Survivor

Australian Survivor's Shane Gould reveals disrespectful behaviour pushed her to the brink

The Olympic swimmer was considering throwing in the towel

Given she's 61, former swimming champion Shane Gould knew she might find herself at a disadvantage when it came to the physical challenges of Australian Survivor.

But she didn't imagine her fellow contestants would be condescending towards her as a result.

At one point, she even considered throwing in the towel and leaving Fiji for good, after the Champions referred to her as the tribe's "dead weight".

"Before I stood up for myself, I did feel like leaving," Shane says. "I wasn't enjoying it and couldn't relate to anyone.

Shane was disappointed by the way she was treated by her tribemates.
Shane was disappointed by the way she was treated by her tribemates.

"People have always been polite and treated me with respect, so it really shook me. It made me feel uncomfortable and disparaged."

"But Mat noticed. He felt sorry for me and helped carry me through the game."

Indeed, fellow Champions Mat Rogers and Steve Willis, who invited the Olympic gold medallist into their alliance, played a huge part in her determination to keep going.

"Our friendship grew because we had more in common," Shane explains.

"We're older than everyone else, have kids and more life experience. We're thinkers."

Shane with tribemates Benji and Mat.
Shane with tribemates Benji and Mat.

Shane has kept her cards close throughout the game. And as the finale looms, her tactic seems to be working.

"I thought the social part of Survivor would be my weakness, but it was actually my strength," she says.

"When you've lived for a long time and worked with a lot of people, you learn how to get along in these situations."

So, does Shane – who won five individual medals in the pool at the 1972 Olympics when she was just 15 – have what it takes to win?

"They've underestimated me," she declares.

"A lot of them are over-reliant on their physical strength, and aren't looking over their shoulders."

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