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Fourth-Place Medal

Diana Nyad photos show how badly attempted Cuba-to-Florida swim ravaged her features

Fourth-Place Medal

Earlier on Tuesday, endurance swimmer Diana Nyad was pulled out of the water during the fourth day of a monumental attempt to swim between Cuba and Key West, Fla. The swimmer had aimed to traverse the waterway between the two countries -- an incredible distance of 103 miles -- without a shark cage, any long rest breaks or contact with any person. She had spent three years training for the ordeal.

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Endurance swimmer Diana Nyad after being pulled from an attempt to swim between Cuba and Florida — Reuters

Endurance swimmer Diana Nyad after being pulled from an attempt to swim between Cuba and Florida — Reuters

Sadly, she was pulled from the water a day before she was scheduled to arrive in Florida on her 63rd birthday. Yet hours later, the wear that the journey had on the swimmer became apparent as photos of her condition were circulated by her support team, which cited jellyfish stings, hypothermia, storms and, perhaps most gratuitously, swollen lips as reasons why the swimmer couldn't continue.

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Diana Nyad was forced to abandon her swim after storms struck her route — Reuters

Diana Nyad was forced to abandon her swim after storms struck her route — Reuters

The photos you see above and at right document the ravages of all those maladies, with the 62-year-old's face far more weathered and beaten than it appeared just days earlier on the Cuban coast.

You can see the dramatic difference between Nyad's face above and the way it appeared before she began, in the photo below.

At the time of her removal, Nyad had traveled 55 miles, more than half of the distance between the two countries. Still, the distance she had to continue and the severe threats she faced, sharks among them, were far too great to allow her to continue.

Incredibly, Nyad didn't agree after first being pulled from the water due to passing storms. Instead, it was only after a few hours of reflection that she, too, became convinced that trying to finish the swim would be too dangerous.

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Diana Nyad prepares to depart from Cuba — Associated Press

Diana Nyad prepares to depart from Cuba — Associated Press

"When can I get back in?" Candace Hogan, a crew member on the boat following Nyad, quoted the swimmer as saying, according to the Associated Press. "I want full transparency that I was out. But I have plenty left in me and I want to go on.

"[But] she realized that the obstacles against this swim were too great and agreed at dawn to return to Key West by boat."

Now Nyad is safely back on land in Florida, though it's hard to know when her body will return to the form it showed before her journey began.

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