- Category : Sports-Swimming
- Type : MGE
- Profile : 2/4 - Hermit / Opportunist
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : RAX The Sleeping Phoenix 4
Australian Champion Olympic swimmer, the only person, male or female, to hold every world freestyle record from 100m to 1500m simultaneously, and the only swimmer ever to win three Olympic Gold Medals in world record time. Shane Gould blazed her way into sporting history, breaking eleven world swimming records and winning five Olympic medals in Munich in 1972, yet her dramatic career lasted just three years. At 13, she was a household name - and at 16 she retired and disappeared from the public eye.
Born in Sydney, Shane moved to Fiji with her family at the age of 18 months. Her father's job with Pan American Airlines involved many moves, and the girl attended nine different schools in Fiji, Australia and the USA. She learned to swim at age three and was a junior school swimming champion at seven. When she was nine she swam three times a week with a coach at a club. The Gould family settled in Sydney in 1970 where Shane was trained by leading swim coaches.
At 13 1/2 she gave up all other sports and concentrated on swimming, doing ten sessions per week. At 14 she was touring with Australian swimming teams and in 1971-2 she broke every women's world record for freestyle. In September 1972, she held every women's freestyle world record 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m, as well as the 200m Individual medley. At the 1972 Olympic Games held in Munich she won three of the women's gold medals - 200 m. freestyle, 400 m. freestyle and 200 m. individual medley. She also won a silver and a bronze medal at Munich.
Shane was a responsible and studious girl, grounded well enough to stand up to unusual stress for her age. She trained hard and did as she was told but remained able to indulge in harmless pranks such as playing hide-and-seek in the darkened tunnels of the Olympic Village or getting lost while day-dreaming on horseback in the Bramley Forest. However, by the time she returned from Munich a national heroine, constant media attention began to create pressure on the Gould family along with a much-publicized conflict between her dad and her coach. Beginning to feel confused and overwhelmed by her high profile as a teenage sporting prodigy, she took refuge and meaning in her religion, surfing and an alternative lifestyle; in effect, turning her back on her public persona as an athletic star. At 18, she married and chose to adopt a natural and simple lifestyle with her husband on a farm near the town of Margaret River in Western Australia. There, she developed a love for horses and a passion for the environment. The birth of four children in five years shaped another phase of her life as mother and local citizen. Her son Joel was born in 1978, daughter Kim in 1980, son Tom in 1982 and son Kirstin in 1983.
After 22 years, her marriage began to show severe wear. Struggling to reach a decision through a year-long depression, she made another life-change of direction; to leave her husband. With the help of close friends and a soul-searching visit to the United States, she re-emerged into the public eye, determined to help others avoid the conflicts and
uncertainties she experienced as a swimming superstar. Shane sensed a need for current athletes to take care of their whole life needs, not just the immediate needs of their game. Because many athletes have difficulty coping when they retire or minimize the involvement they have in the sport that so dominates their lives, she believed that addressing the future now, while the athlete is still competing and training, can relieve some of the stress of leaving that high-profile arena.
Shane is able to count her trophies of being Australian of the Year 1972 plus national awards as ABC TV Sportsman of the Year Award 1971 and 1972; Caltex Sportsman of the Year 1971; Pravda (Soviet Union) Sportsman of the Year 1971; Australian Sports
Hall of Fame 1977; MBE 1981; Olympic Order 1994; Legend of Australian Sport 1995; Living National Treasure 1998; and Olympic Torch Bearer in the Opening ceremony of Sydney Olympic Games 2000.
By 2001, she divided her time between her residence in Margaret River in Western Australia and Sydney. Her interests include reading, natural horsemanship, swimming, public speaking and travel. She has surfed regularly since she was 17 and was now swimming three to five times a week with a masters club doing four km each session. Her favorite food is ‘Mediterrasian.’ She admires Edward de Bono, Professor Fred Hollows, Henri Nouwen, and Australian outback women pioneers. Her diverse taste in music includes folk, Bach, and the Beatles.
Shane now makes speeches and presentations for corporate groups, Fundraising events and Olympic and sports promotion functions. She researches sports issues such as skin suits, drugs in sport and life after sports-retirement, writing of her conclusions in the Australian newspaper and for her website newsletter. She did special comments for the telecast of the swimming events during the Olympics in Sydney.
Her autobiography "Tumble Turns" was published in 1999. The title refers to the radical maneuver a swimmer uses at the end of the pool to reverse direction. Her book traces her experiences from her happy childhood in New South Wales, Fiji and Queensland to the triumphs of the Munich Olympics, the traumas of being a 16-year-old "public property number one," her marriage and fundamental Christian existence on a small farm, the breakup of her marriage, and her present day "re-emergence" into the commercial world and the world of swimming.
Gould encapsulates her life on her website (http://www.shanegould.com.au/): "I have had the honor and satisfaction of being an Olympic swimming champion and a world record holder. This, combined with my varied life experiences - ordinary and some unusual - mothering four children, living a pioneer farming lifestyle, teaching swimming, horse riding and surfing, fulfilling the public responsibilities of being an Australian sporting 'legend', Australian of the Year in 1972 and writing my autobiography, have given me a unique perspective on life."