Highlights From Diana Nyad’s Appearance on Seize the Yay

Diana Nyad treats us to some surprises as she addresses her movie, her dog, and who should tell her story.

Sarah Davidson, erstwhile corporate lawyer and current “funtrepeneur,” met Diana Nyad, erstwhile marathon swimmer and current contrepeneur, on Necker Island, property of erstwhile budgie breeder and current sine-qua-non-trepreneur Richard Branson.

Diana Nyad and Richard Branson on Nekker Island.
From the con artist playbook: Stand next to a reputable and/or revered and/or wealthy person. Get photo. Viewers will unconsciously assume that you, the con artist, are in the same league as the person standing next to you. (Image: detail from Nyad’s Facebook page.)

As a result, Davidson invited Nyad to appear on her podcast, Seize the Yay. In their chat, Diana presented many variations on her standard themes — you can find an annotated list here — but she tossed in a handful of surprises, which you’ll find below. Diana has not lost her touch!

♦ ♦ ♦

Those who vomited a little when Deadline announced the Nyad biopic in March will welcome this first example:

It hasn’t been shot yet. So when I say “upcoming,” you know, who knows if it’ll be a year or two from now when it actually gets made. (45:14)

Deadline suggested that production could begin as early as “this summer.” Nyad’s new timeline reinforces what I’ve learned from knowledgeable sources: the film will probably never get made. Nyad consistently bends the truth in whatever direction will avoid making her look bad. So, if she’s saying “a year or two,” she may already know the film’s dead.

Advertisement for Nessie movie.
In the spring of 1977, Diana Nyad decided to swim from Cuba to Florida, and Nessie decided to take over the world. Development on Nessie ended when funding fell through. Nyad’s success remains TBD. (Image via WIKIZILLA.)

Sometimes, though, Nyad miscalculates, like she did after Simone Biles withdrew from the gymnastics team competition in Tokyo. Whatever Nyad said about Biles, she retracted and deleted her comments so fast that they’re now as elusive as Sasquatch.

She put her foot in it again in Seize the Yay:

And in this movie, it’s not a lesbian movie —  Bonnie and I are, you know, not in that relationship, or we’re not playing that role in this movie. (46:31)

Why would Nyad need to say that? Given her ostensible status as an LGBTQ icon, why assure her audience that “it’s not a lesbian movie”? Apparently, Nyad’s concerned that it might bother you if it was, so she wants to set your mind at ease.

In case that’s not weird enough, let’s talk about Diana’s dog.  (I promised myself I wouldn’t. I understand the pain of losing a beloved pet. Nyad’s Seize the Yay conversation, however, made it impossible for me to keep my promise. I will plead for forgiveness later.)

On July 30, Nyad twice posted to Facebook about the loss of her beloved Teddy. The first post was a lengthy elegy; the second, a shorter piece that concluded with a one-minute video. That post also included an invitation to join a Zoom call in which participants would help Nyad navigate her grief.

On August 4, she tells Davidson:

This Sunday, so it’s only a couple of days ago, I had to say my final goodbyes to my beloved hound dog. . . . But I’ve been hearing — not that I even have put it out there far and wide, you know, in terms of Facebook and all that. (section begins at 7:09)

Here are screenshots of the two posts in which she put it out there far and wide (click for complete image):

Diana Nyad’s two July 30 posts about the passing of her dog, Teddy. In an interview five days later, she says of her loss: “not that I even have put it out there far and wide, you know, in terms of Facebook and all that.”

♦ ♦ ♦

Earlier in Seize the Yay, Nyad says:

Sometimes I read people’s versions of my life and say, yeah, they don’t have it quite right. Because you can, you know, if you want to tell your life, you tell it yourself. (26:57)

She goes on to present a largely accurate version of her Olympic Trials tale:  She was never a great, elite-caliber pool swimmer, and she tried to get to the Olympic Trials but couldn’t.

Unfortunately for Diana, over the last five decades, she has changed her story so often that she’s lying even when she tells the truth. She says that she wasn’t good enough to reach the Olympics, but sometimes she says she was. She says she didn’t reach the trials, but she has often told a detailed story about her sixth-place finish at the trials.  She says that her six-week (or three-month or four-month or year-long) illness didn’t keep her from reaching Mexico City, but sometimes she says it did.

In Seize the Yay, Diana Nyad proves one more time that she is the least reliable narrator of her own story.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: