glbtq: an encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender & queer culture
social sciences
special features
about glbtq


   member name
   Forgot Your Password?  
Not a Member Yet?  

  Advertising Opportunities
  Permissions & Licensing
  Terms of Service
  Privacy Policy






Alpha Index:  A-B  C-F  G-K  L-Q  R-S  T-Z

Subjects:  A-B  C-E  F-L  M-Z

Nyad, Diana (b. 1949)  
page: 1  2  3  

And so she did on October 5 of the same year, completing the circuit of the island in 7 hours and 57 minutes, besting an unofficial record of 8 hours and 56 minutes set by Byron Sommers in 1927 and demolishing the women's record of 11 hours, 59 minutes by Diane Strubel in 1959.

Nyad's achievements were recognized with her induction into the International Swimming Hall of Fame (2002) and the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame (2006), on which occasion Martina Navratilova gave the valedictory address.

In 1980 Nyad embarked on a second career as a journalist focusing mainly on sports. Roone Arledge, then president of ABC Sports, having seen Nyad on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, and impressed with her ability as a story-teller, offered her a job as an announcer on the network's popular weekend Wide World of Sports show. She worked for the network through 1988.

Nyad had always been open about her sexual orientation with family, friends, and fellow athletes. Word of it had also spread among avid sports fans; nevertheless, Nyad stated to Robert Lipsyte of the New York Times, "she was told not to bring her partner to [ABC] company social events and to make sure her lesbianism stayed in the closet where it couldn't scare the Nielsen families."

As an announcer for ABC Nyad reported on three Olympic Games as well as numerous other important international competitions.

Nyad next moved to CNBC, where she hosted One on One with Diana Nyad (1989-1992) and earned a reputation as a skillful interviewer. She subsequently worked on documentaries for the Outdoor Life Network before becoming a senior correspondent as well as a writer and producer for the Fox Sports Network (1996-2001).

Nyad also works as a radio journalist, having begun an association in 1988 with NPR (National Public Radio), where her credits include hosting The Savvy Traveler, serving as sports business analyst on Marketplace, and offering commentary on sports on The Score.

Although Nyad's lesbianism was something of an open secret, she was not among the most visible members of the glbtq community until 1999, when she participated in a forum sponsored by the New York Times, moderated by Lipsyte and also including Dave Kopay—a retired football player who had the courage to become the first man in one of the four major United States team sports to come out as gay—and Billy Bean, a retired major league baseball player.

Nyad also hosted an episode of the PBS series In the Life (April 2007) entitled "The Last Closet" that dealt with the culture of sports and the prejudice faced by glbtq athletes. The program featured an interview with retired professional basketball player John Amaechi, who recounted the painful experience of having to conceal his homosexuality during his career.

Nyad narrated the documentary Training Rules (2008, directed by Dee Mosbacher and Fawn Yacker), concerning the lawsuit filed in 2006 by student-athlete Jennifer Harris against Pennsylvania State University and its women's basketball coach, Rene Portland, whose "training rules" had, for over two decades, included "no drinking, no drugs, and no lesbians."

After some thirty years Nyad returned to the water to attempt a marathon swim from Cuba to Key West without a shark cage in August 2011 on the eve of her sixty-second birthday. She had first tried to make the passage between the two countries in 1978 but had to be pulled—protesting—from the water after high winds and swelling waves had driven her hopelessly off course.

Nyad's 2011 effort at the swim ended after approximately twenty-nine hours, the last twelve of which she spent battling an asthma attack and pain in her right shoulder.

Nyad's subsequent remarks to Bill Dwyre of the Los Angeles Times showed her to be the quintessential athlete—always committed to doing her best and always aspiring to do even better.

"I do not feel at peace with the way this ended," she told Dwyre, [but] "I feel proud of what I did. . . . I would have tried anything to get there. I would have crawled or dog-paddled to the shore if I'd needed to. If I had seen the lights of the Florida shoreline, I would have found a way to get there. . . . I showed what a human being can do, but I didn't complete what a swimmer can."

The following month Nyad made yet another attempt that she also had to abandon after being stung so many times by Portuguese man o' war jellyfish that medics warned that risking another strike could endanger her life.

  <previous page   page: 1  2  3   next page>  
Contact Us
Join the Discussion
Related Entries
More Entries by this contributor
A Bibliography on this Topic

Citation Information
More Entries about The Arts
Popular Topics:


Williams, Tennessee
Williams, Tennessee

Literary Theory: Gay, Lesbian, and Queer

The Harlem Renaissance
The Harlem Renaissance

Romantic Friendship: Female
Romantic Friendship: Female

Feminist Literary Theory

American Literature: Gay Male, 1900-1969
American Literature: Gay Male, 1900-1969

Erotica and Pornography
Erotica and Pornography

Mishima, Yukio
Mishima, Yukio

Sadomasochistic Literature

Beat Generation
Beat Generation




This Entry Copyright © 2011 glbtq, Inc. is produced by glbtq, Inc., 1130 West Adams Street, Chicago, IL   60607 glbtq™ and its logo are trademarks of glbtq, Inc.
This site and its contents Copyright © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.
Your use of this site indicates that you accept its Terms of Service.