In 2013, out athlete Diana Nyad performed her fifth swim from Havana to Key West and, for the first time, finished the job. Traversing the 110 mile open ocean was no easy feat, and the 65-year-old bad ass ended that year with a documentary film (The Other Shore) and a well-received TED talk about never giving up.
But in 2014, we saw even more greatness from the woman we’re so happy to have on our team. Here’s why we think Diana Nyad had the best year ever.
She was on Dancing with the Stars. Diana only made it through a fox trot and a cha-cha-cha, but what she lacked in skill she made up for in charm. She was eliminated in the second episode, but she seemed to enjoy her time on the reality competition, and it fit right into her brand of always being open to trying new things.
She won several awards. This year alone, Diana was given the first ESPN Sports Science Newton Award for Outstanding New Limit, awarded the L.A. Sports Council’s Athlete of the Year award, inducted into the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame, received the Jack LaLanne Award and the “Orden al Mérito Deportivo” [Order of Sporting Merit] Award, from Cuba. She was named one of National Geographic’s Adventurers of the Year and there was a bronze plaque put up in her honor on Smathers Beach where she ended her swim last year.
She starred in a one-woman play about herself. Onward: The Diana Nyad Story premiered at the NoHo Arts Centre Theater in Los Angeles, directed by Josh Ravetch who was behind Carrie Fisher‘s hugely successful show, Wishful Drinking. The next run will happen this February in Key West.
She was part of a Macy Gray music video. Not only was Diana a super cool poker player in a slick white suit, but the video had a little bit of a Sapphic twist to appreciate as well.
She was shot for Vanity Fair. Diana posed in her favorite spot—the ocean— for a cool watch spread by photographer Steven Lipman.
She celebrated Seder with Edie Windsor. Two legendary lesbians hang out together for Passover. To be a fly on that wall!
Kate McKinnon played her on Saturday Night Live. When you’ve been parodied on SNL, you’ve truly made it.
In 2015, Diana will release a memoir (her second) and plans to stage a walk across the United States. She will also continue to be an inspiration to anyone who ever thought anything was impossible.