Well it’s all been building up to this! The 25 greatest Survivor contestants as voted by not only the Survivor Oz team as well as the Survivor guests on our show and of course you, the listeners! And as well as the people you would expect, there are a few that may surprise you!
25. Tina Wesson (Australian Outback & All-Stars) – 3 Votes
The first ever female winner in the history of Survivor, and one of 13 winners to make the top 25, Tina just scrapes in on only 3 votes. Coming in at only 17th on the greatest winner’s poll, she obviously has enough fans out there to rank her amongst the 25 greatest players the show has ever seen. Let’s be honest: Tina had nobody really dislike her at all during her season in the Australian Outback, and only went home in All-Stars first because she had won before. Had she perhaps been on Heroes vs Villains instead of All-Stars, then who knows how far she could’ve gotten. Her alliance with Colby has to go down as one of the strongest in the history of the show, and considering she made the top 25 over her final 2 partner in season 2 says a lot about the level of respect she has in the game.
24. Stephenie LaGrossa (Palau, Guatemala & Heroes vs Villains) – 3 Votes
Stephenie once again cracks the top 25 and is one of only a few who has appeared on 3 polls that she could possibly appear on during our results reveal. Whether or not she has fans now is irrelevant, what is relevant is the fact in the three games she has played, she has generally always made somewhat of an impact. Be it lasting longer than anyone else from her dreaded Ulong tribe in Palau, finishing runner-up and vastly changing the opinions of most people in Guatemala to dislocating her shoulder and fighting hard to stay in the game despite being pushed out very early on in Heroes vs Villains. One of the toughest female competitors in the game’s history.
23. Rudy Boesch (Borneo & All-Stars) – 3 Votes
One of three people on this list who couldn’t even crack the top 25 greatest players never to have won, yet somehow end up on the list of greatest ever players, Rudy Boesch will always be remembered as the oldest player ever to have played the game and it’s a record that we are sure will never be topped. And he didn’t just play once, he played twice! Making him even older the second time around. An early target in Borneo, he survived again and again after his bond (not a gay one, remember) with Richard solidified and being part of the first ever alliance in Survivor history helped him get all the way to third. And he was only moments away from potentially making it to the final tribal council and walking away a millionaire. His time on All-Stars obviously wasn’t as successful, but he’ll go down as one of the most memorable contestants in the history of the game.
22. Mike Skupin (Australian Outback) – 3 Votes
Another person not to make our top 25 greatest non-winners list yet the top 25 greatest players of all time, Mike Skupin goes down in Survivor folklore as the first person ever to be evacuated from the game due to injury after his horrific incident falling in the fire in Australia. Before that, he was in a pretty handy position on his Kucha tribe. They held a slight advantage over Ogakor and despite him rubbing a few people the wrong way, had tight alliances that no doubt would’ve seen him go far and potentially rob the viewers of an even more epic ending to the one we saw. Mike has always been on the radar of CBS for a return, and despite numerous failed attempts to get him back on for a 2nd chance, the planets have finally aligned and we’re about to see him come back for the 25th season in the Philippines. How will Mike go in a game that has adapted so much over 11 years? We’re about to find out.
21. Jerri Manthey (Australian Outback, All-Stars & Heroes vs Villains) – 3 Votes
Another contestant who has made all 3 polls she had the potential to make, Jerri Manthey just missed out on the top 20 greatest players of all time. Considered a ‘bitch’ the first time around, she came back for a second go and didn’t really have a great time either and we potentially saw the end of Jerri and her Survivor career. But a third time around in Heroes vs Villains was a revelation for Jerri, as she became a crucial vote in pretty much every tribal council and came so agonisingly close to an appearance at the final tribal council by going out in 4th place. Outside the game she has become one of the most recognisable faces from the game, and holds a deserving spot on the all time greatest list!
20. Elisabeth Filarski/Hasselbeck (Australian Outback) – 3 Votes
Well 6 people into our poll, and 4 of them made up from the second season in the Australian Outback. Elisbabeth cracks the top 20 based on a large following from her fellow Survivor contestants. And let’s not overlook her game either. Finishing 4th on the longest season in the history of the show, any other season would’ve seen her make the final tribal council based on days spent in the game. She was the last remaining Kucha member and not a single person had anything against her, which would’ve seen her walk away with $1 million had she faced the jury. Post Survivor though there is no doubting she is the most successful contestant from the history of the show, with her co-hosting role on The View shooting her into our lounge rooms on a daily basis. And she isn’t that bad to look at either!
19. Earl Cole (Fiji) – 4 Votes
We labelled him as an ‘underrated winner’ on our winners rankings, but obviously enough people think highly of him to put him in the top 20 greatest players of all time. A man who knew what he wanted from the start, Earl was always destined to make it to the end, and having a certain deal happen between Yau-Man and Dreamz helped him on his quest to become the first winner to get every vote from the jury. A fact that, let’s be honest, is often overlooked when these rankings come about. The first African American male winner too, Earl may be overlooked as a winner sometimes but certainly deserves a spot amongst the all time greats!
18. Benjamin ‘Coach’ Wade (Tocantins, Heroes vs Villains & South Pacific) – 4 Votes
Wow, Coach makes 18th ahead of 2 winners. That’s sure to cause some debate! We’ve read the reactions so far to him making the 25 greatest non-winners and even making the sexiest male list (we didn’t vote him in there guys) but how about the 18th greatest player in the history of the show? Well you know what we have had to say about him in the past, and a lot of his fellow Survivor alumni helped get him on this list so the respect definitely is there. And had things been a little different, then maybe he would’ve walked away a millionaire from his time in the South Pacific. Whatever it is, he cracks the top 20.
17. Chris Daugherty (Vanuatu) – 4 Votes
8th in our winners list, Chris can only manage 17th on the greatest players of all time list. Still, it is a top 20 result and fairly respectable given he is often very underrated for his win. There is no denying that Chris didn’t exactly play ‘clean’ during his time in Vanuatu, but there is also no denying that his game was something of brilliance and survival. A post merge causality it seemed, Chris worked every angle he could to walk away as a millionaire. Still a shock he has never received even a phone call asking if he wants to play again, we are not the only ones who hope to see him on our screens again in a future season of Survivor.
16. Amanda Kimmel (China, Micronesia & Heroes vs Villains) – 6 Votes
Another ‘three peat’ member of our results, Amanda just missed out on a top 15 place by one vote. One of the longest serving players in terms of days played, Amanda is often panned for her final tribal council performances and other strategic moves. But according to at least 6 of you, she is deserving of a spot on the greatest Survivor of all time list. Remember her beauty also speaks volume for her too, and who knows, had she been able to see her performance on China she might’ve put in a better effort in Micronesia. We say give her more popcorn and hidden idol clues to fight over with Danielle though for entertainment value!
15. Rupert Boneham (Pearl Islands, All-Stars & Heroes vs Villains) – 7 Votes
Is it that roar that gets him on this list? Or the bear? Or the tie die shirts? No matter what it is, Rupert does enough to crack the top 15 greatest players of all time. Sure, this may not sit well with some of you, but 7 people like him enough to put him on this list. And had we had this poll 8 years ago then he’d probably rank even higher than 15th on the poll, as at his peak he was pretty much the most popular contestant this game has ever seen. Now he is trying to be popular enough to be elected in Indianapolis as Governor, and if he doesn’t succeed, we may once again get to see him return for a 4th shot at glory.
14. Ethan Zohn (Africa & All-Stars) – 7 Votes
12th greatest winner according to our winner’s poll, Ethan makes the top 14 on the all time greatest list. Another ‘three peat’ contestant in our results, Ethan is a two time player who we don’t doubt has the opportunity to make it far should he ever return for a third shot. His win in Africa has always remained popular, and his never give up attitude on All-Stars saw him being the longest lasting winner when his fellow winners kept falling around him. Outside the game he is incredible, beating cancer and doing more for charity than most other contestants in the history of the show. Highly respected amongst his fellow Survivor contestants and one of the nicest guys you will ever come across.
13. Rob Cesternino (Amazon & All-Stars) – 10 Votes
Rob dominated the greatest non-winners poll but can’t manage to crack the top 10 greatest players of all time list. Still, he beat 4 winners and fell just behind 3 others, so it’s not the worst result for the hugely popular Amazon contestant. His game in Amazon is still talked about to this day, and had he been put on a tribe in All-Stars that either had a winner on it or people who weren’t sneaking off into the bushes to ‘form an alliance’, he might’ve gone a whole lot further than he did. The best thing though for Cesternino fans is that they can hear him whenever they want too from his insanely popular podcast show. We don’t doubt he’ll be pushing the top 10 next year as the backlash from his fanboys about this result hangs around for 12 months!
12. Tom Westman (Palau & Heroes vs Villains) – 11 Votes
Tom was 10th on the greatest winner’s poll and 12th here, so a fairly rounded result. He is highly respected amongst Survivor contestants and never looked likely to play for a 2nd time until the opportunity came for him in Heroes vs Villains. It’s hard to ever hear bad words against the New York fireman who now sells insurance, but for 11 of you he did enough to make our greatest players list. We just wonder if this result will mean he’ll now go out and celebrate by killing some sharks.
11. Todd Herzog (China) – 11 Votes
Well this could potentially be the biggest shock of this list. Todd not making the top 10? Just wow. 5th in the greatest winner poll, he falls behind 3 winners who were ranked below him in that list, as well as 3 people who haven’t even won! What is it about Todd that perhaps sees him be overlooked as an all-time great? Is it the fact he has only played once? Or the fact that some others from his season get more attention than he ever did? We recommend you go back and watch China and see his game for what it was, and his final tribal council alone should be enough for him to land a top 10 placing. Certainly a big shock on this poll.
10. Yul Kwon (Cook Islands) – 12 Votes
9th on the winners list, 10th on the greatest players list sees the popular Mr.Kwon stay around about the same spot as you may expect. Whether or not he is perceived as ‘boring’ by some should not take away from his victory, and another one of these players that perhaps had we seen play more than once could be higher. The biggest selling point for Yul has to be the fact he beat Ozzy in a final tribal council, and given the respect that Ozzy gets despite playing and failing three times, has to be held up in high regard. Can Yul finish higher in 2013? Watch this space.
9. Cirie Fields (Panama, Micronesia & Heroes vs Villains) – 18 Votes
One of three non-winners to crack the top 10 in the greatest player’s poll, Cirie beat 7 winners to finish in 9th place. A very decent effort and it shows the amount of respect for a player who has never even faced the final jury in any of her three times she has played. In fact, she is one of only 6 players in the top 25 to hold that ‘honour’ and the highest ranked of all of them. Surely a millionaire had Micronesia turned out the way she was expecting, Cirie has not only respect amongst our listeners but also amongst her fellow Survivor contestants as well. She even managed to beat the only person who beat her in the greatest non-winners poll in Rob C too. Pretty amazing effort all round.
8. Brian Heidik (Thailand) – 32 Votes
Once again Brian can’t come close enough to the top 5 to even have a sniff of finishing in there, but considering he won what is considered one of the worst seasons of all time, and that season happened nearly a decade ago, it is a decent effort from everybody’s favourite porn star cum used car dealer. Puppies and arrows aside, Brian still played nearly a flawless game and is one of the most intriguing people to have played the game. Sounds impossible that we’ll ever see him play again doesn’t it? Well stranger things have happened, and hopefully one day we’ll see him work his brilliant magic on our screens once again.
7. Russell Hantz (Samoa, Heroes vs Villains & Redemption Island) – 46 Votes
If we were to separate the winners from non-winners on this poll, then Russell would improve from finishing third on our greatest non-winners list to second on this list. In fact he beat the two people who beat him on that poll in Cirie and Rob C on this list as well, so that’s an improvement for Russell. However, it isn’t enough to see him crack the top 5, although he does only miss out on it by 5 votes. Loved and hated, Russell will always be talked about in the Survivor world no matter what, and even amongst his fellow Survivor contestants he gets just as much love and hate as he does from the fans. The negative comments said against him on our non-winners list were pretty much the biggest talking point when it came to that result, and we’re sure that they’ll come again (given also he is ranked higher than Rob C and Yul), but a three time player who has sat in the final tribal council twice has the statisticians nodding their head when it comes to this placement.
6. Richard Hatch (Borneo & All-Stars) – 49 Votes
Well if Todd was a surprise in 11th, how about Richard Hatch in 6th?! Not even a top 5 placing for Mr.Hatch, we are now terrified at even pressing the publish button on this article given Richard will more than likely hunt us down quicker than he would’ve for being placed 2nd on the winners list. The respect level amongst his Survivor contestants was massive, and that helped propel him up the list as he rightfully should be. But given he missed out on the top 5 by only 2 votes will not impress some of you. Maybe next year we’ll see the great Richard Hatch take out a spot there that he rightfully deserves. Just don’t tell him ok? Well, if you do, maybe mention he at least beat Russell.
5. Oscar ‘Ozzy’ Lusth (Cook Islands, Micronesia & South Pacific) – 51 Votes
Ozzy could only manage 4th on the greatest non-winners list and finishes 5th on the greatest of all time list, but the fact he can take out of it is that he is the highest places non-winner, an incredible feat. He beats 9 other winners to take a top 5 spot, including the great Richard Hatch and the guy who beat him in the Cook Islands, Yul. Something that will look good on his CV we are sure, the respect Ozzy gets amongst his fellow contestants is massive, and he also gets a bit of it from his fans as well. He has to be happy with a ‘three peat’ of list placing’s as well, and we’ll await to see what hairstyle he has to celebrate this result when he finds out!
4. Kim Spradlin (One World) – 54 Votes
She may have been listed as the greatest winner of all time in our poll yesterday, but Kim can only manage 4th in the greatest players of all time list behind 3 people she beat in the poll we just mentioned. Still, from a player we hadn’t heard of a year ago it’s an amazing feat to finish 4th amongst 371 players of the game and one that we know Kim will be immensely proud of. Some people claim her ‘edit’ helped propel her into a high spot on these lists, but surely that can be the case with every single contestant right? We only ever get to see an ‘edit’ of a winner, we never get to see the full story. If that’s the case maybe people like Richard Hatch, Boston Rob and even Parvati are only as good as their ‘edit’ paints them to be? It’s a ridiculous excuse to label on a person’s win, and given each of her fellow castaways on the season she played on will defend her win as one of the best, also speaks volumes for he victory. A deserving top 5 spot.
3. Parvati Shallow (Cook Islands, Micronesia & Heroes vs Villains) – 64 Votes
The hottest ever female completes the three peat for herself too and also completes a top 4 finish on every poll she has featured on during the last 6 days! So close to being a two-time winner, Parvati is so loved amongst Survivor fans that maybe her missing out on a top 2 is the biggest surprise here. But a top 3 to go along with her 1st on the sexiest women and 4th on the greatest winners is an amazing achievement, and gives her the highest average out of all our poll results. Her fellow Survivor contestants love her (some maybe a little bit too much) as do you, and with 64 votes she finishes 10 votes clear of 4th. But having said that, she is over 30 behind second place more than double off first place. That shouldn’t take away though from a great result for Parvati!
2. Rob Mariano (Marquesas, All-Stars, Heroes vs Villains & Redemption Island) – 97 Votes
The only 4 time player in the history of the show, Boston Rob is a player that everyone has an opinion on. Easily one of the all-time greats, Boston Rob’s game will see him either make it to the end or go out before the jury, never anywhere in between. Perhaps lucky to be even considered for All-Stars, Rob did enough a second time around to be considered a great player, and on his third time around looked likely to be heading in the same direction before being blindsided by Russell and his gang. Just like All-Stars, he was potentially lucky to be asked back for a 4th time, but he soon walked away a winner finally and joined his wife as a millionaire. One win out of 4 only gives him a 25% strike rate however, but for 97 votes, Rob takes a silver medal when it comes to the greatest players of all time.
1. Sandra Diaz-Twine (Pearl Islands & Heroes vs Villains) – 137 Votes
There was outrage that ‘the queen’ didn’t take out the ultimate prize on our winners list but we are here to say that all that has been put to rest, as Sandra takes out the most coveted prize of all: the greatest player in the history of Survivor! 137 votes spread across from our listeners to our Survivor guests, Sandra taking out this title was never in doubt. Look at the statistics folks! 2 times, 2 wins. You can’t even argue that puts her as the greatest because statistics don’t lie! One of the best things too about Sandra is that she isn’t afraid to come back for a third time and go for 3 from 3, which just goes to show the level of confidence she has in the Survivor world. Even if she was to return and go home first, her average would still be better than every winner who has played more than once, and who is to say she wouldn’t go far again? We applaud Sandra for taking out this award, and we’re sure that she is dancing around and wearing her crown in honour of it!
Well that’s it! A big thank you to every single one of the 551 of you who voted in the poll and helped contribute to the results! Do you agree with the final results? Do you think there are some that are just ridiculous? Let us know! Email us, comment to this post or send a carrier pigeon our way! The poll will return in 12 months time to see how much will change with the addition of 2 new seasons!