Diana Nyad defends record swim in face of skepticism

Diana Nyad
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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

12-year-old skateboarders earn medals at world championships

Chloe Covell
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At the world skateboarding championships, 12-year-olds Chloe Covell from Australia and Onodera Ginwoo from Japan earned silver and bronze medals, respectively, in Sunday’s street finals.

In the women’s event, Covell took silver behind Brazilian 15-year-old Rayssa Leal, who was a silver medalist herself at the Tokyo Games.

Frenchman Aurélien Giraud, a 25-year-old who was sixth in skateboarding’s Olympic debut in Tokyo, won the men’s final in the United Arab Emirates. Ginwoo was third behind Portugal’s Gustavo Ribeiro.

The top Americans were Olympic men’s bronze medalist Jagger Eaton in sixth and 15-year-old Paige Heyn in seventh in the women’s event.

Nyjah Huston, a six-time world champion who placed seventh in Tokyo, missed worlds after August surgery for an ACL tear.

Up to three men and three women per nation can qualify per event (street and park) for the 2024 Paris Games. World rankings come June 2024 determine which Americans qualify.

In Tokyo, four of the 12 skateboarding medalists were ages 12 or 13.

Japan’s Kokona Hiraki, then 12, won silver in women’s park to become the youngest Olympic medalist since 1936, according to Olympedia.org. Japan’s Momiji Nishiya, then 13, won women’s street and became the youngest gold medalist in an individual event since 1936.

Worlds conclude this week with the men’s and women’s park events. The finals are Saturday.

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Francesco Friedrich, most decorated bobsledder in history, rebounds for 12th world title

Francesco Friedrich
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A week after his first major championships defeat in seven years, German Francesco Friedrich returned to his winning ways to close the world bobsled championships on Sunday.

Friedrich’s four-man sled won the world title by 69 hundredths of a second over British and Latvian sleds that tied for silver, combining times from four runs over the last two days in St. Moritz, Switzerland. It marked Great Britain’s first world championships men’s bobsled medal since 1966.

Geoff Gadbois drove the lone U.S. sled in the field, finishing 18th.

Friedrich, the most decorated bobsledder in history, extended his records with a fifth consecutive world four-man title and 12th world championship between two- and four-man events.

Germany swept all four titles at bobsled worlds with four different drivers taking gold.

Friedrich had won 12 consecutive Olympic or world titles before taking two-man silver at worlds last week in St. Moritz, Switzerland. He was dethroned in that event by countryman Johannes Lochner.

Friedrich has been hampered recently by a muscle injury from sprint training in late December. Going into worlds, Lochner had won four consecutive World Cup two-man races, while Hall won the last two World Cups in four-man.

Friedrich, 32, said before this season that he plans to make the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games his final competition. Friedrich and push athlete Thorsten Margis can break the record of four career Olympic bobsled gold medals that they currently share with retired Germans Andre Lange and Kevin Kuske.

The World Cup season concludes with stops in Igls, Austria, and Sigulda, Latvia, the next two weekends.

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