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Shane Gould
Shane Gould.jpg
Personal information
Born 23 November 1956 (1956-11-23) (age 64)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Height 1.71 m (5 ft 7 in)
Weight 59 kg (130 lb)
Sport Swimming
Strokes Freestyle, medley

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.

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


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.

Her marriage ended after 22 years, coinciding with a return to public life, and she married Milton Nelms in 2007. 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. 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.


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.

At the age of 17, 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).


On 9 October 2018, Gould was crowned the winner of Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders. 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.

Honours and awards

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

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