Shane Gould on the strategy, politics and greatest threat she faces on Australian Survivor: All Stars

Australian Survivor: All Stars - TEN, 7.30pm, Monday

When you have already gone head-to-head with a bunch of people stuck on an island without regular food, no communications devices and tortuous challenges thrown at you daily, why on earth would you want to do it all again?

Winner of Australian Survivor season three, triple Olympic swimming gold medallist Shane Gould, AM, MBE, PhD, says it's because she didn't want to miss out!

"I swore I would never do it again but when I got the the call, I first got FOMU [fear of mucking up], then I thought, I like playing the game, and with it being All Stars there'd be a different dynamic."

She knows it will be challenging, but is eager for what she can learn about herself: "Besides, I love Fiji, and I love camping," Gould says of the Savusavu location.

So how does a 63-year-old prepare to go up against the hard-bodied mostly much younger competitors?

"I did a bit more upper body strength training. Season 3 had a lot of challenges where you needed to be able to lift your own body weight. I did balance exercises, the climbing wall, rope work to harden up my hands and grip."

She didn't do as much sand running or walking through water, but did walk up a steep hill - "a lot".

Gould did a little bit more yoga: "I wanted to be more flexible in the hips and quads. You can hurt yourself if you're not ready, and being a bit older, I need to be sensible."

In preparation Gould also researched chimpanzee politics.

"Frans de Waal observed chimps for over 30 years in an enclosure in the Netherlands. My husband told me about this so I read the book [Chimpanzee Politics: Power and Sex Among Apes]. The tribe situation is similar. Grooming in the chimp world can be an appeasement, a connection, to form a coalition, or for reconciliation."

But how will she employ this in her quest to win?

"Physical contact in some way, like turning a collar down, dusting grass off their back, it's more of a care thing, sharing more intimacy - I'll be looking to do those sorts of things," Gould says.

To be prepared mentally, she had to be sure everything at home was in hand.

"The business, bills, people in your life, bank accounts, you have to know all that is good so you can give yourself emotionally to the game. You have to have self-awareness, self-confidence, and build your strategy. I had to decide who am I was going to align myself with and how active a leadership role I will take."

I have seen her since at a sporting event where we had the chance to talk and kind of reconcile. I think she was devastated, it's part of the meanness and interest of Survivor.

Shane Gould on Lydia Lassila

Gould says when you are playing the game you have to make decisions quickly so she needed some self-reflection to define what were her talents and her weaknesses.

As each of these contenders has already shown their true colours it could well be a more difficult task to outwit each other.

"Your basic personality is going to be the same, you can't change that. I was aligned with Lydia in season three but was instrumental in getting her voted out.

"I have seen her since at a sporting event where we had the chance to talk and kind of reconcile. I think she was devastated, it's part of the meanness and interest of Survivor. I figured if she was going to be on it again, I have to make sure I have a strong alliance around me or, if she is in my tribe, I have to make friends with her.

"You have to get rid of your competition, but you still have to play the game in front of you. You can't think too much of last time around. You have to be responsive to what's happening around you."

In season three Gould had a "secret friend" and says this time she will do the same.

"I will try to have a secret friend as soon as possible. By the time the first game is finished I will have decided who that will be."

The former Olympian's fitness routine is regular swimming and generally being active.

"I like to be physically active like gardening, making a fence, painting. Some people aren't drawn to being active so it's hard to motivate yourself. Sometimes I have to make a real effort. Just walking and being out in nature is the best way to have a baseline. You have to pick what you like to do. Make it a daily routine."

Remarkably, Gould undertook a doctorate while involved with Survivor. Not surprisingly, her thesis looked into the culture of swimming in Australia.

She travelled extensively and found a great number of swimming pools in Australia are not being used effectively. She believes pools need to be more like billabongs and adventure playgrounds not concrete boxes.

"Kids run out of imagination in a concrete box. There were a lot of places where pools were closed, even in November and March, because no one was using them.

She also believes people's definition of swimming needs to be changed.

"There are a lot of people standing in the water, or taking a plunge and a few strokes, and then standing up. People are not improving their skills and are relying on being able to stand up. You need to ask the question, 'can I get back in if I fall out of a kayak or a boat?'.

Gould says most children do swimming lessons and hardly ever use the skills, thinking they can swim well enough.

"They need to keep improving their skills because there might be one day when they think they can rescue someone but are not up to the task."

As to who is up to the task on Australian Survivor: All Stars, Gould thinks "ice cream Harry" is a threat.

"He was so clever in season four, he'd drop an idea and leave it with a group, then come back and let them think it was their idea. So he was perceived as a non-threat but he was seeding ideas."

And just quietly, she's hoping Lydia isn't on her team.

They say it takes a village to raise a family and in the case of Australian Survivor: All Stars, it takes more than 500 crew to corral the 24 players all vying to win the title. Gould says the great thing is the production employs a lot of locals.

As a Taswegian, she is pretty proud of the fact Surf Life Saving Tasmania have supplied the water safety training for Survivor.

"They have trained up the local people in Savusavu to use paddle boards and the safety tubes. So the local community is enriched by us being here, and that's a good thing."

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