She became a world-famous Aussie winner in 1972 when she took home an incredible three golds, a silver and a bronze medal at the Olympics, but now Shane Gould has proved she’s as strong and competitive as ever more than four decades later as she’s become the oldest ever Australian Survivor winner.
The 61-year-old beat a string of contenders half her age to become the champion, after spending 50 days in the jungle on the Fijian island of Savusavu.
Appearing overwhelmed, the star was filmed hugging her competitors as she was awarded the $500,000 prize with a single vote lead at the final tribal council.
“I came into this game as a champion and I’m leaving as a champion. It’s up there with my other achievement. It’s really the icing on the cake,” she said, according to the Mail Online. “People shouldn’t underestimate what a 60-year-old can do!”
Meanwhile, she used the platform of her incredible win over barrister Sharn Coombes, 41, in the grand final to send a powerful message to over 60s – insisting it’s never too late.
“Being an older person, it goes to show that we’re not washed up, dried out and used, we’re certainly not,” she told Confidential. “Be encouraged that even though there’s a lot of social pressures that push you aside, you’ve got to fight for your ability to continue to contribute and participate in society.
“I encourage everyone, particularly women, to assert themselves and not just give up. Don’t just take it lying down, keep looking forward, don’t accept that older people are disposable, we have so much to contribute with our wisdom and experience.”
It was a trip down memory lane for the the mum-of-four, as the show was filmed in Fiji – where she spent around seven years as a child, enjoying the great outdoors.
Indeed, by the age of 17 Gould had become an Olympic champion, having won an incredible five medals in the 1972 Olympics. At one stage she even held every world freestyle swimming record from 100 metres to 1,500 metres.
However, it wasn’t to last, as a year later she quit her entire career to become a Christian, marry and start a family on a working farm in Margaret River.
Her new venture on Australian Survivor coincided with her completing a PhD, and asked by the publication what she’d spend the $500,000 prize money on, she previously revealed she dreams of building her own sustainable cottage, as well as contributing towards her grandchildren’s tertiary education.