As part of the festivities surrounding the 5th anniversary of Diana Nyad’s Cuba-Florida crossing, this open letter to the most reputable historians revisits one of Nyad’s biggest lies.
15 September 2018
Dear Reputable Historians,
You’ll recall that, back in 2011, CNN caught Diana Nyad lying about being the first woman to swim around Manhattan Island. In response, Ms. Nyad posted (then deleted) a disingenuous non-mea-culpa. You can still find it here.
The history is unclear. The dissemination of accurate information has not followed an empirical path. I am waiting for the most reputable historians of the sport to dig further and publish their research as to their collective best versions as to who did in fact circle Manhattan, when and how.
I write to you, most reputable historians, in the hope that you’ll grab your shovels and resume digging.
Diana Nyad again demonstrates her abysmal kindness and generosity while talking about all of the good that she does in the world.
In Tuesday’s Facebook Live installment—“SHARE with us YOUR Xtreme Dreams! Are you fulfilling your potential? What do you imagine doing with your next five years? Inspire us all by commenting below…”—Diana’s followers did not let her down. Check out the torrent of reverential responses: “You are my idol.” “You are an inspiration to us all!” “You are so great! !!!!!!!!” etc.
Here in the eye of the Cult of Diana storm, Nyad continues to construct a levee against the flood of those who know her to be a charlatan. How could Diana—she who causeth the waters to part, the sitters to walk, and the smokers to smoketh not—ever lie? Wouldn’t happen in a million years, or so her believers can’t help but believe. (C.f. Lance Armstrong and LiveStrong.)
Diana Nyad got through this paean to herself with a few well-worn fabrications, a warning about a future endeavor, and one horrifying episode of insensitivity.
Yesterday’s Facebook Live Video — “Join us in celebration, today, the 5th Anniversary of the Cuba Swim Expedition…”—mainly involved Diana Nyad, before a small audience on the deck of a boat, talking about herself. She also introduced friends and family who, when they spoke, talked about Diana Nyad.
She couldn’t get through her part without a nod to the backlist:
The best men, women, fast, strong, young swimmers in the world have tried this swim. It’s the Mt. Everest of the earth’s oceans.
To review: Only five people besides Nyad have attempted solo crossings of the Florida Strait (see “Everybody’s Doin’ It“). And the Florida Strait is NOT the Mt. Everest of the earth’s oceans. Only one person claims that it is (see “p. 244“).
Earlier, Nyad had enumerated her bilge-bucket list of what “the next things are.” Here’s the final entry:
I want to perform on stage and bring this story to life in a dramatic, storytelling way, and be known as one of the better storytellers of our time.