Olympic Great Shane Gould Wins Australian Survivor

Photo Courtesy: Kevin Berry/Swimming World Archive

Shane Gould is arguably the greatest female Olympic swimmer in the history of our sport. Now at the age of 61, she holds a check for $500,000 as the winner of the Australian edition of Survivor. As the oldest competitor on the show, Shane attributed her win not just to her experience as an elite athlete, but to her experiences in life – and what a life she has lived.

From 1971 to 1973 Shane broke 11 world records and at one time, she held world records in 6 different events: 100 200 400 800 1500 freestyle and the 200IM. At the age of fifteen, Shane swam in five individual events at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games and became the first and is still the only woman to win 5 individual medals – 3 gold, all in world record times, plus 1 silver and 1 bronze medal – in a single Olympic Games.

Eighteen months late she retired from competition and disappeared from public life for twenty five years. She returned to swimming and the public eye in the lead up to the 2000 Sydney Olympics to tell her story of depression, abuse and a broken marriage in her best selling autobiography, “Tumble Turns.”

Shane is not just a survivor of abuse, but a true champion in every sense of thew word. The way she has turned around her life over the past twenty years is something every athlete and every parent in our sport would do well to learn more about. In May of 2006, Swimming World published her insights into the sport of swimming that are well worth reading.

To see an interview after winning survivor


  1. avatar

    Real classy, talking in video interview about unwielding flatulence upon her competitors.

  2. Gary Ireland

    Be rude if she didn’t

  3. avatar

    Such a sad life. But now Shane has gotten a facelift and gone on an Australian reality television game show, so all is apparently redeemed and there is hope for the world and for swimmers and their parents everywhere.