Diana Nyad Fact Check site
I’ve just opened up the Diana Nyad Fact Check website: http://www.nyadfactcheck.com.
It's intended to correct the public record about Diana Nyad and to find some people to write about or otherwise broadcast that record. My dream is that the site's information will eventually move someone to come forward and tell us what really happened in the Florida Straits in the summer of 2013.
If you have a chance to visit the site, I’d very much appreciate any feedback--whether it be errors, omissions, grammar, design, etc. I welcome any input. And please forward the link to anyone who might be interested, anyone who might have something to add, and especially to anyone who might want to write about Nyad and help get the word out.
I didn't want to do this, but Diana wouldn't go away. If she had just done whatever she did on the Cuba-to-Florida thing, then drifted off, I could have left it alone. But the credulity of the public encouraged her, and she continued with her stunts and her new/old Manhattan claims.
Still, I could have sat back and watched. But then I saw this...
...and it got personal--Nyad next to Vin Scully, one of my childhood (and adulthood) heroes. By sharing a podium with Scully and the others, Nyad dishonors every one of them. By claiming to be the first woman to swim around Manhattan, she dishonors the six who preceded her. By claiming to have swum in the Olympic trials, she dishonors all of those who actually did. By saying that she completed a Cuba-to-Florida swim that was honorable and squeaky clean, she dishonors all of those who have made swims so honorable and squeaky clean that it went without saying.
Again, if you have any questions, concerns, criticisms, suggestions, etc., please let me know about them.
Los Angeles, CA, USA
This is amazing! I read it with one breath! That is exactly what I have asked for while ago - a site/page where a lay person can go and understand what really she claims and what is the truth.
I don't have any recommendations or criticism, I just love it. Plus, I would love to support the site and your time, you should have a donation button on there or let us know how we can support you.
Here is to the best news in 2017!
Thank you so much--you made my day.
And thanks for the offer of support. I think that the best support you (or anyone) could give the site is to help get the info out. I don't know much about social media, so maybe you know of ways there that I've neglected. I posted a link on Facebook so am hoping it gets passed around there.
Please let me know if you have any other ideas.
Great idea. I'll add it as soon as I can--it may be a day or two.
This is great - thanks so much @danslos and great idea @Niek about Walter.
This is great! I already sent it to someone who thinks DN is great. It's nice to just send a link and let them read the facts, rather than trying to list them all out on my own.
In 1968 I swam in a 100 freestyle final which included one of the UK Mexico Olympians (just after his return from Mexico where he came 4th). He won the race against me. Eventhough I did a PB and came last..................But compared to DN, at least I actually raced an Olympian.
OOOH !!OOOH!! I once swam next to Matt Biondi!! and Tom Jaeger. I can't tell you anymore because I was just swooning too much. This is branching off into another thread.. but I CLEARLY remember Matt Biondi as being lovely.( as a person, as a person)
Way to go, I read that post and connected with every thought. To be able to send a simple link with all the info for anyone to read is amazing. I am saving this link to my favorites so I have it at hand! Thank you for organizing this into an easy to use and forward information that we can all use to help with the DN problem.
I just added a bit to the Poenisch section, with a link to excerpts from David Heeren's book The Sporting Stings. E.g.
I work for a biggish US-HQed company, who are having their global sales meeting this week. Apparently they had DN come speak. I got an excited E-mail from a sales colleague, who knows I have done some OW swims, saying that they wished I were there to hear her.
My heart sank somewhat. While my natural urge is to tell her what I really think about the woman, I really don't want to rain on their parade, as I am sure DN put up a good show, and I am sure sent many of them away feeling inspired about 'sticking with it' etc etc.
These are interesting post-truth times in which we live.......
Though I know I'll see you here next week and could readily say this to you then, I wanted to share with everyone here:
I used to think and feel similarly, (live and let live), on this issue and scenario which comes to me more often then I'd like.
Then, a couple years ago I had conversation with a real, prominent and globally respected swimmer who answered my similar thought with this succinct and profound answer,
"But, Dan, the person's story is based on lies."
That simple response to my thinking completely shifted my attitude about dealing with this situation.
(Another good quote from this person,
"she's the most successful unsuccessful swimmer I know." 8-| )
So, I started from that day forward to make my opinion (and subsequent fact based knowledge about her and general issue) known to anyone promoting or otherwise excited about being inspired by a narcissistic, story-telling myth and charlatan who attacks and slanders people and will ruin lives to get what she wants!
No more complacent silence.
No tacit acceptance.
"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic".
Which is how I feel about swim frauds by now, having been exposed to, in contact with, asked about, lied to about or have an opinion on too many of them over the recent years.
And why I think it's also important to speak out before the false claim is made and we get categorised (as we will regardless) as simply online haters.
I'm no lawyer, but it seems to me that she is, in effect, also committing fraud by accepting money to speak, etc on the basis of accomplishments that either aren't true or are so embellished that they bear no relation to reality.
Also, from mathematical Game Theory, if we assume that the total amount of money available for long distance swimmers to earn by appearances and the like is (very) finite and fixed (i.e. a "zero sum game"), then she is also committing fraud by taking money away from those with legitimate accomplishments as it is not available for them to earn.
Finally, her fraudulent claims can have the effect of suppressing the market. By getting people to believe that she did the Cuba-FL swim in a legitimate fashion, other's accomplishments, that are truly legit but not of the Cuba-Fl magnitude, do not receive due consideration. e.g. "Hey Sally, who do we want to speak at the annual meeting this year?" "Well, Bob, I heard about this woman that swam a world record continuous 80-ish miles. How about her?" "No, that can't be the world record - DN swam over 100 miles when she did Cuba-FL."
P.S. This doesn't even mention the potential backlash against the sport if people ever wake up and discover that they paid good money based on something false/exaggerated. This is the saying that "You lie down with dogs, you get fleas", made real: "D@mned distance swimmers, they're probably all like that women who was defrauding everyone. I'll believe that sport is honest when H@ll freezes over."
“Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.” - Oscar Wilde
Another incredibly insightful post from you. I miss your posts when you aren’t active.
In the last couple of months, I have done presentations in Chicago, Munich and Boca Rotan. The good news is that I don’t think anyone in Munich knew who she was. But in both Chicago and Boca Rotan I was asked about her.
When asked about "the woman who swam from Cuba", I restate the question by saying “the woman who claims to have swam from Cuba” with an emphasis on the word "claims". Most people immediately understand. I believe that by the end of my presentations I have established enough credibility that people accept my point of view.
I agree with you that the magnitude of her claims damages us all in ways that are impossible to know or measure.
To @loneswimmer 's point:
“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”
~ Mark Twain
Gotta get our fins on!!
There's a new article on the LA Times website: "Why open water swimmer Diana Nyad wants you to start walking." I was puzzling over how to comment and link to the fact check page, but someone beat me to it. ">
Totally great! I went to the site and the comment section and clicked on the link to the fact check site. I don't know a heck of a lot about the internet, but I think if you click on links from one site to another it starts to gain in importance. Chime in if you know more than I do about this stuff. Or go see the article and click the link to the fact check!
Unfortunately, I learned this morning that whoever posted that comment, true as it is, had created a fraudulent account and posted under Lynne's name. Disappointing that anyone would do that. Lynne has contacted the Times and asked them to take it down.
Update: comment appears to have been removed.
Oh great. Now we have frauds pointing out frauds... 8-|
Reposted with my name!
So glad to have learned of Walter Poenisch. Thank you for sharing links!!! What a story. I just read Nyad's Find a Way, and have certainly been exposed to her story for years, but somehow hadn't gotten the scoop on the questions of her swim. Sad, since she seemed upfront about details of failed attempts. Her narrative is a bit odd at times, and she certainly recounted aspects of her swims that made me think "assisted", but I figured that even if she didn't do the swim, there was value in the attempt-- sad that it seems both she and Lance Armstrong and significant potential, but didn't value their honest abilities. Beyond her conflicting accounts and any questions about her swim, the vile lack of sportsmanship documented about Walter's swim is beyond the pale. To be quoted as saying he was not in shape for such a swim??? After what he HAD been able to accomplish leading up to his swim from Cuba, and knowing the demands of a long swim? Bad form.
Well, I'm just me, and not famous, nor fast, but I'll do my swims and encourage swimmers I come in contact with. Nice to be meeting you all on this forum. Thank you!
Reposted with my name.
And the word * FACTS*
My UK Swimming Times magazine has just arrived, with a nauseatingly saccharine double page spread on DN and her book. sick bucket alert It reads as though the reviewer has just read the book and believed every word.
The final paragraph is below....it was tough, actually getting this far in the article. Wish I could post the whole thing, but unsure how to do it.... and I'm not sure you'd want to be tortured.
**"Part memoir, part thriller, I am fully aware of those who questioned the use of some of her swim gear such as the protective bodysuit and face-mask and some of her swim details.
But this is still a life-affirming tale of chasing a Dream - with a capital D.
And achieving at 64. And still planning adventures"**
PS If you send them your details, you can WIN a copy.
@KatieBun--do they have any on-line presence where we could correct the record? I wasn't able to find a way to contact them.
Or do you know the name of the author so I can forward some alternative alternative facts?
@danslos The author is Peter Hassall. Thanks @Niek
Here's the Peter Hassall article in Swimming Times for your reading "pleasure."
Thank you @captainhaddock and @KatieBun for the scan.
@evmo thanks to you and @captainhaddock for compensating for my shortcomings.
The last sentence of the article:
"And still planning adventures!"
I'll take that as a threat.
“Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.” - Oscar Wilde
Just a bit of a thought experiment here WRT the Wicked Witch of the Wet... You could also call this an attempt at quantifying Donal's Law of Credibility, but based on different criteria.
1) Let's ignore ALL the Cuba -> Florida swim attempts for a moment, both in the 1970's and the more recent ones. Let's also ignore controversial claims that are not related to a specific swim for the moment as well.
2) Does there exist a list anywhere of ALL DN's marathon swims/attempts? I read her first book about 40 years ago and seem to remember it mentioning a number of swims, but I am not sure at this late date.
3) If a full, or fairly full, list has been, or can be, compiled of said swims/attempts, which ones are "controversial"? Let's define "controversial" as a swim in which one or more of the following are true:
a) A provably false claim has been made by DN
b) A swim's authenticity, or DN's claim of authenticity, was questioned by someone knowledgeable in the sport, credible and with access to the information of the swim near the actual occurrence of the swim. Thje claim must be backed up by reasonable evidence.
c) Has been the target of claims and counter claims as to authenticity with at least some strong circumstantial evidence by the "prosecution."
4) Given the above, what is the ratio of controversial swims to all swims? Let's define the "Credibility Ratio", CR, as 1.0-(C/A), with C being # of controversial swims and A be total # of swims. Then 1.0 >= CR >= 0.0 and we already know that in this case CR is strictly less than 1.0. The lower CR is, the less likely I'd be willing to accept any claim from DN.
5) Throw in all the Cuba -> Florida attempts, EXCEPT the final one, to the previously mentioned list. Does CR go up or down or stay the same? Any fairly substantial movement downward would give serious pause believing the Cuba -> Florida attempts.
6) Throw in other claims (e.g. made the Olympic team, swam 96 miles in that 48 hr swim in 2013, etc) and recompute CR.
7) Based on the CR values at steps 4), 5) and 6), at which step do you start to feel uncomfortable with what you have been told about the LAST Cuba -> Florida attempt? Or do you not feel uncomfortable at any step?
“Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.” - Oscar Wilde
Speaking of feeling uncomfortable, perhaps this is the time to air the character issues that make me uncomfortable with Nyad. I stick to facts-about-swims on the Fact Check site, so I don't include much of this. But here's a list of the character issues that bother me and that run counter to much of what I believe about marathon swimming:
1. To Nyad, Marathon Swimming is an attention delivery system for Diana Nyad
Some people defend Diana Nyad by saying that all the attention is good for marathon swimming. I disagree. Nyad is not out there garnering attention and recognition for marathon swimming. She is out there garnering attention and recognition for Diana Nyad.
2. Other marathoners barely exist for her
For example, in FIND A WAY, she talks about swimming in Antarctica:
...in "the thickest wet suits made at the time." No mention of Lynne Cox, who swam in Antaractica with no wet suit at all.
Maybe, though, not mentioning other swimmers is wise, because Nyad can't help but be creepy when she actually does:
3. Cutthroat attitude
On other swimmers attempting Cuba-Florida:
On crew members crewing for other swimmers:
On finding out that Chloë McCardel's going first in 2013:
In Nyad's defense, though, at least she's not homicidal. Though she wanted Chloë McCardel to fail, she "didn't want her to be stung or really hurt or die."
4. Sense of entitlement, part 1: If I want it, it's mine
She feels that if she wants something badly enough (e.g. swimming from Cuba to Florida), she deserves to have it.
["Diana's Big Splash in the Big Apple," Fort Lauderdale News and Sun-Sentinal, Nov. 16, 1975]
5. Sense of entitlement, part 2: Rules don't apply to me
6. Emphasis on the negative aspects of swimming
See "Diana Nyad and Swimming Torture":
Hence, perhaps, one reason why both of her memoirs contain creepily inappropriate stories about the holocaust.
7. Too-Frequent Protestations of Aboveboardness
Other Illuminating Citations
Looks like Ms. Nyad will grace the pages of 'Outside' magazine next month: "...All-Women's 'Icons' Issue.". If you feel inclined to write, as I did, that DN does not deserve to share space with the likes of Abby Wambach, Lindsey Vonn, et al., you can reach the editors of 'Outside' at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also tweet the editor at https://twitter.com/keyeser
Need a "gag me" instead of the "like"
We're all just carbon, water, starlight, oxygen and dreams
Niek, your message is a thing of beauty.
I just learned that Lake Forest College's newspaper posted an email interview I gave them a few months ago. Unfortunately, the headline concerns the Cuba-Florida swim and not the Olympic Trial lie, which would have been more apropos. Can't have everything I guess.
Update on the above interview: Camille Lemieux, editor of the Lake Forest Stentor, very kindly changed the headline to include: "Did Diana Nyad ’73 Lie in her 2015 Commencement Speech?...."
That is a good interview and well written.
Here's the Outside story: "The Superhero: Diana Nyad." Aaaaargh.
The article's author, Stephanie Pearson, can be tweeted at: https://twitter.com/stephanieapears
I just tweeted to her. gag.
Outside on-line briefly covered the controversy of the legitimacy of the Cuba swim back in Sept 2013 at: https://www.outsideonline.com/1798956/nyads-cuba-florida-swim-under-attack
No mention of that in the current issue. Wouldn't want that to get in the way of a "great story". Reminds me of Lance and Livestrong - another "great story".
Hey Niek - Nice post. One correction 'she was 48 hours in the water' is innacurate. Sitting here on the other side of the world I logged on a couple of times during our day/NY night and I timed her doing one of her breaks away from the pool (eg out of the water ) - and she was out of the water for well over 30 minutes (I only started timing after she was out for nearly 10 minutes ) Note- I do get the need for a toilet break but well over 30 mins ??
I believe the correct term for that kind of swim is called a "Hooper"...
I get the feeling that Ms. Pearson's not gonna' be retracting that Outside article any time soon: "I almost missed my flight because I was so excited to finally see this on the newsstand...."
"I'm thrilled to see how the magazine has evolved while still maintaining integrity and passion for all things outside"
Ahahahaha! I really needed a joke this morning!
It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.
To Outside magazine's credit they've actually documented themselves going from Lance Armstrong cheerleader to expose. That being said there was plenty of well documented naysayers prior to changing their stance that they ignored until the evidence became overwhelming. https://www.outsideonline.com/1858541/our-own-words-history-lance-armstrong-coverage-outside#slide-1
While I commend you for reaching out to both the reporter and editor, the reason they have yet to respond is 1) it's a holiday weekend and people aren't in a hurry to answer their email and 2) they are less inclined to respond to someone who has written a rather confrontational and insulting letter. Take it from a former reporter: You will always get much farther with journalists if you are professional and not a jerk.