Amanda Beard Qualifies for Olympics

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Before a thunderous crowd of 13,247 red, white and blue-clad spectators, Beard, 26, completed another unlikely comeback to finish second in the 200-meter breaststroke and qualify for her fourth consecutive U.S. Olympic team.

The seven-time Olympic medalist from Irvine High, Calif., said she trained for the trials for the past year but only did it “real seriously” the last two months under UCLA coach Cyndi Gallagher. Beard started her latest comeback with Salo.

Script changes, of course, are nothing new for Beard. She went from America’s 14-year-old sweetheart at the Atlanta Games with her teddy bear “Harold” to a comeback kid in 2000 to a favored world-record holder in 2004. Friday was a comeback.

“Not a lot of people expected me make this team,” Beard said. “I knew I could make the team, but it was a long shot.”

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July 08, 2008