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Sole Survivor

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Sole Survivor
Richard hatch 450
The first Sole Survivor, Richard Hatch
Survivor Gameplay
Description The person who has earned the highest number of votes from the Jury.
Appearance(s) Every season

The Sole Survivor is the title held by the winner of the reality TV show, Survivor. Being a Sole Survivor requires having the highest number of votes from the Jury.


Though there is no one absolute strategy of winning the title, as it is subjective, but to be a Sole Survivor, a contestant must achieve these two things:

  • Reach the final day of the competition.
  • Have the highest number of votes from the Jury among the remaining finalists.

All Sole Survivors are known to have mastered (wittingly or otherwise) the social aspect of the game. That is, having to be liked by most of the Jury members because of their social ability, since Survivor is mostly a game of social interaction rather than a physical competition. Most winners tend to bring opponent(s) to the Final Tribal Council who are more unlikely to garner votes because of their abrasiveness, or sometimes, terrible body of work (poor work ethic, bad challenge performances, frequent squabbles with tribe mates). Reaching the Final Tribal Council, the final few will have to compete for the Jury's votes. The finalist who garnered the most votes would attain the title of Sole Survivor. This situation has been proven tricky over the years, as most finalists succumb to lack of self-awareness. In Survivor: One World, the principle, "perception is not always reality" was introduced by a castaway, stating that in order to win the game, a player must match his or her "perception", or what he or she thinks is happening, with "reality", or what is actually happening, in which if the Jury sees the finalists succumb to any of the following situations, they usually don't get their votes:

  • Lack of self-awareness - a common error of most finalists; not knowing how they came across to their comrades. This is used by their fellow finalists to their advantage to swerve the Jury votes to their favor. This error is correlated with:
    • Being deemed for have an aggressive game play, If not performed properly, it usually hurts the players they vote out and send to the Jury, potentially altering their thinking process, and might vote for the other finalists just for the sole reason that they did not like the player's mismanagement of them. Though playing aggressive can benefit a contestant, handling their eliminations is proven to be a two-edged sword. 
    • Being largely unlikable, finding himself/herself be ignored for their rash treatment of the other contestants.
    • Having a demeanor that is off-putting to the Jury members, both when they were still in the game and what was observable in proceeding Tribal Councils when they started sitting as jurors. This makes jurors think twice in voting such finalists, regardless of merit.[1]
  • "Flying under-the-radar" or "riding on coattails" would be admonished for "not doing anything" or for simply being at the right place at the right time.
  • Answering poorly (or not answering at all) to the Jury's questions.
  • Acting very apologetic, rather than accounting for his/her actions.
  • Feeling entitled to winning the game.
  • Does not get credit for doing anything, and especially if he/she throws others under the bus.
  • Answering back in a combative manner.

Regardless of the situation, the finalist must answer at their best to the the Jury's questions. If jurors finds a contestant answering insincerely, most likely they would not get their votes.


The Sole Survivor receives a check of $1,000,000, to be received after the season finale. Earlier winners additionally received a car that is usually similar to the one given at the Reward Challenge where a car was also given, though this has been abandoned since Survivor: Cook Islands. The winner, and all contestants present in the live Reunion Show will also receive an extra $10,000 appearance fee, which immediately follows the finale broadcast. Furthermore, the Sole Survivor is still eligible for winning the Fan Favorite Award. All cash prizes are taxable at the U.S. rate of 35% leaving the winner $600,000.

List of Sole SurvivorsEdit

Season Winner Runner(s)-up Jury Vote
Survivor: Borneo S1 richard t Richard Hatch S1 kelly t Kelly Wiglesworth 4-3
Survivor: The Australian Outback S2 tina t Tina Wesson S2 colby t Colby Donaldson 4-3
Survivor: Africa S3 ethan t Ethan Zohn S3 kimj t Kim Johnson 5-2
Survivor: Marquesas S4 vecepia t Vecepia Towery S4 neleh t Neleh Dennis 4-3
Survivor: Thailand S5 brian t Brian Heidik S5 clay t Clay Jordan 4-3
Survivor: The Amazon S6 jenna t Jenna Morasca S6 matthew t Matthew von Ertfelda 6-1
Survivor: Pearl Islands S7 sandra t Sandra Diaz-Twine S7 lillian t Lillian Morris 6-1
Survivor: All-Stars S8 amber t Amber Brkich S8 robm t Rob Mariano 4-3
Survivor: Vanuatu S9 chris t Chris Daugherty S9 twila t Twila Tanner 5-2
Survivor: Palau S10 tom t Tom Westman S10 katie t Katie Gallagher 6-1
Survivor: Guatemala S11 danni t Danni Boatwright S11 stephenie t Stephenie LaGrossa 6-1
Survivor: Panama S12 aras t Aras Baskauskas S12 danielle t Danielle DiLorenzo 5-2
Survivor: Cook Islands S13 yul t Yul Kwon S13 ozzy t Ozzy Lusth 5-4-0
S13 becky t Becky Lee
Survivor: Fiji S14 earl t Earl Cole S14 cassandra t Cassandra Franklin 9-0-0
S14 dreamz t Dreamz Herd
Survivor: China S15 todd t Todd Herzog S15 courtney t Courtney Yates 4-2-1
S15 amanda t Amanda Kimmel
Survivor: Micronesia S16 parvati t Parvati Shallow S16 amanda t Amanda Kimmel 5-3
Survivor: Gabon S17 bob t Bob Crowley S17 susie t Susie Smith 4-3-0
S17 sugar t Sugar Kiper
Survivor: Tocantins S18 jt t J.T. Thomas S18 stephen t Stephen Fishbach 7-0
Survivor: Samoa S19 natalie t Natalie White S19 russellh t Russell Hantz 7-2-0
S19 mick t Mick Trimming
Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains S20 sandra t Sandra Diaz-Twine S20 parvati t Parvati Shallow 6-3-0
S20 russell t Russell Hantz
Survivor: Nicaragua S21 fabio t Fabio Birza S21 chase t Chase Rice 5-4-0
S21 sash t Sash Lenahan
Survivor: Redemption Island S22 rob t Rob Mariano S22 phillip t Phillip Sheppard 8-1-0
S22 natalie t Natalie Tenerelli
Survivor: South Pacific S23 sophie t Sophie Clarke S23 coach t Coach Wade 6-3-0
S23 albert t Albert Destrade
Survivor: One World S24 kim t Kim Spradlin S24 sabrina t Sabrina Thompson 7-2-0
S24 chelsea t Chelsea Meissner
Survivor: Philippines S25 denise t Denise Stapley S25 lisa t Lisa Whelchel 6-1-1
S25 michael t Michael Skupin
Survivor: Caramoan S26 cochran t John Cochran S26 dawn t Dawn Meehan 8-0-0
S26 sherri t Sherri Biethman
Survivor: Blood vs. Water S27 tyson t Tyson Apostol S27 monica t Monica Culpepper 7-1-0
S27 gervase t Gervase Peterson
Survivor: Cagayan S28 tony c Tony Vlachos S28 woo c Woo Hwang 8-1



  • Sandra Diaz-Twine is the first, and currently only Survivor winner (and female) to win twice, winning in Survivor: Pearl Islands and Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains.
  • Earl Cole is the first Sole Survivor to garner all Jury votes and has the most Jury votes to date in a season with 9. J.T. Thomas would also later repeat this feat, but gained 7 votes as his season featured a Final Two instead of a Final Three. John Cochran is the latest Sole Survivor to accomplish this feat when he gained all 8 Jury votes in Survivor: Caramoan.
    • Earl is the only one of the three not to play a Perfect Game.
  • With Cochran's unanimous win in Caramoan, all Jury configurations (7-person, 8-person and 9-person Juries) have unanimously voted for the Sole Survivors to win.
  • J.T. is the first Sole Survivor to get all of the Jury votes and win the Fan Favorite Award.
    • J.T. is also the first Sole Survivor to play a "Perfect Game", not receiving any votes against him and receiving every Jury vote.
    • Cochran is the second Sole Survivor to play a "Perfect Game". He, however didn't win the Fan Favorite Award.
    • Earl had defeated finalists of both genders, J.T. had defeated a finalist of the same gender and Cochran had defeated finalists of the opposite gender.
  • Bob Crowley is the first Sole Survivor to also win the Fan Favorite Award. Later, Sole Survivors J.T., Rob Mariano, and Kim Spradlin would also win the Fan Favorite Award.
  • There have been 16 men and 11 women to have become the Sole Survivor, with one woman winning twice.
    • In terms of seasons, 16 have been won by men while 12 have been won by women.
  • In seasons with a Final Two and a 7-person Jury, only men have won in a 5-2 vote (Ethan, Chris and Aras).
    • Coincidentally, each of them defeated a female finalist.
  • Tony Vlachos is currently the Sole Survivor with the most Jury votes received in a Final Two, with 8 Jury votes received.
  • In seasons with a Final Three and a 9-person Jury, only men have won in a 5-4-0 vote (Yul and Fabio), only women have won in a 6-3-0 vote (Sandra and Sophie) and only women have won in a 7-2-0 vote (Natalie and Kim).
  • Richard Hatch is the only Sole Survivor to be revealed on location rather than in the U.S.
  • Natalie White and Kim are tied for the most Jury votes received by any female winner, with 7. Coincidentally, the votes were 7-2-0.
  • Bob is the oldest Sole Survivor, while Fabio Birza is the youngest when crowned. However, Sophie Clarke is the youngest by date of birth.
  • Denise Stapley is currently the only Sole Survivor to attend every Tribal Council in a season.
  • Yul Kwon and Kim are the only winners to have found the Hidden Immunity Idol and keep it until Day 39. However, Kim is the only winner to find the idol without a clue. 
  • There have been two LGBT winners (Richard Hatch and Todd Herzog).
  • Danni Boatwright is the first new player to defeat a returning player in the final.
    • She would be followed by Sophie Clarke and Denise Stapley
    • Coincidentally, each of them were females.
    • To date, none of them have played a second time.
  • Tom Westman has the most Individual Immunity wins out of any winner with 5.
    • Jenna Morasca & Kim are tied with the most Individual Immunity wins out of all the female winners with 4. 
  • 7 winners have won without ever having a single vote cast against them: Tina Wesson, Ethan Zohn, Brian Heidik, Sandra Diaz-Twine (Pearl Islands), Tom Westman, J.T. Thomas, and John Cochran.
    • Thomas and Cochran went on to play a "perfect game" and won unanimously.
  • 7 winners have won without ever having won an individual immunity challenge: Tina Wesson, Sandra Diaz-Twine (Pearl Islands & Heroes vs Villains), Yul Kwon, Earl Cole, Todd Herzog, Natalie White, and Tony Vlachos.
    • Sandra accomplished this twice, making it an eight-time occurrence.
  • Aras Baskauskas has the most votes cast against any winner in a single season with 9.
    • Natalie has the most votes cast against any female winner in a single season with 8 (However, this includes the 3 votes she received in the revote in The Day of Reckoning).
  • The most common decision for Sole Survivor by the Jury is a 4-3 vote, occurring a total of 6 times. This includes Survivor: Gabon where Bob won in a 4-3-0 vote.
  • Tina Wesson is the only winner to return twice after being crowned Sole Survivor on his or her first attempt.
  • Six winners have won the game as returnees: Amber Brkich, Parvati Shallow, Sandra Diaz-Twine, Rob Mariano, John Cochran, and Tyson Apostol.
    • Tyson is the first, and only, contestant to win on their third season.
    • Rob is the first, and only, contestant to win on their fourth season.
  • Only 6% of Survivor contestants have become the sole survivor. 
  • 11 Sole Survivors who had competed more than once had experienced being voted out, either prior to or after the season that each of them had won: Richard, Tina, Ethan, Amber, Tom, Aras, Parvati, JT, Rob, Cochran and Tyson.
    • In terms of chronology, this is the order: Amber, Rob, Tina, Richard, Ethan, Parvati, Tyson, Tom, JT, Cochran and Aras.
  • Bob Crowley is the oldest male winner and oldest winner ever who was 57 at the time of his win.
  • Denise Stapley is the oldest female winner who was 41 at the time of her win.
    • By birth date, female winners Tina Wesson and Vecepia Towery are older then Denise with Tina being the oldest female winner by birth date.

See alsoEdit


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