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Olympic swimmer Amanda Beard poses naked in the ad

Luffy | Wednesday, August 06, 2008 | 0 comments
American Olympic swimmer Amanda Beard caused a splash in Beijing today when she posed naked in front of a US flag to protest against the fur trade.

In a poster for the animal rights group PETA, the reigning 200-meter breaststroke champion - who also appeared in Playboy in 2007 - appears naked in front of the flag flag with the slogan: "Be comfortable in your own skin. Don't wear fur."

The 26-year-old Beard swore: "I'd much rather go naked than ever put a dead animal on my body."
Making a splash: Olympic swimmer Amanda Beard poses naked in the ad

She said she decided to participate in the PETA campaign because she loved animals and was horrified to see how fur was produced for fashion in some places.

"I have seen a lot of the videos, and (it) brings me to tears," the four-time Olympian was quoted saying in a PETA statement. "What (some people) think is pretty is actually something that's very gruesome and gross."

The 26-year-old came to prominence at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics when as a 14-year-old she took her teddy bear with her on to the victory podium.

She won gold in the 200m breaststroke at the Athens Olympics in 2004 and, billed as one of the world's sexiest athletes, has also appeared in Sports Illustrated and FHM magazines.
Amanda with her poster at the launch today

Jason Baker, an Asia-Pacific spokesman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said today's launch of the ad was "a bit more dramatic than we had planned" after Chinese security officials visited a hotel where an official news conference had been scheduled and shut down the event.

"From what I've been told from the hotel, the public security bureau showed up at midnight and told them our specific event had to be canceled for safety reasons, without going into any specifics," Baker said. "When I arrived at 8 a.m., there were public security officials in the press conference room we had booked.

"Amanda didn't want her voice to be silenced, so we went ahead and arranged something else — we never knew if we were going to be stopped at any point."
Amanda on poolside while training in Beijing

Baker said the protest was not against China and did not interfere with the Olympics. Police and security did not interfere with the event outside the village's south gate.

"It was a sexy ad really designed for the US market. It was positive, and it was (supposed) to be done in a private function room," Baker said.

"I'm surprised they were so concerned, given we've done similar with Asian celebrities in the past."
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