Early in her career, Nyad was more candid than she is now about her career goals. From a 1975 interview:
I would not deny that the day to day motivations are fame and fortune…. I want very much to be recognized.
Diana Nyad has an unquenchable need to feel special, unique, and adored (for her specialness and uniqueness). That is why…
- …she can’t be the 7th woman to have swum around Manhattan Island—she MUST be the first.
- …she can’t be the 3rd of six to swim from Cuba to Florida—she MUST be the first of “all the greatest swimmers of the ocean.”
- …the box jellyfish sting can’t be just painful and debilitating—it must cause instantaneous death 99% of the time.
…she couldn’t attempt a measly single-crossing of the English Channel—she had to become the first woman to complete a double. When she couldn’t get across even once, it was because she had “the worst weather in the world….” Not the third worst or the second worst. The first worst.
She can’t be less than the uniquest of the unique, the specialist of the special, the epic-est of the epic. Even the weather knows it. So she exaggerates and lies.
As for the fortune part, her Wikipedia entry says that…
As of 2006, she…delivered motivational talks to groups through the Gold Star speakers agency, for a fee of between $10,000 to $15,000.
Nowadays she gets $30,000-$50,000, a nice little bump from a ne’er-proven enterprise. If Nyad admitted the hoax, she’d probably still command a decent fee for describing how she planned it and pulled it off. She could still call her talks “Find a Way.”
The Diana Nyad Fact Check editorial board asked me to withhold the “Why Does Diana Make Stuff Up” video from the site. Too much speculation, they whined, and not enough fact. But I can show it to you here if you promise not to tell those geezers on the board.