She flung her aging body into shark-infested waters to swim from Cuba to America without any sleep. Diana Nyad, 61, struck out to shatter history when she made it halfway between the island nation and Florida, ESPN reported earlier this week.
She swam through a pool of stinging jellyfish and, according to CNN Health, was battered by an asthma attack, an injured shoulder, and fierce currents that forced her 15 miles off course. Nyad made it halfway before allowing herself to be pulled from the water by nearby boat crews.
The epic athlete still holds the world record for once swimming 102 miles from the Bahamas to the Florida Keys, Sports Illustrated stated Monday. This was her second attempt at the Cuba-America venture.
Women older than Nyad have rebelled against age with their own grave-defying feats. “We are far from irrelevant at 60,” Nyad explained on her KCRW radio web page. “We’re now emotionally mature, brimming with wisdom and calm, still physically strong. This should be the prime of our lives.”
Still in their prime, a triathlete, a weightlifter and a world explorer are just a sampling of Baby Boomers gone wild, along with their Silent Generation elders.
Dashing from the water and mounting a bike during the 2009 Ironman Hawaii Triathlon, Harriet Anderson was sideswiped by another cyclist, who sent her plummeting to the ground, according to the World Triathlon Corporation. The other athlete didn’t stop, but 73-year-old Anderson herself back onto the bike with a broken clavicle, and finished the 112-mile trek. She then had someone tape her arm to her waist so she could do the 26.2 mile footrace, which she successfully finished before the cutoff time. At 75, she’s captured 10 Ironman trophies and run 21 marathons.
79-Year-Old World Explorer
With half a lung missing due to cancer, Barbara Hillary strapped on a pair of skis and pulled her own supply sled through shifting ice and minus 40 degree chills-all the way to the North Pole. “To be old is to be in control,” she told Hilton Head Monthly. The African-American Harlem native followed this up with an expedition to the South Pole the year she made 80. She holds the title for multiple world records.
Iris Davis slammed a 21-year-old robber to the ground and held him hostage until police arrived. That was when she was 62, according to WKMG in Orlando. At 67, the 100-pound storage facility manager has captured 20 bodybuilding trophies and two presidential awards.
ESPN, “Diana Nyad halts attempt at record swim” AP
CNN Health, “Diana Nyad back in U.S. after abandoning Cuba to Florida swim” CNN Wire Staff
Sports Illustrated staff, “Nyad swimming strongly in cross-straits attempt” Sports Illustrated
Diana Nyad, “Diana’s Mission” KCRW
Matthew Dale, “Unstoppable Harriet Anderson” Ironman/World Triathlon Corporation
WKMG, “Woman, 62, Tackles, Captures Armed Robbery Suspect” Internet Broadcasting Systems and Local6.com
Heather Bragg, “Intriguing Icon: Barbara Hillary” Hilton Head Monthly