I had been itching to get my hands on this article for months. The L.A. Central Library has New Times on microfilm, so I finally gritted my teeth and struck off down the 10. Turned out to be worth it just for the dune buggies. [Update: I can’t believe that I forgot to include the most egregious, self-serving, and grandiose bit. See the Gertrude Ederle quote below.]
One True Thing
I’ve spent 20 years becoming the best in the world at something.
True, as long as she means self-promotion. Speaking of which…
I mean, if I get to the Florida coast, that will be one of the most historic moments in sports…. [I]t is certainly going to be bigger than Gertrude Ederle finishing the English Channel….
Nyad’s “successful” fifth Cuba-Florida attempt may eventually find its rightful place as one of the most historic frauds in sports. As far as being bigger than Gertrude Ederle’s English Channel finish, there’s no comparison.
But here comes the comparison anyway. Ederle became the first woman to swim the English Channel at a time when most people thought women incapable of making the crossing. She adhered assiduously to all marathon swimming rules, breaking the men’s record in the process. Nyad claims to have swum from Cuba to Florida while flouting the rules at every turn. She never proved that she completed the swim under her own power. If the evidence existed for her to do so, she would have produced it by now.
Dune Buggies in Iceland
When she says she could be successful at almost anything she chose, it is hard to doubt her. On charm and self-confidence alone, she could sell dune buggies in Iceland.
Helen Dudar obviously had some insider info: Buggy Adventure in Iceland.
Failure is not an Option 😉
I would not be defeated by the English Channel.
For a couple of years, it was fun gypsying around the world, competing and often winning.
She rarely won. The English Channel defeated her. Everybody sing: “The truth may set you free / but it won’t bump up your speaker’s fee.”
Another Descent into Honesty
Here’s Nyad speaking of herself in the second person:
You wouldn’t be doing this, like you did for years, if no one were watching.
In other words, to quote Diana in another moment of candor, “I want to be known as the very best at something and have a reputation for that. I didn’t say BE the best…. I said be known as the best. I feel that pressure very strong” (“A Free Spirit Tries to Plunge into History,” Miami News, 16 June, 1978. Page 1, page 2, page 3.)
Thanks for the Memories
Diana says she has almost no clear childhood memories…
…before starting to swim competitively at the age of 11. That leaves two years of memories before her teens set in and the screen blinks off once more. See Diana Nyad Decides to Forget….
Almost Olympian, and Clairvoyant Too
She was going to be an Olympic champion, but an attack of endocarditis…ended the dream at 16…
…and the rest is history. (Her pool times, by the way, never approached Olympian.)
Four Summer Stories
She was “[e]xpelled from Emory for parachuting out of a fourth-story dorm window….”
Not third or fifth, but fourth. Now she says that “I don’t remember Emory at all.” (Again, see Diana Nyad Decides to Forget….)
Flu Sufferer #1
Diana reported that she probably gets sick more often than nonathletes. If a flu is making the rounds, she will have it, with its most intense symptoms.
Of course she does.
And thus ends the best blog post ever about the world’s best flu-sufferer.