Australian Survivor 2018: "People Underestimated" Shane Gould

Spoilers ahead!

She's a former Olympian champion, and tonight -- at the age of 61 -- she was crowned Australia's Sole Survivor.

Speaking to ten daily over the phone after a long day of interviews, Shane warned us that she'd "talked [herself] out a bit", but promised to do her best.

Just as with Shane's performance in the game of Survivor, she went on to exceed expectations, offering thoughtful answers and remaining in good spirits, noting that despite the long day, it's all been "so exciting".

"I've had to pinch myself," she shared. "I've found myself just giggling, I can't believe it!"

Comparing the win to her Olympic achievements -- Shane's a three-time gold medalist, and picked up a silver and bronze medal along the way -- Shane said that she "can't really compare" the two, "because it's a totally different genre".

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"It’s a new sort of award and a different sort of award to a sportsmanship award," she explained. "I’m just starting to understand the gravity of it and the meaning of it. Reality TV is a massive thing around the world now, it offers a people education and a social education. Australian Survivor is the best of the reality TV shows, to me, and so to have the crown of Sole Survivor is extremely significant."

Of course, it wasn't an easy feat to accomplish. Shane said that although she "prepared well for it" -- as well as working hard and playing the game well during her time -- it was just as much about having "great allies".

In fact, it was her strong bond with her Survivor ally Sharn that saw her in the top two and able to plead her case to the jury to begin with, after Shane tapped out of the final immunity challenge.

Citing seasickness and pain as the two main reasons for backing out of the challenge, Shane revealed that although she "probably could have lasted a bit longer", the waves had picked up, and she didn't want to vomit on national television.

"I knew that Sharn would beat Brian -- I had no reservations about that -- and I’d never beat Sharn," she explained, revealing that Sharn had promised to take Shane to the final two if she won immunity.

She continued: "I don’t know if they showed this, but I said ‘have you got this Sharn?’ and she said ‘yep’, so I just trusted that she would take me through to the end, but I did absolve her of that promise that she’d made to me. I said ‘look, you don’t need to, if you choose to take Brian, I’m really glad to have got to third place, but if you take me, we’ll let the jury decide’."

As it turned out, Sharn was loyal to her alliance with Shane, and in the end, the jury ended up voting 5-4 in Shane's favour.

"It was so close, that’s part of the thrill of it," Shane said, adding: "Sharn was a great friend and ally all the way through and we were able to help each other out, to outwit, outlast and outplay to the very end until the jury had to decide."

Asked whether she felt that her competitors underestimated her, Shane said yes.

"People make judgements -- I make judgements, about young people -- and yes, I think people underestimated me because of ideas of what a so-called ‘old person’ is and how they should behave, whether it’s their grandma or their mother," she said. 

Shane went on to say that she hopes her Survivor win can "help break down some of those generational barriers", and "hopefully to get young people to get to know their elders better, whether it’s an older workmate or their granny".

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"We might think slower, and operate a device slower, and talk slower, but we’ve got so many years of experience, and if you could put a value on it, it’s criminal, really, to put that aside," she shared.

"It’s a really good opportunity for mutual understanding around those age barriers," she continued, adding that she hopes to also inspire her own generation to push back against people's pre-conceived ideas of what the older generation is capable of.

"Older people like myself can’t just take the criticism and the discouragement about being older, to believe you’ve hit the use-by date," she said. "You’ve gotta be more confident and to push back, to stand up and be heard. We need to contribute, the younger generation needs our wisdom. Hopefully, my win of Survivor will help generations to think differently about one another."

All episodes of Survivor: Champions Vs Contenders are streaming now on tenplay.