National Library of Australia

Shane Gould’s diary

Shane Gould (b.1956)Travel diary in Europe, kept during the Munich Olympics

11 August – 22 September 1972

manuscript in commercially produced diary;

21.0 x 13.5cm

ML MSS 7025

Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales
Travel diary in Europe, kept during the Munich Olympics

At age 15, Shane Gould (b.1956) was the first woman to win three gold medals—each in world record time—in individual swimming events at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. She also won a silver and bronze. The best performance by any Australian at an Olympic Games, she also became the youngest Australian athlete to win a gold medal.

By January 1972, Gould held all five freestyle records, from 100 metres to 1500 met res.

Gould’s diary begins on 11 August 1972, when she left Sydney for Munich, and ends (with some gaps) in September 1974.

She writes about her team-mates, media pressure, her first gold medal and the Arab terrorist attacks on Israeli athletes.

After winning seven national titles in 1973, Gould retired from competitive swimming, uncomfortable in the spotlight. Sport was just beginning to become the big business it is today, but athletes received no training in public speaking or advice on how to handle the attention.

The 2000 Sydney Olympic Games rekindled her love of the sport. In 2004, Gould competed in Olympics trials for 50-metre butterfly, against competitors half her age.

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