Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Shane Gould

Shane Gould.

I don't know who he is.

I shall go and remove my ignorance.

I thought Shane would be a he, but Shane is a she.

She's an Olympic swimmer.

She's a sports person. I'm not interested in sports, but I'm okay with swimming people.

Lord Wiki says baby Shane was born on 23 November 1956. Her birthday is a day after mine. On the day before her seventh birthday, Kennedy was assassinated. I'm guessing that wasn't as huge a deal in Australia as it was in America. But since Australians seem to be more intuned with American news than Americans are intuned with Australian news, I'm guessing most Australians were at least AWARE of it. I'm betting most Americans didn't even KNOW about the Whitlam Dismissal.

Baby Shane was born in Sydney, but when she was eighteen months her family moved to Fiji. That would be a cool place to move to.

I'm not sure how long they stayed there.

Lord Wiki says she was a competent swimmer by the age of six. I'm not sure what the definition of competent swimmer would be.

I guess at some point they returned to Australia. Gould went to school in Brisbane at St. Peters Lutheran College. Noel Pearson went to that same school, but he's twelve years younger than Gould. So he would have been there after she went.

Gould did the 1972 Olympics in Munich. This was the Olympics in which Israeli athletes were kidnapped and killed by Palestinians.

Gould won three gold medals at that game, plus a bronze and silver one.

Lord Wiki says she retired after that. Wow. I wonder why. That seems so young. Why would someone retire from something they loved? Did she lose interest? Did she feel she reached the goals she had wanted to reach?

Well, it could just be that Lord Wiki is confused. Later, he says that she still swims. He also says she divides her time between Sydney and Launceston.

That's about it for Lord Wiki. I guess I'll go somewhere else now.

Gould has an official website.

She doesn't just swim. She's a photographer as well. Cool. I bet she'll have some of her photos on the site.

The site has a biography. It gives some insight into why she retired. She received unprecedented national and international fame for her achievements, overwhelming for a child athlete of that era, which caused her to withdraw from competitive swimming when she was 17.

Well, that makes sense. I can understand why she'd need to quit. That kind of attention is hard on some people. The site says the ironic thing her adult years, she does marketing, writing, and public speaking. I guess she got used to the limelight a little bit.

Gould has four children--all grown now. They all lived on a sustainable farm in south western Australia. I guess that would be Western Australia, right? The Margaret River is mentioned. So yeah. That's in Western Australia. I wonder why it doesn't just say she lived in Western Australia.

She believes staying physically active and having outdoor time is very important. I don't give myself enough of the latter. I need to increase that.

Gould does photography with a group of Olympic Athletes. They call the program Art of the Olympians. They have a permanent exhibit in Florida. It's about art, and the aesthetics of athletes. It goes a bit over my head. It's athletes who like art. Should we then have a Art of the Physicians? How about Art of the Lawyers? Art of the Industrial Engineers?

Gould is a guest lecturer at Macquarie University for a relatively new program about sports and business.

Gould published her autobiography. It's called Tumble Turns. Have any of you read it?

There's another biography page on the official site. I guess one wasn't enough. It says Gould's marriage eventually broke up, and she went through a depression. She did soul-searching in the United States. Then she returned, and put herself back into the public eye.

The website says:

Shane sensed a need for current athletes to take care of their whole life needs, not just their sport needs. Because many athletes have difficulty coping with life without sport, Shane believes preventing or minimising sports retirement stress can be addressed while the athlete is still competing and training. Athlete Career transitions have similar processes and challenges to work and life career changes but with unique aspects that Shane is very familiar with.

That makes sense. I think it's fine to put the majority of our focus on one thing. I do it often! But if we put ALL of our focus on one thing, that can be detrimental. We need minor interests to go along with our major interests/hobbies. It's like the teenager who drops all her friends and interests when she finds herself with a boyfriend. If the relationship ends (as most do) then she's left with nothing. But it's not the end of the world. She could eventually pick herself up again. People sometimes lose that which is most important to them, and they sometimes manage to survive. Is it easier to survive if you had interests outside of the beloved thing you've lost...or is it just as devastating?

Gould CHOSE to leave swimming. Someone else might be forced to lose what they love. I bet that makes some amount of difference.

This page has photos of her medals. There's naked men on them. I didn't realize Olympic medals have naked men. Do all Olympic medals have that? This website says the front of Olympic medals are always the same. The back is designed by the host country. Interesting. I wonder what those naked men are supposed to represent. They almost look like aliens....twin aliens with penises.

Here's some of her photographs. You can buy them off the site.

This leg one is pretty cool.

The photos are expensive. The leg one costs $425 dollars. Wow.

I have to admit it. I'm not good at understanding the art of photography, or being impressed with it. The reason is I too often see amazing photographs done by amateurs. I mean I think I've probably taken some amazing photographs myself. Jack has taken some great photographs. Almost everyone I know sometimes takes REALLY good photographs. With digital cameras, we have unlimited practice. We can take a hundred pictures of an elephant. One is likely to turn out really amazing.

Tim has taken many award-worthy photographs. But he also has taken a lot of photographs that make me want to say, what the hell is that crap?

I DO know that there are skills you can acquire that will improve your photos. But I also think you can take good photos without advice, classes, books, etc.

I think the type of photography that would most likely benefit from professional development would be portrait photography. I think you'd need to know about lighting and all that stuff. With a more journalistic approach, sometimes I think it's more about luck...being at the right place at the right time.

For example, Tim took a photo of a Cockatoo on my head. We can say it's a great photo. But shouldn't the Cockatoo get most of the credit. He's the one who decided to land on my head. I guess we COULD credit Tim for grabbing the camera fast enough.

I personally think the best photos are taken by children. They're so much less inhibited, and they take photos of stuff we would see as a waste of time. They help us to see the beauty in things we'd usually ignore. Their photograph of a half eaten cookie can be as beautiful as our photograph of a sunset.

Gould has a swimming foundation. It's aim is to provide swimming safety and training in disadvantaged communities. It seems they do most of their work in Fiji and the Northern Territory.

Andrew Denton did an interview with Gould in 2004.

It seems what she's most famous for is holding all freestyle swimming records at the same time. She was quite the champion.

She says she takes long showers, and that she is not very water wise in that regards. I hate to admit it, but I'm guilty too of that. It's so hard for me to get out of the shower! I shower only every other day though. I have (extended) family members who shower multiple times a day. So with us....that probably evens out.

Tim is good with his showers. He does it once a day, and they're always reasonably short. He should be proud of himself in that regard.

A year after the Olympics, Gould's dad reported her as missing. Wow. I didn't realize that had happened. I guess she had run away. The attention must have REALLY gotten to her.

It seems weight had something to do with it. The stress of everything made her attracted to junk food. She got bigger, and her size wasn't exactly helpful in swimming competitions.

She says there was a lot of pressure for her to keep swimming. She felt there were no goals for her to reach. It's like that song from Evita.

High flying adored
what happens now
where do you go from here

For someone
on top of the world
the views not exactly clear

A shame you did it all at twenty-six
There are no mysteries now
Nothing can thrill you
no one fulfill you

High flying adored
I hope you come
to terms with boredom

So famous so easily
so soon
it's not the wisest thing to be

Someone on YouTube is saying that Antonio Banderas is dead. Please tell me that's not true.

Okay, well as far as I can see....the guy is still among the living. That's good.

Gould says, Now in some families you have a child who has a learning disability, or some physical disability, or are constantly sick and they get special attention, and often the families orientation and energy just focuses on that child. So in some ways I was a special needs child and a lot of attention was given to me and they, my parents, tried really hard to not do that, but it was very difficult when their fifteen year old is sought after for interviews around the world, and is Australian of the Year and da, da, da, da. T

That's interesting. I think she has a good point there. Celebrity children probably are very much like special needs children within a least in terms of the attention being focused on them. That can be hard on both the siblings, and the celebrity child themselves. The celebrity child has to deal with both their siblings jealousy, and the pressure from their parents. As hard as this is though, I feel somewhat weird about comparing it to special needs in which a child has an illness or disability. But I don't know...the stresses on the family might sometimes be equal. Well, for parents I'd think a disability or illness would be more difficult. With siblings, I'd think it would be fairly equal. Children can get very resentful if all the adult attention is being directed at another child.

Anyway, I think I'm done for the day.