Sole Survivor
Richard hatch 450
Survivor Gameplay
Description: The person who has earned the highest number of votes from the jury.
Appearances: Every season

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 questioning 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

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
Survivor: San Juan del Sur S29 natalie t Natalie Anderson S29 jaclyn t Jaclyn Schultz 5-2-1
S29 missy t Missy Payne
Survivor: Worlds Apart S30 mike t Mike Holloway S30 carolyn t Carolyn Rivera 6-1-1
S30 will t Will Sims II
Survivor: Cambodia S31 jeremy t Jeremy Collins S31 spencer t Spencer Bledsoe 10-0-0
S31 tasha t Tasha Fox
Survivor: Kaôh Rōng S32 michele t Michele Fitzgerald S32 aubry t Aubry Bracco 5-2-0
S32 tai t Tai Trang
Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X S33 adam t Adam Klein S33 hannah t Hannah Shapiro 10-0-0
S33 ken t Ken McNickle
Survivor: Game Changers S34 sarah t Sarah Lacina S34 brad t Brad Culpepper 7-3-0
S34 troyzan t Troyzan Robertson
Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers S35 ben t Ben Driebergen S35 chrissy t Chrissy Hofbeck 5-2-1
S35 ryan t Ryan Ulrich
Survivor: Ghost Island - Current Season - - -

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.



Winning and Perfect Games

Tribal Council

  • All jury configurations (7-person, 8-person, 9-person, and 10-person juries) have unanimously voted for a Sole Survivor to win.
  • All 5-2 jury votes in Final Two seasons have involved a man defeating a woman: 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.
    • 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.
  • Ben Driebergen has the most votes cast against any winner in a single season, with 11. This includes 9 votes that were negated by Hidden Immunity Idols.
    • 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

Challenge Wins

Returning Winners

See also