Australian Story looks at how teenage ‘golden girl’, Olympic champion Shane Gould turned her back on swimming for decades.
Now with a new love and life in Tasmania, her role in a world record-breaking swim at the London Olympics is revealed. This episode is introduced by Kieren Perkins.
It is 40 years since a 15-year-old Shane Gould became the darling of Australian sport, winning three individual gold medals at the Munich Olympics. Having embarked on a sea change to Tasmania, Shane Gould, now 55, is helping elite swimmers worldwide reach their full potential, in collaboration with her husband, American ‘water whisperer’ swimming coach, Milt Nelms.
“I think it can be taught in a better way but in a simpler way, it’s really not that difficult. Swimming’s very controlled and contrived in these rectangular boxes but it’s really just water, the human being and water. The creativity with swimming is going to be how it’s taught and how it’s practiced and how it’s programmed and so that’s been my quest,” says Shane Gould.
After turning her back on competitive swimming at the age of 17, Shane Gould lived an alternative lifestyle with her former husband and four children in Margaret River, Western Australia for decades. In On Bicheno Beach, Shane Gould talks about how she has rediscovered her love of swimming with the new love of her life.
In March 2012, Shane Gould and Milt Nelms trained American butterfly swimmer Dana Vollmer in the surf and on the beach in Bicheno Tasmania, with remarkable results. While the Australian swimmers did not live up to expectations, winning only one gold medal, Dana Vollmer, broke the world record in her gold medal butterfly swim.
‘Dana Vollmer’s victory, strangely, was such great news for Shane and Milt. Not only for them but for the town of Bicheno in Tasmania which wasn’t mentioned along the way, but it turns out to be one of the better stories of the London Olympics,’ says ABC sports journalist Paul Kennedy.
Shane Gould has recently completed her second masters degree at the University of Tasmania ensuring her mind is as active as her body.
On Bicheno Beach also features an interview with Shane Gould’s legendary coach Forbes Carlile.
Monday, September 10 at 8pm on ABC1