Part of complete coverage on
Meet five thrill-seeking women breaking world records
September 4, 2013 -- Updated 1521 GMT (2321 HKT)
- Diana Nyad completed a landmark swim from Cuba to the Florida Straits this week
- The 64-year-old had made five attempts to finish the trip since 1978
- CNN looks at five women who have broken world records in extreme sports
Editor's note: Leading Women connects you to extraordinary women of our time. Each month, we meet two women at the top of their field, exploring their careers, lives and ideas.
(CNN) -- When it comes to living on the edge, there are some women who have the tenacious spirit to conquer all.
Whether it's scaling the world's highest peaks or becoming the first person to cross a dangerous ocean stretch, these extreme sportswomen have smashed records around the globe thanks to their fearless sense of determination.
On the heels of Diana Nyad's record breaking swim, CNN takes a look at five sports stars who have reached the very top of their game.
After 35 years and five attempts at swimming from Cuba to Florida, 64-year-old Diana Nyad has finally made her name as the first person to cross the treacherous Straits. Wearing a mask to protect her from the trip halting jellyfish bites that plagued her last effort, the endurance swimmer is the only person to complete the 177 km (100 m) journey without either a wetsuit or a shark cage. Describing her achievement as 'a lifelong dream,' Nyad, who made her first attempt to cross the waters in 1978, was also congratulated by President Obama via Twitter.
Read more: Nyad's next challenge will be a 48 hour swim in New York City
As a keen young mountaineer, Edurne Pasaban made her hobby into a record breaking profession by becoming the world's first woman to climb all 14 peaks over 8,000 meters. The 44-year-old Spaniard spent nine years working her way to the top of the world's biggest summits before completing her quest in 2010, and was named as National Geographic's Adventurer of the Year in 2011. With the likes of Everest, K2 and Kangchenjunga under her belt, Pasaban has seen some of the world's most beautiful landscapes from a viewpoint only reached by a select few.
Guinness World record holder Juliana Buhring is the first and fastest woman to cycle the globe. Her epic journey took her across four continents and 19 countries in 152 days, racking up 29,065 km (18,060 miles) in the process. The intrepid cyclist was also the sole female competitor in an unsupported race from London to Istanbul in 2013, further demonstrating her record smashing prowess.
Watch: Juliana Buhring's tough moment
Adventurer Felicity Aston became the first woman to ski across Antarctica in 2012 -- a feat she achieved without the use of either kites or parasails. Covering 1744 km (1083 miles) in 59 days, Aston's solo expedition made a change from her group ventures, which have seen her lead teams across the likes of Greenland and the South Pole. Her upcoming mission will see her and two fellow explorers cross northern Europe and Siberia to reach the Pole of Cold -- a three month trip that will cover a whopping 30,000 km (18,641 miles).
Read more: Adventurers recreate Antarctic survival story
Australian free diving champion Amber Bourke only discovered the sport a few years ago -- and yet she has already broken the women's world record, just two years after she began competing. Diving to victory at the championships in Belgrade, Serbia, the former synchronized swimmer set a personal best at 164 m -- although her achievement was bettered just moments later by two fellow competitors. Able to hold her breath underwater for five minutes, Bourke has also beaten several national records in her home country.
Part of complete coverage on
March 7, 2014 -- Updated 1744 GMT (0144 HKT)
To celebrate International Women's Day on March 8, CNN asked you how we can come together to build a more equal world for all.
March 6, 2014 -- Updated 1357 GMT (2157 HKT)
To celebrate International Women's Day, CNN's Leading Women is hosting a Tweetchat to on gender equality and how we can build a better world and future for women.
March 6, 2014 -- Updated 1733 GMT (0133 HKT)
Women are key figures in tackling climate change and developing new solutions, writes Christiana Figueres.
March 7, 2014 -- Updated 1210 GMT (2010 HKT)
Quotas for women are often met with incredible support or strong opposition. But is this black and white approach the best way to make gender parity a reality for women today?
March 6, 2014 -- Updated 0546 GMT (1346 HKT)
What kind of politician is slashed in the face with a knife, and upon waking up in hospital the first thing they ask about is the election campaign?
February 26, 2014 -- Updated 1650 GMT (0050 HKT)
Former U.S. State Deparment Anne-Marie Slaughter says Brad Pitt is 'posterchild for engaged fatherhood'.
February 25, 2014 -- Updated 1525 GMT (2325 HKT)
Cast your eye across a line-up of world leaders and it might look a little something like this: Man in dark suit, man in dark suit, man in dark suit, Angela Merkel in fire engine red two-piece.
February 18, 2014 -- Updated 1321 GMT (2121 HKT)
Meet Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, the chairperson of French commodities giant Louis Dreyfus Holdings, with a net worth estimated at an eye-watering $6 billion.
February 17, 2014 -- Updated 1138 GMT (1938 HKT)
YouTube has a new boss and she has a "healthy disregard for the impossible" -- according to Google CEO Larry Page. Here are five things you didn't know about her.
February 5, 2014 -- Updated 1558 GMT (2358 HKT)
Goldman Sachs' vice president Edith Cooper reveals her journey to the top of the company and how they find new talent.
January 28, 2014 -- Updated 1247 GMT (2047 HKT)
Glimpse behind the curtain and find out more about the female movers and shakers of Tinseltown.
January 24, 2014 -- Updated 1300 GMT (2100 HKT)
Meet the woman behind Intel's bold new strategy to move the company away from PCs and into wearable tech software.
January 22, 2014 -- Updated 1307 GMT (2107 HKT)
Will BRICS become world leaders in gender equality? This forecast isn't far off the truth, says Saadia Zahidi.
January 14, 2014 -- Updated 1424 GMT (2224 HKT)
Cherie Blair is fusing lessons learned from a decade at Downing Street and her working class upbringing to provide a voice to millions of women across the globe.
January 7, 2014 -- Updated 0831 GMT (1631 HKT)
The U.S. Senate confirms Janet Yellen as the new head of U.S. Federal Reserve replacing Ben Bernanke. But who is she?
December 27, 2013 -- Updated 1638 GMT (0038 HKT)
From Jane Austen to Sylvia Plath, how well do you know the literary world's most celebrated female authors? Take our quiz to find out.
Today's five most popular stories