Shane Elizabeth Gould AM MBE (born 23 November 1956) is an Australian former competition swimmer who won three gold medals, a silver medal and a bronze at the 1972 Summer Olympics.

Shane Gould
Shane Gould.jpg
Gould in 1973
Personal information
Full nameShane Elizabeth Gould
National teamAustralia
Born (1956-11-23) 23 November 1956 (age 65)
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

In 2018, she won Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders. She was initially on the Champions tribe.[1]


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.

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, southwestern Australia. She farmed and taught horseriding and surfing, making very few public appearances. She has four children and three grandchildren.[2]

Her marriage ended after 22 years, coinciding with a return to public life,[3] and she married Milton Nelms in 2007.[4][5] She now divides her time between Bicheno, Tasmania, and Sydney. She coaches swimmers and still swims in Masters competitions.

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.[2] In 2019 she was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree from Victoria University.

Gould is also a photographer with works on display with the Art of the Olympians.[6]


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

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]

Australian SurvivorEdit

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.[9]

In the early portions of the game Gould was seen as a physical weakness to some of her tribemates, receiving votes at the first three straight tribal councils she attended. Gould was able to find a Hidden Immunity Idol, but was seen by her other tribemates collecting it and decided to play it at the next tribal council to get the target off of her back. Before a crucial tribe swap, Gould found herself in a core alliance with fellow Champion contestants Lydia Lassila, Mat Rogers, Steve Willis, Samuel 'Sam' Hinton, and Sharn Coombes.

In the first merged tribal council, Gould campaigned to vote out Lassila due to her physical strength and would also assist in voting out Hinton at the next tribal council. When one of her strongest allies, Rogers, was blindsided, she and her alliance was left in the minority and she would soon only have Coombes as an ally. At the final six, Gould and Coombes were able to trick Brian Lake, a member of the opposing alliance, into using a Hidden Immunity Idol to vote out one of his allies, Fenella McGowan. At the next tribal council, Gould and Coombes were able to persuade Shonee Fairfax into voting out Lake's strongest ally, Monika Radulovic. In the final four, Gould and Coombes' target was Lake, but after he won immunity they voted out Fairfax, making it to the final three. Coombes won the final immunity challenge and voted off Lake, taking Gould to the Final Tribal Council.

At the Final Tribal Council, Gould was praised for overcoming adversity due to her age, showing loyalty all throughout the game, and playing a very good social game but was also seen as a weaker strategic and physical player compared to Coombes.

On 9 October 2018, Gould was crowned the winner of Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders in a 5–4 vote against Coombes. With this win, Gould became the oldest person to ever win any international form of Survivor.

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


  • 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 awardsEdit

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

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "And the Australian Survivor winner is …". 9 October 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Shane Gould - About Shane".
  3. ^ "Shane Gould - Shane's Autobiography".
  4. ^ Shane Gould website Archived 8 April 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ ABCTV Australian Story On Bicheno Beach 10/09/2012
  6. ^ "Shane Gould". Retrieved 5 October 2015.
  7. ^ "Shane Gould". Australian Olympic Committee. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  8. ^ "Shane Gould - Swimming Career".
  9. ^ Anderson, Jared (25 June 2018). "Olympic Champ Shane Gould to Appear on Australian 'Survivor'". Swim Swan. Swim Swam Partners. Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  10. ^ Lewis, Wendy (2010). Australians of the Year. Pier 9 Press. ISBN 978-1-74196-809-5.
  11. ^ International Swimming Hall of Fame, Honorees, Shane Gould (AUS). Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  12. ^ It's an Honour: MBE
  13. ^ "Shane Gould". Sport Australia Hall of Fame. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  14. ^ It's an Honour: Australian Sports Medal
  15. ^ It's an Honour: Centenary Medal

External linksEdit

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