cry."
WHEN: 8 p.m. Wednesday.
WHERE: Bookends, 211 E. Ridgewood Ave., Ridgewood; 201-445-0726 or book-ends.com.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: amandabeard.net.
It's not the typical book-tour demand. Authors usually want specific hotels or first-class travel between stops. Amanda Beard needs a good pool and three hours set aside for serious training every day. In June, the 30-year-old swimmer will try to make her fifth U.S. Olympic team.
But despite the lofty goal of London 2012, Beard is heading out on this book tour for her new memoir, "In the Water They Can't See You Cry." She hits the road not only to support book sales but also, she hopes, so her story can help other girls and women struggling like she did.
"I just looked back on some of the things that I went through throughout my life, and I just know there are so many women and young women and athletes that are going through the same things that I went through," says Beard, who documents her history with depression, bulimia, cutting herself and toxic relationships.
"I just felt like they could really take a lot from my story: You shouldn't be embarrassed of emotions and things that you're going through and dealing with. There is a way to work through things and come out on the other side and be successful and happy."
Most people thought Beard was always successful and happy. People first remember the big smile from when she was a 14-year-old medalist at the 1996 Olympic Games. That girl with the teddy bear grew into the woman who posed for the covers of FHM and Playboy.
But a couple of years ago, she revealed the truth of her struggles in a newspaper and magazine article. The response was overwhelming, with many people confiding they had gone through similar troubles.
At that point, the new mother had already started writing the book, which goes into her issues in painfully honest detail. The reaction to her revelations cemented her determination to work through the "emotional roller coaster" of writing it and finish the book. Readers will wonder how she functioned at all, never mind succeeded as an elite athlete.
"I just did a really good job of hiding it and putting on such a fake face when I was out in public or around certain people," she says. "[I'd] dive into a pool and try to swallow everything that was going on in my personal life. I just did a really good job of trying to ignore, ignore, ignore and it just all caught up with me."