New Lies, Old Lies, And Movie News From Nyad’s “How She Does It” Interview

A two-month-old interview presents Diana Nyad just before she began trying to undo her lies. In fact, she takes some of her standard fabrications and makes them even more outrageous.

Investor Karen Finerman interviewed Diana in June for the How She Does It podcast. The episode went up Sunday. Here are the highlights, including some scoops about the movie.
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After Biopic Announcement, Diana Nyad Begins Covering Up Lies

With a month to go before screenings of NYAD begin, she tries to hide her lies and undo five decades of deceit.

By the time she’d reached her twenties, Diana Nyad knew she was worthy of a blockbuster. “I’ve written a screenplay based on my life,” she told the Miami Herald in 1978. “It’s kind of like Rocky. And the happy ending is the Cuba swim.”

After 45 years, Nyad’s Hollywood fantasy is about to come true. Nyad — starring four-time Oscar nominee Annette Bening and two-time Oscar recipient Jodie Foster, directed by Oscar winners Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi — begins screening at festivals next month.

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Washington Post Sportswriter Makes The Wrong Call Again

In a recent Facebook post, Diana Nyad lauds Sally Jenkins’ new book, The Right Call: What Sports Teach Us About Work and Life. But Jenkins missed the lesson about con artists.

Respected journalist Sally Jenkins has a blind spot for charismatic frauds.

Granted, I come to that conclusion based on a sample size of two, but let me explain.

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Nyad Verses Nyad

Diana Nyad made my day yesterday. In an interview with Sanjay Gupta, she corrected him in a way that shows she or someone close to her follows the Nyad Fact Check site.

Image from Diana Nyad’s June 2023, 2017, Facebook post about her appearance on Gupta’s podcast.

During the latest episode of CNN’s “Chasing Life,” Gupta recalls how Nyad marks the time during long swims:

You’d sing songs. And if I remember correctly, ‘Me and Bobby McGee’ 2000 times was eight hours and 45 minutes.

Dr. Gupta has a good memory (or a good researcher) because that’s just what Nyad said at TEDX-Berlin in 2012.

But Nyad interrupts to correct him: “1000 times,” she says, “nine hours and 45 minutes.”

Nyad has claimed that, too, always preceding it by saying that she sings the song exactly the way Janis did:

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SwimSwam Brings Nyad’s ‘Eventual Comeuppance’ A Little Closer

SwimSwam Magazine and Riley Overend’s “Open Water Swimmers Have Mixed Feelings About New ‘Nyad’ Biopic Coming To Netflix” makes a couple of wrong turns but takes Diana Nyad skepticism seriously.

What I Loved About The Article

It’s a significant step toward what one legit best-of-the-’70s marathon swimmer called Nyad’s “eventual comeuppance.” I’m grateful SwimSwam was willing to risk Nyad’s wrath by publishing it.  And I appreciate all the time and effort journalist Riley Overend devoted to researching and writing the piece.

Other than a few 2013 articles just after Nyad’s crossing, this is only the second by someone outside of the marathon swimming community who takes Nyad skeptics seriously.

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A Letter To Diana Nyad Prompts The Doctoring Of Another Document

Steven Munatones distributed a significantly altered and abbreviated version of the World Open Water Swimming Association (WOWSA) report on Diana Nyad’s Cuba-Florida crossing, but he presented it as complete.

Earlier this month, I sent Diana Nyad a letter. It addressed questions about her Cuba–Florida crossing and how she might want to clear those up before the release of her biopic.

I copied the letter to 60 other people — journalists, folks involved with the film, representatives of swimming organizations, and her most ardent supporter in the marathon swimming community, Steven Munatones.

About a week after Munatones received the letter, he rode to Nyad’s rescue, just like he did when he doctored her Openwaterpedia entry to retroactively and illegitimately ratify her Cuba–Florida crossing.
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The Openwaterpedia Investigation: Why WOWSA Went Dark

Two months ago, the World Open Water Swimming Association (WOWSA) promised an investigation into the 2019 Openwaterpedia vandalism. They haven’t mentioned it since. Here’s why.

In February, I found conclusive evidence that WOWSA co-owner Steven Munatones vandalized Openwaterpedia, one of the organization’s sites, to make Diana Nyad’s best-swimmer-of-the-1970s fantasy appear legitimate. Shortly after I wrote about that evidence, the organization announced they’d look into it:

WOWSA takes these allegations seriously and has initiated an investigation to determine the veracity of these claims. To the extent any of these allegations are found to be true, appropriate action will be taken. (“An Update About Openwaterpedia,” 4 Mar 2023)

That was two months ago. WOWSA hasn’t posted a word about it since, nor have they taken any public action, appropriate or otherwise.

(NOTE: Minutes before I published this post, WOWSA uploaded, “Progress Through Change: WOWSA Restructuring.” Though it doesn’t directly address the Openwaterpedia investigation, I detect investigation-related activity between the lines.) 
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Free Solo Confidential: An Update

On March 2, I published an article about how Steven Munatones’s “Free Solo (Confidential)” led to proof that he sabotaged Openwaterpedia. Since then, a lot has happened: the World Open Water Swimming Association (WOWSA) announced an investigation, Steven Munatones began spamming Openwaterpedia with links to a revenge blog, and then everything got quiet.

When WOWSA blocked Steven Munatones’s Openwaterpedia account on January 30 for “Inserting nonsense/gibberish into pages,” he must have felt that his own organization had betrayed him. When the WOWSA board unblocked him on February 22, I assumed Steven was back in WOWSA’s good graces, and they wouldn’t take my accusations seriously.

I’m pleased to say I was wrong.
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Free Solo Confidential: How The Openwaterpedia Vandal Gave Himself Away

Steven Munatones’ overreaction to an email leads to proof of his culpability for the 2019 Openwaterpedia sabotage.

I became, in the 1970s, the best ocean swimmer in the world. I held all the major records on planet Earth, out in the open sea.
—Diana Nyad, Wilshire Ebell, 7 Oct 2019

Diana Nyad arguably held a record in one major 1970s ocean swim — the Capri–Naples race — but she never completed any others, much less held records in them. In 1976, she attempted the major ocean swim on the planet, the English Channel, three times and failed three times. She never came close to being the best swimmer of the decade.

However, between February and April of 2019, someone vandalized Openwaterpedia — the self-styled “Wikipedia for the open water swimming world” — to make it look like she was.

The culprit used an ingeniously simple ploy, replacing every “7” with a “6” on the entries of the legitimately great swimmers of the 1970s. This effectively moved their 70s swims into the 60s.

The culprit made two other replacements as a diversion: “3” for “4”; and the Cyrillic “s” for the Latin “s” in every occurrence of “openwaterswimming,” thereby breaking every link.

Those changes and the alterations to over 3000 other Openwaterpedia entries provided a smokescreen that obscured the saboteur’s goal: Make Diana Nyad’s best-of-the-70s lie appear true.

Until a few weeks ago, I couldn’t be sure who went to so much trouble for Diana, though it seemed like it could be only one person: Steven Munatones. He had performed other shady tasks for Nyad before, some of which dovetail with the Openwaterpedia vandalism. The packet of documents he sent to the International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF), presumably to prompt them to both ratify Nyad’s Cuba–Florida crossing and to nominate her for induction, was timed to arrive just after the vandal subtracted a decade from most of the greatest swims of the 1970s. Later, when it became apparent the ISHOF scheme had failed, he used Openwaterpedia to falsely ratify Nyad’s Cuba endeavor.

But I didn’t have absolute proof that Munatones — International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame inductee, World Open Water Swimming Associaton co-owner, and Diana Nyad’s most steadfast defender in the marathon swimming community — was responsible.

I do now.
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The DNFCA Christmas Special: “My Emergence Is What It’s All About!”

The Diana Nyad Fact Check Annex and Saturday Night Live join forces for a Diana Nyad Christmas episode.

In the late 1970s, director Gary Weis created short films that aired during episodes of SNL. The 1976 Christmas episode included one about Diana Nyad. The three-minute montage killed the otherwise festive holiday vibe:

At the time, Nyad’s repertoire of untruths was small compared to what it is today. But she managed to sneak a few in.

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