The Roar
The Roar


15 days to Rio: Shane Gould's sweet success at Munich

Shane Gould claimed individual gold medals in world record time at the 1972 Munich Olympics (lI Modulo Encyclopedia).
21st July, 2016

Shane Gould’s swimming career didn’t last long but her legacy will be etched in Australian Olympic history forever.

While she loved swimming growing up, it wasn’t until she was 13 that Gould joined a swim school. Within a year she began breaking world records.


Before the 1972 Munich Olympics, Gould at one stage held every world freestyle record you could possibly break, including Dawn Fraser’s 100-metre milestone which had stood for 16 years.

After a lot of expectation, Gould managed a bronze in the 100 metres at Munich, but it was the other freestyle events where she left her mark.

Gould picked up three gold medals: The 200 metres freesyle, the 200 metre invidual medley and the 400 metre freestyle – all in world record time.

She was the first female to achieve that feat, and the first swimmer (male or female) to win Olympic medals in five different individual events at the same Games after also finishing second in the 800 metre freestyle.

At the end of the Munich Games, Gould had swum 12 races in eight days for a total of 4,200 metres of competitive swimming. Not surprisingly she was tired. Really tired.

Once she recovered from the marathon schedule of Munich, Gould gradually lost the desire to keep up the gruelling training required to stay at the top and started to feel the pressure from the inevitable media exposure.


At the age of 17, she announced her retirement.

It would be more than two decades later before she returned to competitive swimming and in typical Shane Gould style broke records at Masters level including the 200 metre individual medley for the 45-49 age group which had stood since 1961.

Be sure to follow The Roar as we look back on some of the most memorable moments in Olympic history – be they weird and wacky or brilliant and significant – and count down the days until the Rio Olympics opening ceremony.

50 days to go: Australia’s first Olympian, Edwin Flack
49 days to go: Brazil capitulate at the 2012 Olympics
48 days to go: Blood in the water during the 1956 Melbourne Olympics
47 days to go: Daniel Carroll, the man who won rugby gold with Australia and America
46 days to go: Margaret Abbott – the golfer who didn’t know she had won gold
45 days to go: Where did all the amateurs go?
44 days to go: Australia’s oarsome foursome
43 days to go: When Korea stood as one
42 Days to go: Oscar Swahn, the oldest Olympian
41 days to go: Edith Bosch – the Olympian not known for her medals
40 days to go: Jane Saville’s heartbreaking Sydney Olympics
39 days to go: Herb Elliot dominates in Rome 1960
38 days to go: Teofilo Stevenson, the boxer who might have beaten Ali
37 days to go: Betty Cuthbert steals the show in Melbourne
36 days to go: Jesse Owens’ heroic performance in Berlin
35 days to go: Eric the Eel steals Sydney’s heart
34 days to go: What happened to Cassius Clay’s gold medal?
33 days to go: Australia’s equestrian brilliance at Barcelona
32 days to go: The Olympic sports which are no longer with us
31 days to go: Debbie Flintoff-King wins on the line
30 days to go: The dominance of basketball’s Dream Team
29 days to go: Nadia Comenaci scores gymnastics’ first-ever perfect score
28 days to go: The man who stopped for a duck
27 days to go: The upset of the Sydney Olympics
26 days to go: Murray Rose’s scintilating Melbourne performance
25 days to go: Greg Louganis’ heroic comeback win
24 days to go: Fencing turns to duelling in Paris
23 days to go: Dawn Fraser’s flag-stealing shenanigans
22 days to go: The most prolific Olympic competitor
21 days to go: Duncan Armstrong’s underdog win in Seoul
20 days to go: Johnny Weissmuller: A brilliant swimmer and Hollywood actor
19 days to go: Majorie Jackson – the Lithgow Flash
18 days to go: Larisa Latynina, the most successful female Olympian
17 days to go: Dimitrios Loundras, the child who won an Olympic medal
16 days to go: Roy Jones Jr is robbed of an Olympic gold
15 days to go: Shane Gould’s superstar performance in Munich
14 days to go: The Kookaburras finally fly to the top of the world
13 days to go: Matthew Mitcham’s historic dive
12 days to go: Even Olympians are prone to the odd fail
11 days to go: Abebe Bikila wins the Olympic marathon running in bare feet
10 days to go: Track cycling’s greatest rivalry
9 days to go: Kieran Perkins’ gold medal from lane eight
8 days to go: Sally Pearson’s awesome run in London
7 days to go: Mark Spitz’ perfect seven gold medals in ’72
6 days to go: Usain Bolt torches the field in Beijing
5 days to go: Michael Klim and Ian Thorpe help smash America’s 4x100m world record like a guitar
4 days to go: Tommie Smith and John Carlos’ defiant black power salute
3 days to go: Michael Phelps – the best to ever grace the Olympics
2 days to go: Cathy Freeman delivers with the weight of a country on her back
1 day to go: Ian Thorpe – Australia’s finest Olympian