|Description:||The person who has earned the highest number of votes from the jury.|
The Sole Survivor is the title held by the winner of the reality TV show Survivor, as determined by a plurality of votes from the jury. It is the task of the jury to award the title to the contestant who most thoroughly embodies the show's three-word slogan: "Outwit, Outplay, Outlast."
There are no formal constraints on the rationale that jury members may employ in choosing the Sole Survivor. The only built-in requirement of eligibility for the title is to survive all 39 days of competition (42 in The Australian Outback, 39.5 in Blood vs. Water and San Juan del Sur).
At the Final Tribal Council, the finalists are subjected to interrogation by the jury, who may ask any questions or make any statements that they feel will help them make the best decision possible. As there is no objective definition of 'best' in this case, the methods by which contestants have won the game, and the reasons adopted by jury members in voting for them, have varied widely throughout the history of the series.
Jury members are expected, however, to choose Sole Survivors that have credibly embodied the show's three-word premise:
- Outwit: The strategic element; the ability to outmaneuver other contestants and eliminate them in a manner conducive to one's own long-term success in the game. This component of the game may include alliance formation/management, the execution of blindsides, the use of Hidden Immunity Idols, or any other manifestation of guile, deception, or strategic command.
- Outplay: The social element; the ability to bring about one's desired strategic goals without sacrificing one's social standing or alienating other contestants emotionally. A strong candidate will remain respected while playing an efficacious game.
- Outlast: The physical element; the ability to withstand the harsh realities of being a contestant for 39 days, such as harsh weather, grueling challenges, and deprivation of the necessities of life. It is expected that the Sole Survivor will have not only endured the physical difficulties of the game, but indeed will have borne them with enthusiasm and grace.
It should be noted that in the game of Survivor likeability and respect are not always fungible qualities. In some cases, the winner may have played a game strategically dominant enough to overcome the fact that other finalists were more likeable. At other times, the opposite may be the case, and a more sociable player may win due to the quality of their personality even in the presence of a more strategically "active" but socially inept competitor. It is up to the idiosyncratic interpretation of the jury to determine who has fulfilled all three elements of "Outwit, Outplay, Outlast," and it is up to each finalist to present a compelling argument in their own favor, emphasizing their strengths and eliding their weaknesses, at the Final Tribal Council.
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. From Survivor: Panama to Survivor: Caramoan, the Sole Survivor was also eligible to win the Fan Favorite Award. All cash prizes are taxable at the U.S. rate of 35% leaving the winner $600,000.
List of Sole Survivors
Sole Survivors by age at the time of winning
The following table shows the ages of the Sole Survivors at the time of winning the title, as well as their birth dates. Since there are two different days when the title can be considered won, two ages are presented: the age on the day the contestant was announced Sole Survivor, and the day of the Final Tribal Council during which the voting took place. Note that only Richard Hatch was announced Sole Survivor on the same day the voting took place. Usually, the gap between the two dates is about half a year, so there is no difference when it comes to the ranking, except with the case of Michele Fitzgerald, who could have been announced the winner much earlier had production not decided to air her season and the next season filmed out of order, thereby delaying the announcement of the results by about a year; as well as in the case of Adam Klein and Amber Brkich, with the former being slightly younger on the day of the Final Tribal Council, but slightly older on the day of announcement.
|Sole Survivor||Season||Age on Day|
|Age on Day|
of Final Tribal
|Fabio Birza||Nicaragua||21y, 6m, 8d||21y, 1m, 11d||June 12, 1989|
|Jenna Morasca||The Amazon||22y, 2m, 27d||21y, 10m, 1d||February 15, 1981|
|Sophie Clarke||South Pacific||22y, 5m, 9d||21y, 11m, 28d||July 10, 1989|
|Todd Herzog||China||22y, 10m, 18d||22y, 6m, 5d||January 29, 1985|
|Aras Baskauskas||Panama||24y, 7m, 19d||24y, 2m, 14d||September 26, 1981|
|J.T. Thomas||Tocantins||24y, 10m, 25d||24y, 5m, 13d||June 23, 1984|
|Michele Fitzgerald||Kaôh Rōng||26y, 14d||25y, 3d||May 5, 1990|
|Parvati Shallow||Micronesia||25y, 7m, 21d||25y, 2m, 16d||September 21, 1982|
|Adam Klein||Millennials vs. Gen X||25y, 11m||25y, 3m, 28d||January 15, 1991|
|Amber Brkich||All-Stars||25y, 10m, 29d||25y, 4m, 1d||August 11, 1978|
|John Cochran||Caramoan||26y, 3m, 26d||25y, 5m, 12d||January 17, 1987|
|Natalie White||Samoa||26y, 7m, 29d||26y, 2m, 28d||April 22, 1983|
|Ethan Zohn||Africa||28y, 1m, 30d||27y, 9m, 7d||November 12, 1973|
|Natalie Anderson||San Juan del Sur||28y, 8m, 7d||28y, 2m, 30d||April 11, 1986|
|Kim Spradlin||One World||29y, 4m, 4d||28y, 7m, 10d||January 30, 1983|
|Sandra Diaz-Twine||Pearl Islands||29y, 4m, 15d||29y, 2d||July 30, 1974|
|Danni Boatwright||Guatemala||30y, 4m, 29d||30y, 22d||July 13, 1975|
|Yul Kwon||Cook Islands||31y, 10m, 4d||31y, 5m, 20d||February 14, 1975|
|Sarah Lacina||Game Changers||32y, 10m, 16d||32y, 6d||July 9, 1984|
|Chris Daugherty||Vanuatu||34y, 3m, 14d||33y, 11m, 9d||August 29, 1970|
|Tyson Apostol||Blood vs. Water||34y, 5m, 29d||34y, 11d||June 17, 1979|
|Brian Heidik||Thailand||34y, 9m, 11d||34y, 4m, 10d||March 9, 1968|
|Rob Mariano||Redemption Island||35y, 4m, 21d||34y, 8m, 30d||December 25, 1975|
|Sandra Diaz-Twine||Heroes vs. Villains||35y, 9m, 17d||35y, 1m, 18d||July 30, 1974|
|Earl Cole||Fiji||36y, 1m, 5d||35y, 7m, 29d||April 9, 1971|
|Vecepia Towery||Marquesas||36y, 5m, 11d||36y, 12d||December 8, 1965|
|Jeremy Collins||Cambodia||37y, 7m, 27d||37y, 2m, 19d||April 20, 1978|
|Mike Holloway||Worlds Apart||38y, 9m, 36d||38y, 1m, 13d||July 25, 1976|
|Richard Hatch||Borneo||39y, 18d||39y, 18d||April 8, 1961|
|Tina Wesson||The Australian Outback||40y, 4m, 8d||39y, 11m, 8d||December 26, 1960|
|Tony Vlachos||Cagayan||40y, 8m, 12d||39y, 11m, 9d||September 10, 1973|
|Tom Westman||Palau||41y, 4m, 11d||40y, 11m, 1d||January 4, 1964|
|Denise Stapley||Philippines||41y, 11m, 12d||41y, 3m, 25d||January 1, 1971|
|Bob Crowley||Gabon||57y, 9m, 20d||57y, 5m, 7d||February 25, 1951|
Winning and Perfect Games
- Sandra Diaz-Twine is the first, and currently only Survivor contestant to win two seasons, having won both Survivor: Pearl Islands and Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains.
- So far, 19 males and 14 females have become Sole Survivors, with one female winning twice.
- In terms of seasons, 19 have been won by males while 15 have been won by females.
- Bob Crowley is the oldest Sole Survivor, while Fabio Birza is the youngest by age at the time crowned. Adam Klein is the youngest by birth date.
- Earl Cole is the first Sole Survivor to win a jury vote unanimously, as he garnered all 9 jury votes in Survivor: Fiji.
- J.T. Thomas in Survivor: Tocantins (7-0), John Cochran in Survivor: Caramoan (8-0-0), Jeremy Collins in Survivor: Cambodia (10-0-0), and Adam Klein in Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X (10-0-0) have also won unanimously.
- J.T. and Cochran received no votes throughout the entire game, achieving a Perfect Game. Jeremy received no counted votes, but did receive three votes that were voided by a Hidden Immunity Idol.
- Bob Crowley is the first Sole Survivor to also win the Fan Favorite Award.
- There have been two LGBT winners: Richard Hatch and Todd Herzog.
- With Natalie Anderson's win, she and Natalie White are the first two Sole Survivors to share a name.
- Currently, no one born in the month of October has won the title of Sole Survivor.
- All jury configurations (7-person, 8-person, 9-person, and 10-person juries) have unanimously voted for a Sole Survivor to win.
- In seasons with a Final Two and a 7-person jury, all 5-2 votes involved a male defeating a female: Ethan Zohn defeated Kim Johnson, Chris Daugherty defeated Twila Tanner, and Aras Baskauskas defeated Danielle DiLorenzo.
- Tony Vlachos is currently the Sole Survivor with the most jury votes received in a Final Two, with 8.
- Richard Hatch is the only Sole Survivor to be revealed on location rather than during the Reunion Show.
- Natalie White, Kim Spradlin, and Sarah Lacina are tied for the most jury votes received by any female winner, all receiving 7 jury votes.
- Denise Stapley is currently the only Sole Survivor to attend every Tribal Council of their winning season. However, Natalie White is the Sole Survivor who was eligible to be voted out the most times, with 14.
- Eight winners have won without ever having a single vote cast against them: Tina Wesson, Ethan Zohn, Brian Heidik, Sandra Diaz-Twine (in Pearl Islands), Tom Westman, J.T. Thomas, John Cochran, and Natalie Anderson.
- Michele Fitzgerald is the only Sole Survivor to never attend a pre-merge Tribal Council.
- Aras Baskauskas has the most votes cast against any winner in a single season, with 9.
- Natalie White 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 5 times. This count does not include the 4-3-0 Final Tribal Council of Survivor: Gabon.
Hidden Immunity Idol and Twists
- Yul Kwon is the first Sole Survivor to have found a Hidden Immunity Idol.
- Yul and Kim Spradlin are the only Sole Survivors to find a Hidden Immunity Idol and keep it until Day 39.
- Mike Holloway and Jeremy Collins are the only Sole Survivors to use a Hidden Immunity Idol successfully in their winning season.
- Sarah Lacina successfully used a Legacy Advantage, which could be played similar to a Hidden Immunity Idol, to save herself from the majority vote; making her the first female winner to set this record.
- Sarah is also the first person to use Extra Vote advantage and win the title.
- In both Fans vs. Favorites seasons, favorites won.
- In both Blood vs. Water seasons, winners won in their third attempt on reality shows. Tyson Apostol competed in Survivor thrice, while Natalie Anderson participated in The Amazing Race two times with her twin sister, Nadiya Anderson, before winning on her first try on Survivor.
- Aras Baskauskas and Tyson Apostol are the only Sole Survivors who experienced both the Exile Island and Redemption Island twists.
- Danni Boatwright is the first new player to defeat a returning player in a jury vote. She was followed by Sophie Clarke and Denise Stapley.
- Coincidentally, only females have accomplished this feat, and none of them have played a second time.
- From all returning player seasons, Jeremy Collins is the only male Sole Survivor.
- Tom Westman won the most challenges, with 17. Natalie Anderson and Michele Fitzgerald are tied with the most challenge wins of female Sole Survivors, with 13.
- Tom Westman and Mike Holloway are tied with the most individual immunity wins out of any Sole Survivor, with 5.
- Natalie White won the least challenges out of all Sole Survivors, with 3; none of them were from individual challenges.
- Eight Sole Survivors have won without ever having won an individual Immunity Challenge: Tina Wesson, Sandra Diaz-Twine (both times), Yul Kwon, Earl Cole, Todd Herzog, Natalie White, Tony Vlachos, and Sarah Lacina.
- Eight winners have won the game as returnees: Amber Brkich, Parvati Shallow, Sandra Diaz-Twine, Rob Mariano, John Cochran, Tyson Apostol, Jeremy Collins, and Sarah Lacina.
- All were second-timers, except Tyson (third time) and Rob (fourth time).
- Fifteen Sole Survivors who had competed more than once have experienced being voted out, either prior to or after the season that each of them had won: Richard Hatch, Tina Wesson, Ethan Zohn, Sandra Diaz-Twine, Amber Brkich, Tom Westman, Aras Baskauskas, Parvati Shallow, J.T. Thomas, Rob Mariano, John Cochran, Tyson Apostol, Tony Vlachos, Jeremy Collins, and Sarah Lacina.
- Jenna Morasca is the only Sole Survivor to play multiple times and never be voted out, as she quit Survivor: All-Stars.
- In Survivor: All-Stars and Survivor: Game Changers, no returning Sole Survivors reached the merge nor became jury members.
- Tina Wesson, Sandra Diaz-Twine, and J.T. Thomas are the only winners to return twice after being crowned Sole Survivor.
- Tina Wesson is the only Sole Survivor to be eliminated first on another season.
- J.T. Thomas is the first returning winner to become a jury member, and the first returning Sole Survivor who was eliminated after the merge.