American endurance athlete Diana Nyad has abandoned her attempt to swim the 103 miles from Cuba to South Florida due to jellyfish stings. According to a spokesperson, she was pulled from the water last night after being stung by a Portuguese Man O War. She attempted to reenter the water this morning and was stung again. When she was told by doctors that more jellyfish stings could lead to death, she decided to extricate herself from the toxic invertebrate infested cesspool that are the Straits of Florida.
Nyad was making her second attempt in as many months at the Cuba-Florida crossing, a lifelong dream that she first tried as a 28-year-old back in 1978, when she swam inside a steel shark cage for about 42 hours before ending the attempt. A cageless attempt this past August fell short 29 hours in when, gasping for breath, Nyad threw in the towel after an 11-hour asthma attack she blamed on a bad reaction to a new medicine.
Nyad had completed 49 miles of the trek. No word yet on whether she plans to try again. In the meantime, Nyad's fate could teach all of us a lesson or two: if at first you don't succeed, there is no shame in getting up and trying again; and the universe doesn't want you- or anyone- to go to Florida.
Image via AP