I don’t know Diana Nyad nor had I followed her extreme dream before this her fifth and final attempt of swimming the 110 miles from Cuba to Florida. I found myself glued to the television cheering the 64 year old on and tearing up as she limped her way up the Florida shore. Swimming this far in open water is something that I would never have the desire to do, but it was something she dreamed of accomplishing for a solid chunk of her life. She was determined to never ever give up on this dream. The mind is a very powerful tool. It is incredible what can be accomplished when you convince your mind the impossible is possible. Diana had the courage and will to try and do something that many would say is super human. There was not another athlete entered in her race but she was in her own race against her own body, fighting to complete the difficult swim before her body was fully depleted and shut down. She convinced her mind that this was a task that she would be able to perform.
I can 100 percent relate to Diana Nyad and her message of never giving up. Even after four previous failures and many doubters she believed deep in her heart that this was something she was going to accomplish. This is a woman who never ever stopped believing in her dream. She achieved her extreme dream. I too have had what I thought to be an intangible dream. My dream is not one that has me in the ocean face to face with sharks, but it does have me sliding down an icy track up to 90mph. I grew up in Chico, California, which is known more for the brewery Sierra Nevada than it is for bobsledders. Although my path may have been unorthodox I had my own extreme dream of becoming an Olympian.
Diana Nyad had a major support team behind her not just to make sure she stayed healthy, but to support her and to believe in her dream with her. In 2006 I left California and headed to New York terrified, but brave enough to chase something some thought impossible. Before I left my mom gave me a small picture frame with a message on it. To this day I carry this frame with me, which simply says, “Believe in yourself” and display it at each of our stops. She had also written a note on the back that said, “I believe in you.” My support team is just as important as each day of training is. Diana Nyad would never have been able to accomplish this incredible feat alone. She had huge team behind her that believed in her maybe more than she even believed in herself. We cannot achieve the impossible alone, but we can do it. As Diana Nyad said, “Never, ever give up.”