No-Fear Fabricator Defies Sharks, Bermuda Triangle, and The Truth

Detail from Minneapolis Star, 19 May 1977.

Last night, a journalist researching Diana Nyad asked me if Nyad ever claimed to have completed an English Channel crossing. I couldn’t remember her saying so, but I recalled her walking right up to the edge.

In a 1977 Minneapolis Star article, Nyad begins a discourse on hallucinations with, “Last summer, when I was swimming the English Channel.” She doesn’t mention that she made three unsuccessful attempts “last summer” and didn’t plan on returning.

Earlier in the article, the author, Rob Tanenbaum, writes about “the perilous English Channel, which [Nyad] has done twice.”

Both statements leave escape hatches. Nyad doesn’t say she finished. Though Tanenbaum does — assuming “done” means she swam “shore to shore” in “squeaky clean, ethical fashion” — Nyad could claim he misquoted her.

The article contains plenty of other lies, including

  • she was still working on her PhD at NYU.
  • she was an Olympic-caliber swimmer.
  • she was “rated the top marathon swimmer in the world.”

But what demonstrates Nyad’s greatness as a con artist — along with her more recent success convincing the press, public, and a handful of marathon swimmers that she swam from Cuba to Florida under her own power — are the first three words of the article’s title: “No-fear swimmer.”

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Nyad News: One Bad Title And Three New Festivals

SwimSwam’s mistitled article

“WOWSA, MSF Disagree On Nyad Swim Ratification Ahead Of Upcoming Biopic”

The Marathon Swimmers Federation (MSF) has not publicly declared a stance on ratifying Diana Nyad’s Cuba–Florida crossing. Two members of MSF’s core group posted strong opinions about the subject on Facebook. But until MSF issues a statement, SwimSwam’s headline remains erroneous and misleading.

No need to tell them, though — they already know (see the article’s comments section).

Nyad at three new festivals in October

And don’t forget that Nyad has three showings left (tomorrow, Friday, and Saturday) at the Toronto International Film Festival, then will open the Hamptons International Film Festival on October 5 and play again on October 6.

Update 14 Sep 2023: Added the Hamptons International Film Festival October 6 Nyad screening, and a link to the festival’s Film Guide.

Sexist Ageist Homophobes: How The NYAD Directors And Others Attack Diana’s Detractors

They use name-calling and dismissiveness. Besides a well-funded PR campaign, that’s all they’ve got.

Image: Graphic based on Graham’s Hierarchy of Disagreement.jpg by Loudacris (originally from, CC BY 3.0.

Over the last several years, I’ve gathered indisputable evidence of Diana Nyad’s five-decade history of lies. I’ve also found multiple instances of her minimizing and outright stealing the accomplishments of other women.

The Nyad filmmakers can’t concede Nyad’s history of deceit because doing so would acknowledge their blunder.

Instead, they and others respond to Nyad’s detractors with name-calling and dismissiveness.
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