Athlete Tattoo of the Day: Amanda Beard

ABeard_Pic01     The 1996 Olympic Summer Games were notable for many reasons.  First, the Summer Games has returned to the U.S. for the first time since Los Angeles in 1984. Second, it was the Centennial, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the modern Olympiad.  Third, there were some notable accomplishments, including runner Michael Johnson winning dual gold medals in the 200m and 400m races and the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics team winning the all around team Gold Medal for the first time in the event’s history.  Finally, we were introduced to a variety of endearing new personalities, including swimmer Amanda Beard.

ABeard_Pic07     Amanda, who was just 14 years old when she competed in the Atlanta Games, quickly wowed fans by securing a Gold Medal in the 4x100m medley relay and winning individual Silver Medals in the 100m and 200m breaststroke events.  She then proceeded to win the hearts of all spectators by her adorable antics on the medal platform, including clutching her ubiquitous teddy bear, Harold (strangely, as famous as that image is, I have been completely unsuccessful in finding it anywhere).

ABeard_Pic05     1996 was not a ‘flash in the pan’ moment for the young California swimmer.  It served notice that she would be a force for years to come on the international stage and in the Olympic Games.  True to form, Amanda competed again in Sydney in 2000, Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008.  1 Gold, 2 more Silvers a 1 Bronze joined her collection at those competitions.  She gained more medals (including 3 Golds) in international competition.

ABeard_Pic03    Outside of her competitive endeavors, Amanda embraced a modeling career.  Magazines such as FHM and Sports Illustrated, which are well known for featuring the athletic female form, sought out Amanda to pose in their pages.  In 2006, Amanda posed in the annual ‘Swimsuit Edition’ of Sports Illustrated.  One year later, she showed her comfort in showing off her body with a provocative nude spread in Playboy.

ABeard_Pic04     In addition to modeling, Amanda chose to stay close to the sporting arena when she joined Fox Sports’ “The Best Damn Sports Show Period” to cover major events, such as the Olympics.   More recently, she embarked on her greatest endeavor when she became a mother for the first time after giving birth to her son, Blaise Ray Brown, in 2009.

ABeard_Pic06    Despite her successes athletically, life has been anything but a leisurely swim in the pool for Amanda.  As a student in school, she struggled with a mild form of dyslexia.  However, it was when she became a big name that she endured her biggest battles.  While a collegiate swimmer at the University of Arizona, she dealt with bulimia nervosa, brought about by pressures to adhere to a body image and was not realistic.  This was due, in part, to some of her modeling photos being airbrushed in a such a way that is she felt compelled to match this artificial image in real life.  She ended up also fighting depression, self-mutilation and substance abuse.

    Amanda became a life success story, one worthy of imitating, because she faced down these problems and came out healthy on the other side.  More importantly, she didn’t face this struggle silently.  She knew her own experiences were ones that many other women have had to contend with, and she sought to help them by chronicling her life, highs and lows and, in her autobiography, “In the Water, They Can’t See You Cry”.

ABeard_Pic02      One thing that has been readily apparent over the years is Amanda’s love of body art.  She has quite a few tattoos, some with family meaning, others to signify important memories in her life.  One of her most notable tattoos is a set of three stars on her lower back.  Inside each star is an initial.  The initials are L, A, and T.  They represent Amanda and her sisters, Leah and Taryn.

ABeard_Tat02   On the upper part of her back, she has the symbol for Scorpio, which represents her birth sign (October 29th).  She has also recently been scene with 5-point star outline beneath the Scorpio symbol.

abeard_tat01abeard_tat06    Running down the inside of her right ankle is a script design that reads ‘Ray’ for her middle name.

ABeard_Tat03ABeard_Tat08    On the back of her left calf, she has another star design (can you tell she has a thing for stars?).  Then, on her right calf, she shows her most elaborate tattoo, a stunning, and detailed, wintry snowflake design she got while appearing on the hit reality series “L.A. Ink” (this would be Kat Von D’s tattoo show).

ABeard_Tat07ABeard_Tat05ABeard_Tat04 You can find out more about Amanda on her official website:

http://amandabeard.net/

Of course, Amanda can also be found on Twitter at:  https://twitter.com/AmandaRayBeard

You can also see her revealing interview with fellow Olympic veteran, Amy Van Dyken, here:

http://news.msn.com/pop-culture/video?videoid=0d718746-2c4a-41a5-83f1-9b71bd1eb433

And see her feature in Inked Magazine at this location:  http://www.inkedmag.com/articles/amanda-beard/

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Athlete Tattoo of the Day: Elena Della Donne

Women's Basketball Headshots    As tattoos have become more mainstream, each one has become a symbol of something to each person.  It could represent commemorating an important event in life; or, it could represent honoring your heritage.  In some cases (more often than it should), it represents a bad decision ;-).  One of the best kinds is when the tattoo represents something truly, and legitimately, personal to that person.

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   Former University of Delaware star (and Chicago Sky 1st round draft pick) Elena Della Donne definitely falls into that latter category with her body art.

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   Elena took the scenic route to becoming the 2nd leading scorer in women’s college basketball history.  She was one the most highly recruited female players her senior year and, it seemed like Geno Auriemma and the University of Connecticut continued to enjoy their embarrassment of riches when they landed Della Donne in 2008.  However, the Delaware-born and raised roundballer left UConn after just two days on campus.  She was terribly homesick and felt burned out by basketball.  She talks about it in this ESPN “Outside the Lines” interview from 2012:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkWHrjdn5PY

    One of the reasons for feeling so homesick was that she was separated from her older sister, Lizzie, who is deaf, blind, and suffers from cerebral palsy.

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   Elena returned home to attend the University of Delaware, but did not play basketball that first year.  Instead, she fed her other athletic passion by joining the Blue Hens’ volleyball team and leading them to a the NCAA tournament in 2009.  After a year away from basketball, she returned to the hardwood for the 2009-2010 an embarked on a stunning career that allowed her to rank #2 in points and led Delaware to a surprise Sweet 16 showing her senior year.  Then she became the second over all pick in the 2013 WNBA draft.

2013 WNBA Draft and Portraits

    Being #2 seems to fit for Elena because her sister, Lizzie, has always been #1 in Elena’s life.  She dotes on Lizzie like a loving grandparent works tirelessly for charitable organizations dedicated to helping the disadvantaged like Lizzie.  To keep Lizzie in her mind and close to her heart at all times, Elena got a tattoo on her side of angel wings with Lizzie’s name.  It’s a constant reminder to Elena of what all her efforts are for.

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    Elena’s story is one of the best inspirations for getting inked.  Here’s the Elena’s continued success at the professional level.

You can follow Elena on Twitter at:  https://twitter.com/De11eDonne