Olympian Amanda Beard encourages young athletes and everyone about mental health

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Olympic medal-winning swimmer Amanda Beard is sharing about her mental health journey Tuesday evening at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

“My story obviously involves swimming and my mental roadblocks and challenges that I met along the way,” she said. “But I feel like anyone can relate. You don’t have to be an athlete to relate to having some bumps in the road.”

Beard won two gold medals, four silvers, and one bronze throughout her 12-year career. She was only 14 years old for her first Olympic appearance.

She wants young athletes to know that it’s OK and normal to have bumps along the way.

“It’s OK to fall flat on your face. That’s not an unrealistic thing,” Beard said.

She co-authored an autobiography called “In the Water They Can’t See You Cry.”

“I do a lot of work with young athletes in swim clinics, and I would talk to them and tell them how great my swimming career has been and all these things I’ve accomplished. And then I’d walk away from these things and go, ‘Wow, I just lied to all of them,'” Beard said. “Yeah, I accomplished all of it, but there were some really dark, not fun moments along the way.”

She is speaking at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Yellowjacket Union. The lecture is free and will be followed by a question-and-answer session. People are asked to pre-register online here.