I knew I would have to betray a promise
Games, finding the pressure from the media and the public too difficult to deal with at such a young age.
“That whole media-shy myth, it’s a furphy,” she says. “I love the attention! But the sudden explosion of interest around me from around the globe after the Olympics was intense. I was 16 and 17 at the time, I had no managers, it was just my parents trying to help me work out how to speak to the media and make these speeches.
“Often I felt really silly, I was just a teenager trying to communicate with all these s adults. But at the same e time I appeared mature and poised, so they asked a lot more ore of me than they might have ave from anyone else my age. It all felt so out of f control, it would have been impossible for anyone to manage what I was being asked to do, let alone a teenager.” he retired from competitive swimming at 17 and married first husband Neil Innes a year later. They moved to Western Australia’s Margaret River, where their apparent isolation in a time before mobile phones and social media may have given rise to the misconception she was media-shy. She married second husband Nelms in 2007 and the pair relocated to the coastal town of Bicheno in Tasmania. “It’s a really good base for us to have in between travel, , it’s s good for the soul, and good for us p physically,” she says. “And be being such a peaceful place place, it fosters creativity and goo good thinking. Then I can go out into the big wide w world to do my thing and come home to review and write reports from this beautiful spot, it’s just a perfect balance.” Since moving to Tasmania, Gould has g gone back to university to complete her Master of Environmental Management degree, which she started in the 1970s, and has completed a Master of Contemporary Art at the University of Tasmania.
She is now working on her PhD thesis, a sociological investigation of Australia’s swimming culture and how it forms such a pivotal part of our national identity.
Swimming is still a huge part of her life. She is an active member of the Bicheno Surf Lifesaving Club, patrolling as a lifeguard, and she formed a social swimming group where up to 30 locals meet on the beach to swim together every morning.
But what of that $500,000 in prize money from Australian Survivor? Gould, quite typically, isn’t letting it go to her head. “I want to build a nice sustainable house here in Bicheno,” she says. “I always wanted to have a simple cottage … I had some great ideas for sustainable houses and how to be clever with things like using the sun properly and cross-ventilation. So after wanting to do this for 40 years, now is the time for me to finally do this dream project.”