The term, jump the shark is a metaphor that was originally coined after the character Fonzie, in the TV show Happy Days, jumped over a shark while water-skiing in a fresh water lake. When a TV show does something this ridiculous, it usually denotes that the show has lost it's way creatively and has now become a waste of time to view. The metaphor works for other endeavors as well.
And speak of the devil, here comes one of those endeavors now: Amanda Beard is going to pose in Playboy magazine and I doubt she is doing it for art's sake but rather for George Washington's sake.
With Nationals just a year or so away, it appears to my cynical eye that she is leveraging as many financial opportunities as she possibly can in the short term for if she can't make the US Olympic team in 2008, or fails to medal if she does, she will have a lot less equity with Speedo or whoever else she is signed with. Hence, "jump the shark", make the quick buck, and exit with a bang seems to me to be the motive.
I think this behavior; (putting sensational publicity and financial obligations in front of one's training), indicates that she may not make the Olympic team. However, if she does make it, the United States will have a Playboy Bunny representing us in the breaststroke. How apropos! [Link]