NEW YORK, March 1. SHE’S come a long way from being that little girl with a teddy bear. These days, Amanda Beard is one of the most eye-catching athletes in the world. Tuesday, ESPN.com confirmed that much to be true when it announced that Beard was named the Web site’s Hottest Female Athlete for 2005.
After rolling through the early rounds of the online competition, Beard secured an overwhelming victory in the final round, as she defeated triathlete Lokelani McMichael. Beard collected 62 percent of the 157,000 votes that were cast.
A seven-time Olympic medalist, Beard broke onto the international swimming scene as a 14-year-old in 1996. Since that worldwide introduction, she has become a world-record holder in the 200 breaststroke and has competed in two more Olympic Games. In Athens last summer, she won gold in the 200 breast and silver in the 200 individual medley and on the United States’ 400 medley relay.
Widely recognizable, Beard has been featured in photo spreads in FHM and Maxim magazines and, most recently, was featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Represented by Evan Morgenstein of the Premier Management Group, Beard has numerous sponsorships, including deals with Speedo, Red Bull energy drink and Mutual of Omaha.