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Diana Nyad made a splash in 2013 when she became the first person at age 64 to swim from Cuba to Florida without the aid of a shark cage. Ask who gave her the strength and motivation to accomplish such an amazing feat, she would say that training helped, but more so, the support of her good friend Bonnie. Realizing that everyone has a “Bonnie,” Nyad has teamed with Extra Strength TYLENOL® for ‘Stories of Strength’ and for every story shared, a donation will be made to to inspire young adults to pursue their dreams and create social change.

Her interview with us was extremely inspiring and wait until you hear what she’s up to next!

Here’s an excerpt:

When asked about being an inspiration to so many women…

You know, how could I be more honored? It’s one thing to be recognized by the sports world and it’s one thing to be recognized by strangers on the street, who come up and say, “Wow, I saw you on TV!”…When you inspire people, when people come up to me and say that they had the toughest year of their life, their mother died and when they watched what me and my team — by the way let’s not ever leave them out of this equation– that we wouldn’t give up, that we refused to go home and quit on this thing, even after 35 years of failing. My whole year has been like a rocket ship since we finished that swim and all of it has been about inspiring other people and then coming all the way around and all of that inspiring me as well.

When asked about keeping a tunnel vision to one goal… 

We can talk to other people in other spheres of life who you can see have vision, they have the perseverance to continue with that vision no matter how many times they get knocked down, but also there is no doubt about the fact that, even though my will may seem made of iron, that I do become frail and I do become weak at times.

You can’t be stung by those particular, deadly jellyfish, you can’t go through those hours of deep, mental strain out there without a source of strength…and that’s my whole team, but particularly Bonnie, you know, that’s my head handler, my rock. She stands on the edge of that boat for all those 53 hours, never leaves my side. I see her for 53 hours and if I’m low, if I’m struggling, if I’m hanging on by a thread, and I don’t think I have an ounce of courage left in me, Bonnie says the right words, gives me the right signal, makes me believe again that I’m going to climb up the other side from that valley I’m in.

I’m touring with Tylenol’ and the cool thing is many of these people who followed me on this journey, who are not swimmers, they’re not athletes, they don’t follow endurance sports at all, but they in their lives get down, their dealing with cancer, dealing with the death of a loved one, they’re just having an awful day at work, all those things, we all turn to somebody for the moment that we need somebody else to help us through. So people are going on this site, and I’m on there, and thousands of people are telling their stories, stories of strength and it’s become this wonderful movement, this initiative, so I’m into it, I’m proud of it, and as you asked in the beginning, am I an inspiration and do I feel it, I do, I feel it everywhere I go and I’m so grateful for this time in my life. I’m in my prime, I’m 65 years old, and I am square in the middle of the prime of my life right now.

Want to know what Diana Nyad is up to next? Check out her complete interview with us at: