Olympic swimmer Shane Gould is still going strong. She shares her past triumphs and talks about continuing to live life to the full in the first episode of the television series Time of my life, brought to you by Apia and 7Two.
Shane Gould was born on 23 November 1956, the first day of competition for the Melbourne Olympics. Soon after the family moved to Fiji, where she developed her love for the water. In 1965 her family returned to Australia where she began swim training and competing. By 1972, Shane had been selected for a four-week European tour and, aged only 16, broke the world freestyle record for 200 metres. In 1972 she held all Freestyle World Records from 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m and 200m which, to date, remains unmatched. From 1971 to 1973 Shane broke 11 world records in six different events.
Her selection for the Munich Olympics was pivotal in her career – where she became the only woman ever to win five individual medals, all in world record times, including three gold, one silver and one bronze. Following her Olympic success, she was declared Australian of the Year in 1973. But the unprecedented media attention became too much for 17-year-old Shane, causing her to withdraw from competitive swimming.
In 1975 Shane retreated to family life, marrying her husband and having four children together. The family bought a farm and built a house from recycled timber where they lived a sustainable, basic lifestyle. In 1981 she was awarded an MBE by the Queen, and in 1985 she was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame. Over two decades after her retirement, Shane returned to competitive swimming at Masters level, coinciding with a return to public life. She has since released two books, bestselling autobiography Tumble Turns and exercise lifestyle manual Fit for 50. Shane currently works with husband Milton Nelms coaching swimmers, with a particular focus on effects of swimming on overall health and performance. In 2012 she completed a Masters in Contemporary Art and continues to use photography for creative expression.
To find out more visit the official Time of My Life page at www.yahoo7.com.au/timeofmylife, or watch the show at 6:30pm on Saturdays on 7Two.