|The first Sole Survivor, Richard Hatch.|
|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, determined by a plurality of votes from the jury, who decides which of the finalists best embodies the show's three word slogan: "Outwit, Outplay, Outlast."
Though there is no one absolute strategy of winning the title, as it is subjective, but to be a Sole Survivor, a contestant must survive all 39 days of competition (42 in The Australian Outback, 39.5 in Blood vs. Water and San Juan del Sur) and gain the respect of most recently eliminated contestants, a group known as the jury.
At the Final Tribal Council, the finalists are to be subjected to the jury, who would either ask questions or make a statement to help them come up with a decision as to which of the finalists is most deserving of the title of Sole Survivor and the one million dollar prize.
All Sole Survivors are known to embody the show's three-word premise:
- Outwit: The strategic element; the ability to eliminate competition whether directly or indirectly, knowing what moves to make, not to make, and the timing of doing such moves. The fulfillment of this element is commonly attributed by making alliances.
- Outplay: The social element; it is how a contestant carries out the "outwit" element, eliminating competition but keeping their respect such that they still give their jury votes in the end. As such, it is the job of the finalist to still sway the jury to his favor.
- Outlast: The physical element; the ability to withstand the harsh realities of being a contestant for 39 days, such as harsh weather, tests of willpower, and in a certain extent, challenges. The fulfillment of this element is making it to the Final Tribal Council and facing the jury.
It should be noted that in the game of Survivor respect does not always translate into likability. In any case, a Sole Survivor has one way or another, fulfilled all three elements of "Outwit, Outplay, Outlast". In Survivor: One World, the principle "perception is not always reality" is introduced by eventual winner Kim Spradlin, 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.
The finalists succumb to certain pitfalls such as poor work ethic, bad challenge performances, coming off as abrasive to fellow competitors, and lack of self-awareness. As such, it is the job of the finalist to still sway the jury to their favor.
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.
|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|
|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|
|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, 11d||40y, 11m, 1d||January 4, 1964|
|Denise Stapley||Philippines||41y, 4m, 12d||41y, 3m, 25d||January 1, 1971|
|Bob Crowley||Gabon||57y, 9m, 20d||57y, 5m, 7d||February 25, 1951|
- 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.
- Earl Cole is the first Sole Survivor to garner all jury votes. J.T. Thomas would also later repeat this feat, but he gained 7 votes as his season featured a Final Two instead of a Final Three. John Cochran was the next Sole Survivor to accomplish this feat when he gained all 8 jury votes on Survivor: Caramoan. The latest Sole Survivor to accomplish this feat is Jeremy Collins who gained all 10 jury votes on Survivor: Cambodia. He also holds the record for the most jury votes received, with 10.
- With Jeremy Collins's unanimous win in Cambodia, all jury configurations (7-person, 8-person, 9-person, and 10-person juries) have unanimously voted for a Sole Survivor 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". However, he didn't win the Fan Favorite Award.
- 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 that award.
- So far, 18 men and 13 women have become Sole Survivors, with one woman winning twice.
- In terms of seasons, 18 have been won by men while 14 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 Zohn, Chris Daugherty, and Aras Baskauskas).
- 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.
- In seasons with a Final Three and a 9-person jury, only men have won in a 5-4-0 vote (Yul Kwon and Fabio Birza), only women have won in a 6-3-0 vote (Sandra Diaz-Twine and Sophie Clarke), and only women have won in a 7-2-0 vote (Natalie White and Kim Spradlin).
- Richard Hatch is the only Sole Survivor to be revealed on location rather than on the Reunion Show.
- Natalie White and Kim Spradlin are tied for the most jury votes received by any female winner, with 7. Coincidentally, the votes on both occasions were 7-2-0.
- Bob Crowley is the oldest Sole Survivor, while Fabio Birza is the youngest by age at the time crowned. However, Michele Fitzgerald is the youngest by birth date.
- Bob Crowley is the oldest overall winner, being 57 at the time of his win.
- Denise Stapley is the oldest female winner, being 41 at the time of her win.
- However, Tina Wesson and Vecepia Towery are older than Denise by birth date.
- Denise Stapley is currently the only Sole Survivor to attend every Tribal Council in a single season.
- Michele Fitzgerald is the only Sole Survivor to never attend a pre-merge Tribal Council.
- Yul Kwon and Kim Spradlin are the only winners to have found the Hidden Immunity Idol and keep it until Day 39.
- 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 a jury vote.
- She was followed by Sophie Clarke and Denise Stapley.
- Coincidentally, only women have accomplished this feat.
- To date, none of them have played a second time.
- Tom Westman and Mike Holloway are tied with the most individual immunity wins out of any winner, with 5.
- Jenna Morasca and Kim Spradlin are tied with the most individual immunity wins out of all the female winners, with 4.
- 8 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.
- J.T. 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 (in both Pearl Islands and 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 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 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 their first attempt.
- She is also the only Sole Survivor to be eliminated first on another season.
- 7 winners have won the game as returnees: Amber Brkich, Parvati Shallow, Sandra Diaz-Twine, Rob Mariano, John Cochran, Tyson Apostol, and Jeremy Collins.
- 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.
- 12 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, J.T., Rob, Cochran, Tyson, and Jeremy.
- With Natalie Anderson's win, she and Natalie White are the first two Sole Survivors to share a name.
- In both Fans vs. Favorites seasons, favorites won.
- In both Blood vs. Water seasons, winners won in their third attempt on reality shows. Tyson competed in Survivor thrice, while Natalie participated in The Amazing Race two times before winning on her first try on Survivor.
- Mike Holloway and Jeremy Collins are the only Sole Survivors to use a Hidden Immunity Idol to negate a majority of votes cast against them.