Diana Nyad

Diana Nyad defends record swim in face of skepticism

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Diana Nyad spent three and a half hours answering questions from fellow swimmers on a conference call Tuesday night, many of whom were skeptical about her Cuba-to-Florida swim that wrapped up in Key West on Sept. 2.

In an interview with NBC News, Nyad said categorically that the 100-plus-mile swim over more than 50 straight hours was done honorably.

“I did this swim with my own body and my own mind, fair and square, squeaky clean,” she said.

Nyad, 64, said she didn’t cling to or climb aboard a boat at any point during her fifth attempt of the endurance swim. She wore a mask and a protective suit to guard against jellyfish stings.

“I was in the open sea the whole time,” Nyad said.

Her speed more than doubled her average of 1.5 miles per hour at some points, drawing skepticism, according to The Associated Press. Nyad said the speed increased because of fast-moving currents.

“Don’t I deserve a little luck, after I’ve had so much bad luck on my previous four tries,” Nyad said.

Nyad said notes taken by her navigator during the swim and two official observers will be made available.

“Many of us are pursuing this as a technical matter,” Richard Clifford, a New York attorney and a kayaker for open water swimmers, told the AP. “Having the information out there helps us analyze it, measure it, test it, smell it, you know, decide if it looks right and is right, and you guys keep saying it is. So, let us look at it.”

Nyad, who plans to swim in a pool in New York’s Herald Square for 48 straight hours for charity next month, is not surprised by the skepticism.

“When you set a huge world record like this, you’ve got to vet it,” Nyad said. “You’ve got to ask every question. You’ve got to put the swimmer under a microscope and make her answer all these questions.”

Olympic swimming community reacts to Nyad’s record

U.S. sprinters past, present trade relay barbs

Justin Gatlin
Getty Images
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The only loss for the Americans at the Penn Relays came in the men’s 4x100m, as the U.S. team bobbled its victory away on a bad baton handoff between Tyson Gay and Isiah Young for the final leg, which led to a disqualification.

Mike Rodgers and Justin Gatlin gave the Americans an early lead in the race, and things were moving along well during Gay’s third leg. But the muffed handoff for the final leg cost the Americans. Both the winning Jamaican squad and the second American team surpassed them.

Young finished third, but the team was disqualified because the handoff occurred outside the pass zone. The second U.S. team of Sean McLean, Wallace Spearman, Calesio Newman and Remontay McLain finished in 39.02.

The mistake led to some inflammatory comments from U.S. great Leroy Burrell about continued problems with handoffs by U.S. relay teams.

“Well, I think we’ve got to put our team together a little earlier, possibly,” Burrell said in a television interview. “I think, we’ve had the same coaches working with these guys for many years, and we’ve had failure after failure. So it’s possible that, you know, it might be time for a bit of a regime change with the leadership.

“I think the athletes have to be the catalysts that make that happen. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to get the stick around. I saw thousands of relay teams yesterday — maybe not thousands, but hundreds of relay teams get it around. But the professionals can’t. That’s just not good for our sport.”

Rodgers didn’t take kindly to those remarks.

“People keep pointing their fingers and downing us, but nobody has ever tried to come out there and help us,” he said. “Nobody from the past. Not Carl [Lewis] or Leroy. They haven’t been out there. I can’t really respect their opinions because they’re supposed to be leaders in our sport and in the USA, and they’re not coming out there to drop some knowledge on us, so I don’t care what they have to say.”

Lewis criticized U.S. relays in March.

Gatlin was equally critical of Burrell.

“I’m tired of people who have been part of Team USA take shots at Team USA,” Gatlin said. “To put us in the same boat as high schoolers is insulting.”

VIDEO: Race against Usain Bolt’s world record with ‘BeatBot’

Bob Costas’ report 100 days out from Rio (video)

Bob Costas
NBC News
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Bob Costas reported from Rio de Janeiro for NBC News on Wednesday, 100 days out from the Opening Ceremony.

In the clip below, Michael PhelpsSimone Biles and even Brazil soccer legend Pelé comment on preparing for the first Games in South America.

Costas finished the clip with a stand-up from Copacabana Beach, where beach volleyball will take place in August.

VIDEO: Bob Costas picks biggest storyline of Rio Olympics