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Shane Gould

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Shane Gould
Gould in 1973
Personal information
Full nameShane Elizabeth Gould
National teamAustralia
Born (1956-11-23) 23 November 1956 (age 67)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Height1.71 m (5 ft 7 in)
Weight59 kg (130 lb)
StrokesFreestyle, medley
Medal record
Women's swimming
Representing  Australia
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 1972 Munich 200 m freestyle
Gold medal – first place 1972 Munich 400 m freestyle
Gold medal – first place 1972 Munich 200 m medley
Silver medal – second place 1972 Munich 800 m freestyle
Bronze medal – third place 1972 Munich 100 m freestyle

Shane Elizabeth Gould AM MBE (born 23 November 1956) is an Australian former competition swimmer. She won three gold medals, a silver medal and a bronze, at the 1972 Summer Olympics. In 2018, she won the fifth season of Australian Survivor, becoming the oldest winner of any Survivor franchise.

Gould was born in Australia, but spent most of her childhood in Fiji after she and her family moved there. At age 15, Gould competed in the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, West Germany, winning three gold medals. Gould was named the Australian of the Year in 1972, and received an MBE in 1983. In April 2018, Gould was awarded an Order of Merit by the Australian Olympic Committee.[1][2]

Gould returned in the 1990s as a swimming mentor and competitor. She competed in competitive swimming again in 2003, participating in the 200m Individual Medley.[3] In 1999, she published her autobiography Tumble Turns. In 2018, she competed on Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders and won, winning $500,000 as the Sole Survivor.[4] Gould later returned for Australian Survivor: All Stars, but was voted out first.

Early life[edit]

Gould was born in Sydney, New South Wales, on the first day of competition of the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne. She moved to Fiji with her family at the age of 18 months. By the age of six, she was a competent swimmer. She attended primary school at St. Peters Lutheran College, Brisbane, where a sporting house is named after her, and secondary school at Turramurra High School, Sydney, where a sporting house is also named after her and fellow Olympian Gail Neall.

She was trained by leading coaches Forbes and Ursula Carlile and their assistant Tom Green. She won all of her world swimming titles while a teenager, travelling widely.

Swimming career[edit]

Gould in 1972

At the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, West Germany, Gould won three gold medals, setting a world record in each race. She also won a bronze and a silver medal.[5][6]

She is the only person, male or female, to hold every world freestyle record from 100 metres to 1500 metres and the 200-metre individual medley world record simultaneously, which she did from 12 December 1971 to 1 September 1972. She is the first female swimmer ever to win three Olympic gold medals in world record time, and the first swimmer, male or female, to win Olympic medals in five individual events in a single Olympics. She is also the only Australian to win three individual gold medals at a single Olympics.[7]

At the age of 16, she retired from competitive swimming, citing pressures placed upon her by her success and media profile.

Over two decades later, Gould returned to competitive swimming at Masters level. She set Australian Masters records (40–44 years 100m, 200 m, and 400 m freestyle, and 100 m butterfly) and 45–49 years (50 m butterfly, 100 m and 200 m freestyle). In 2003, she broke the world record for the 45–49 years 200 m individual medley in 2:38.13 (beating the 1961 world record for all ages).[8]

She coaches swimmers and still swims in Masters competitions.[9]

Later career[edit]


Gould returned to study in the late 2000s. She studied at the Sydney Film School (2007, Cert IV documentary film, Digital Filmmaking) and was awarded a Master of Environmental Management (2010, with a thesis on the social uses and functions of public swimming pools), and a Master of Contemporary Art (2012, with a video piece Loops and Lines). Both degrees are from the University of Tasmania.[10] In 2019 she was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree from Victoria University.


In the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Gould carried the Olympic Torch at the stadium, as one of the runners for the final segment, before the lighting of the Olympic Flame.[11]


Gould is a photographer with works on display with the Art of the Olympians.[12]


In 1999, Gould published her autobiography Tumble Turns: An Autobiography.[13]

Australian Survivor[edit]

In August 2018, it was revealed that Gould would be participating in Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders and would be a part of the Champions tribe.[14] On 9 October 2018, Gould was crowned the winner of Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders in a 5–4 vote against criminal barrister Sharn Coombes.[15] With this win, Gould became the oldest person to ever win any international series of Survivor.

She later returned for Australian Survivor: All Stars, but was voted out first, finishing in 24th place.

Personal life[edit]

Gould spent most of the years after ending competitive swimming out of the public eye. She married Neil Innes at 18, became a Christian, and lived on a working farm near Margaret River in Western Australia's South West. She farmed and taught horseriding and surfing, making very few public appearances. She has four children and three grandchildren.[10]

Her marriage to Innes ended after 22 years, coinciding with a return to public life,[16] and she married Milton Nelms in 2007.[17][18]

On 10 October 2023, Gould was one of 25 Australians of the Year who signed an open letter supporting the Yes vote in the Indigenous Voice referendum, initiated by psychiatrist Patrick McGorry.[19][20]


  • Gould, S. 1999, updated 2003. Tumble Turns. HarperCollins. ISBN 9780732277673 (autobiography)
  • Gould, S. 2004. Fit for 50+. Ibis Publishing Australia.
  • Gould, S. 2007. Appreciating swimming: beauty and instruction with underwater swimmer photographs. Visual Communication 6: 170–179. doi:10.1177/1470357207077180

Honours and awards[edit]

Gould (right) with Sandy Neilson (left) and Shirley Babashoff (middle) in 1972

In 1993, the State Transit Authority named a RiverCat ferry after Gould.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Shane Gould". Australian Olympic Committee. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  2. ^ "Shane Gould MBE Olympic Swimmer, AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR 1972". Archived from the original on 6 August 2020.
  3. ^ "Shane Gould | Sport Australia Hall of Fame". Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  4. ^ "Olympic Great Shane Gould Wins Australian Survivor". Swimming World News. 17 October 2018. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  5. ^ "Shane GOULD". Olympics.com. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  6. ^ "Australian Olympic swimmer Shane Gould | naa.gov.au". www.naa.gov.au. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  7. ^ "Shane Gould". Australian Olympic Committee. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  8. ^ "Shane Gould - Swimming Career".
  9. ^ "Swim for fun, not medals: Shane Gould". 7NEWS. 30 July 2021. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  10. ^ a b "Shane Gould - About Shane".
  11. ^ "Olympedia – Shane Gould". www.olympedia.org. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  12. ^ "Shane Gould". artoftheolympians.org. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
  14. ^ Anderson, Jared (25 June 2018). "Olympic Champ Shane Gould to Appear on Australian 'Survivor'". Swim Swan. Swim Swam Partners. Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  15. ^ Bond, Nick; Paine, Hannah (9 October 2018). "'Enormous mistake' ruins runner-up". news.com.au. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  16. ^ "Shane Gould - Shane's Autobiography".
  17. ^ Shane Gould website Archived 8 April 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ ABCTV Australian Story On Bicheno Beach 10/09/2012
  19. ^ Butler, Josh (11 October 2023). "Australian of the Year winners sign open letter saying no vote in voice referendum would be a 'shameful dead end'". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 October 2023.
  20. ^ Winter, Velvet (10 October 2023). "Voice referendum live updates: Australians of the Year Yes vote letter in full". ABC News (Australia). Retrieved 11 October 2023.
  21. ^ Lewis, Wendy (2010). Australians of the Year. Pier 9 Press. ISBN 978-1-74196-809-5.
  22. ^ "Shane Gould (AUS)". ISHOF.org. International Swimming Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  23. ^ It's an Honour: MBE
  24. ^ "Shane Gould". Sport Australia Hall of Fame. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  25. ^ It's an Honour: Australian Sports Medal
  26. ^ It's an Honour: Centenary Medal
  27. ^ "Olympic Great Shane Gould Wins Australian Survivor". 17 October 2018.
  28. ^ Hanson, Ian (28 August 2022). "Ian Thorpe, Dawn Fraser and Shane Gould Among First Inductees Into Swimming Australia Hall Of Fame". Swimming World. Retrieved 29 August 2022.

External links[edit]

Preceded by Women's 100 metres freestyle
world record holder (long course)

30 April 1971 – 13 July 1973
Succeeded by
Preceded by Women's 200 metres freestyle
world record holder (long course)

1 May 1971 – 4 August 1972
1 September 1972 – 2 August 1974
Succeeded by
Preceded by Women's 400 metres freestyle
world record holder (long course)

30 April 1971 – 22 August 1973
Succeeded by
Preceded by Women's 800 metres Freestyle
world record holder (long course)

3 December 1971 – 6 August 1972
Succeeded by
Preceded by Women's 1500 metres freestyle
world record holder (long course)

12 December 1971 – 25 August 1973
Succeeded by
Preceded by Women's 200 metres individual medley
world record holder (long course)

28 August 1972 – 13 April 1973
Succeeded by