Survivor Oz Top 10-Top 10 Biggest Individual Challenge Threats

Top10 Template(1)

Survivor Oz Top Ten is back for another week, with today’s entry coming from Ozlet Alex Koch. In every season of Survivor, we see contestants who dominate the game strategically or socially, but what about those who dominate the game physically? Below, Alex has listed ten of the top individual challenge threats in Survivor history; those who have secured victory in individual challenges on a number of occasions, and sometimes over multiple seasons. This challenge dominance has helped many Survivors get further in the game, and is often used as an argument to earn Jury votes at the very end. Do you agree with today’s list? Is there anyone else you can think of that deserves recognition? Read on and let us know your thoughts!

Take a walk down memory lane with me for a bit if you will. We all remember Cook Islands. What a good season that was right? You had the ultimate battle of ‘Brain vs. Brawn’. Yul was about to front the impossible comeback: down four tribe members to eight to claim the million dollar prize. While Yul was about to talk his way to the finals, it was his counterpart, Ozzy, that managed to secure all of the victories for his tiny tribe to make it to the Final Four. Yul eventually got the better of Ozzy in the memorable Final Tribal Council, perhaps proving that brain is always better than brawn.

Today, we will be looking at the brawn portion of Survivor, specifically tailored to those challenge beasts that have always found a way to win individual challenges. Now keep in mind that I am only looking at those people who have won a number of individual challenges, not team challenges. James Clement might be considered one of the all time greats when it comes to challenge threats, yet he didn’t win a single individual challenge. You may be a star, but if you can’t take home the victory when it matters, it’s all for not.

So here you go, the Top Ten Biggest Individual Challenge Threats!

10. John Cochran – South Pacific & Caramoan


Okay I admit it, this first pick might be a tad bit gimmicky, but let’s take a look at the challenges he won and see if it really was worth the spot on this list. He won four individual challenges in Caramoan, three of which were Immunity. His first win came in the form of a heads up eating duel with Malcolm Freberg, who many consider a dominant challenge threat. He then went on to outlast Eddie Fox in a challenge of strength. Sure, Cochran might have had that one knot advantage, but even with all of his fireman muscles bulging out, Cochran still got the best of him. The last two challenges he won came at crucial moments, being the last two challenges. He won all types of challenges, and certainly deserves a spot on the list.

9. Fabio Birza – Nicaragua


Fabio has shown all aspects of his Survivor challenge dominance in all four of his Immunity Idol wins. The first challenge he won showed how strong he was in terms of upper body strength. He then displayed his focus and memorization skills in a blindfolded challenge. He also had a come from behind puzzle challenge to prove that he can solve puzzles as well. He then won the Final Immunity Challenge to earn a spot at the Final Tribal Council, as well as a spot on this list.

8. Bob Crowley – Gabon


In the seventeenth season of Survivor, there were only eight challenges after the Merge. Bob won five of those challenges in style. After not winning either of the first two challenges, Bob was sent to Exile Island, where presumably he would be weaker for challenges. This did not affect him at all, however, as he went on to win five challenges in a row, only to fall short to Susie in the Final Immunity Challenge in a card stacking competition. Granted, two of those five wins were based off throwing something, but hey, he still was able to show us endurance in a classic Survivor style maze!

7. Kim Spradlin – One World


Another all around challenge threat, Kim comes in as the highest and only female on this list. She is another player to win every type of Individual Immunity Challenge. From throwing rings, to concentrating on having a steady hand, and from holding on with upper body strength, to staying in tune with the rest of her tribe. She easily claimed victory in the challenges she won, and it was a surprise she didn’t win more. If she ever returns to play another season, she will most certainly be a target going into a Merge situation, as you don’t want this double threat winning Immunity countless times.

6. Erik Reichenbach – Micronesia & Caramoan


This scrawny ice cream scooper proved to everyone in Micronesia that it wasn’t Ozzy, it wasn’t James, and it wasn’t Jason that deserved the attention of the Black Widow Brigade, but rather Erik. While many remember him for his dumb move that might have cost him the game, he still won a good amount of challenges, taking home four individual wins in the first Fans Vs. Favorites, and one in the second Fans Vs. Favorites. His first Immunity was a clutch performance that caused the blindside of James. After that, he won three of the next four challenges, only to have it all for not when he gave up his Immunity necklace. If it weren’t for that, he very well could have been sitting in that Final Tribal Council.

5. Tom Westman – Palau & Heroes Vs. Villains


We now move on to the more obvious picks of this list. The top five listed here were pretty much auto picks. Who better to kick off this half of the list than Tom Westman. Paying respects to the sixth season, Tom’s first win came in one of those classic “see who can stand there longer” challenges, in which he outlasted all of Jeff’s temptations. He did the same in the very next Immunity Challenge. His battle with Ian was very real, and it came down to a class, eleven-hour marathon challenge that every Survivor fan remembers as one of the greats. Tom was an easy inclusion on this list for that reason alone.

4. Colby Donaldson – The Australian Outback, All-Stars & Heroes Vs. Villains


Colby was the original Survivor threat. He won five Immunity Challenges in a row to close out the game and earn himself a spot in the Final Tribal Council. If Ozzy was the brawn to Yul’s brain, then Colby was the brawn to Richard Hatch’s brain. We got to see both styles of play make it to the finals in the first two seasons, but once again with the brawn falling short. Colby didn’t make much of a challenge splash during his returning seasons, but he still will forever go down as one of the greats.

3. Ozzy Lusth – Cook Islands, Micronesia & South Pacific


Ah, at last, we finally get to a guy that I have mentioned multiple times in this article! Ozzy can beat you at any challenge period. He was a big reason why his little group of four made it so far in the Cook Islands. This massive threat gave his tribe the confidence to pull off a very unique move in South Pacific that probably could not have been done with any other player. While he failed to take home an individual challenge in Micronesia, he wore the necklace five times in Cook Islands, and twice in South Pacific. His main strong suit is easily swimming and agility challenges, in which nobody else in the Survivor world even comes close to challenging. It is odd to not think of him as the number one challenge threat, but when you look at the next two guys, you can see why the top three players are all people you don’t want to go up against.

2. Terry Deitz – Panama


What’s better than the One World girls vs. Troyzan? Tom vs. Ian? What’s better than Tom vs. Ian? Terry Deitz vs. Aras Baskauskas. This man took the idea of winning to get to the end and really put it to good use. Sure he didn’t win in the end, but think about it, this dude had a Hidden Immunity, but played like he didn’t have one. Aras is probably one of the most athletic winners ever, and will definitely be a force to be reckoned with when the Merge comes in this season of Blood Vs. Water. If only the final challenge in Panama was more suited to Terry, he might have walked away with the million. If this game ever decides to bring Terry back, there is no way anyone would take him to the Merge.

1. Rob Mariano – Marquesas, All-Stars, Heroes Vs. Villains & Redemption Island

Survivor: Redemption Island

Was there really any question? Boston Rob is one of the fastest, strongest and most agile people to ever play Survivor. Add a mind for puzzles on top of that and enough strategy to make it to the finals twice, you really have someone that is a lock to get at least a handful of individual Immunities before the season is up. He has won all sorts of challenges as well, in multiple eras of Survivor, which only adds to his versatility as a challenge threat. This choice was an easy lock for number one, and part of the reason that I decided to write this list.


What do you think of the top 10? Do you agree? Disagree? Is it in the wrong order or are there ones that didn’t make the top 10 that you feel should’ve? Leave a comment below to let us know your thoughts!

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50 Comments on Survivor Oz Top 10-Top 10 Biggest Individual Challenge Threats

  1. Yeah, you lost me with Cochran.

  2. Try again.

    So far Ben Powell and the guy who made the “top 10 classic elements that need to come back” have so far been the best top tens.

    Boston Rob would have been a solid #10 for this list. Definitely not #1. Some of the reasoning there was “he made it to final two twice”. What does that have to do with challenge success? That’d be like saying Sandra is a challenge threat because she made it to the finals twice.

    And why no Kelly Wiglesworth?

    • WHy no parv.. Amanda.. why no Tyson??? really biased list in my opinion..

      • In all fairness to this, all lists technically could be considered ‘biased’ as all are written by individual authors and every person who works on this site would have different opinions that would make this list different. All our Ozlets have respective opinions that are treated with the utmost respect and knowingly write lists for this site that are done so in a balanced and fair manner as much as they could be. There are only 10 spots on all of these lists, and there have been 442 contestants in the history of the show with hundreds of duos. This list is a representation of 10 of them, it’s impossible to fit everyone on and make everyone happy with them. Saying it’s ‘bias’ is a ridiculous statement. Please take this for what it is without reading too much into it 🙂

  3. Very stupid top 10. This was clearly a list compiled of their favorite players.

  4. Jenna, Kelly and even Parvati should take Cochran place… he won 3 and a half easy challenges…

  5. Finally a pro Boston Rob post. He is clearly immense at all challenges, and leads them as well. Beat Tyson who beat JT in the rope challenge in HvV’s and won so many in RI.

    Parv needed to take Cochrans place tho.

  6. Darrah from Pearl Island deserves a spot at that list !

    • Totally agree! Also Kelly Wigglesworth popped into my head first when I read what the topic. And seriously, how do you compile this list and not have Ozzy as number 1?!

  7. This list is like… Really bad.

  8. I really feel this list missed a lot of stronger girls who should be acknowledged.

    The primary one has to be Kelly W – how can you have a list that doesn’t include the original challenge threat? She won 5 challenges in a row and all saved her from going home…

    Also Jenna, Parvati – both could be there considering they have won multiple challenges in a row and Parvati especially has been dominant in several different aspects….

    I’d also argue, if Ozzy is there, shouldn’t perhaps Sophie from SP be considered as she was the one who finally took down Ozzy in SP – she also won both mental and physical competitions throughout the season.

    Overall, I understand some of the placements, but it seems very skewed towards some men who really shouldn’t be there – Cochran in particular won an eating challenge, a card stacking challenge and two with advantages, so in no way warrants being there for me.

    • Totally agree with this!

    • I definitely agree with you. Kelly won 5. Darrah in PI won 3 in a row against Burton and Parvati has won tons of different types of challenges.

    • I don’t get why Kim is the only woman on this list either. Kelly, Kathy, Jenna, Darrah, Parvati, Amanda, Peih Gei, Brenda, Sophie? All were major threats. In regards to men who perhaps should have made the list…Lex, Brian, Matthew, Rafe, maybe Burton, Chris, or Brett…

  9. Very disappointed by this Top 10.
    Cochran being on it is a joke.
    Because he is the worst winner ever and because he won his season only because of an immunity-run, Fabio should be higher on this list.
    Ozzy should definitely be number 1, he has been a threat on both Cook Islands and South Pacific, and has been both an immunity and a duel threat.
    Rob Mariano is a good challenge competitor, but definitely not a top 10 immunity threat in the history of Survivor, so seeing him being number 1 is a big surprise.

    Where are Kelly Wigglesworth, Brian Heidik, Jenna Morasca, J.T. Thomas, Brett Clouser?

  10. If Burton is left off this list, I will FALL OUT!


  11. If Kim won multiple varying challenges, why isn’t jenna on the list when she did same. Cochran not desrving of his position on this list. Colby should be like 9, cuz he sucked recently. Also, Terry isn’t that great. I would put him at 7.

    No Kelly, Brian Heidik, Jenna, Darrah, Parv, Ashley Underwood, Rafe or Yau-Man????

  12. So glad that Kim is on it but Cochran does not deserve to be on the top all

  13. I loathe everything about Boston Rob but I have to agree with Alex here. I would have gone with Ozzy, Terry or Colby as bigger challenge threats but Boston Rob only got better in his subsequent seasons. I agree with other commenters who said Parvati deserved to be on this list instead of Cochran. I would also put Amanda Kimmel instead of Erik. Come on, SurvivorOz, show some more love for the ladies!

  14. Matthew from Amazon has to be on this list. He won 8 individual challenges !!!
    While Matt from RI needs to be here too – he won 10 consecutive duels.

  15. Everyone knows there are more than 10 challenge threats that ever played Survivor. No one can make a perfect list for this category. We’ll be forced to agree to disagree, but honestly I can see where this guy is coming from and I think it’s a pretty decent list. Alright so quit being butthurt. Make your own list if you want. You guys are acting like the typical 10 year olds who comment on YouTube videos about “Top 10 best Pokemon ever”.

    However my biggest piece of criticism is that James wasn’t blindsided because of Erik in Micronesia. James wasn’t even blindsided period. He was medevaced. 😛 just pointing that out haha

    • “Make your own list if you want”
      Well, here’s mine:

      10.Jenna Morasca
      9.Brian Heidik
      8.Bob Crowley
      7.Brett Clouser
      6.Kelly Wigglesworth
      5.Erik Reichenbach
      4.Fabio Birza
      3.Terry Deitz
      2.Colby Donaldson
      1.Ozzy Lusth

      • You can’t honestly believe that Jenna Morasca is better in challenges than Boston Rob, can you?

      • I don’t think she is necessarily better, but I think she was more of a threat on her season than Rob was on his seasons.

  16. Ok, I understand that this is your personal opinion and I do agree with most of it but I think that Ozzy should be at least number 2 because of his dominance in endurance challenges as seen in cook islands but even more in season 23 in the redemption island duels. I can’t see Rob beating Ozzy in an endurance challenge.

  17. Cochran seriously a threat? He is maybe good at immunity challenge but is not a threat, James who never won an immunity challenge is a bigger threat than Cochran, because people want to boot him because of that, and Ozzy is better at challenge than Mariano (see Cook Island)
    Where is Parv, JT, Amanda or Stephenie?

    • Jsjdifjdjeisiskzjssudidjsj // November 2, 2013 at 3:29 pm // Reply

      Stephenie gets too much credit, many other women have a superior individual challenge record to her. Including Cindy and Danni, who she played with.

  18. Sonika Ritter // November 8, 2013 at 4:32 am // Reply


    Just have a few questions about ur top 10 challenge threats.

    Where is Parvati in this? She is a massive challenge threat and has proved it over and over again.

    Amanda Kimmel challenge threat as well.

    Maybe it is not just jeff probst with man crushes…mmmm something to think about.


    • Sonika it’s an opinion based piece from one of our Ozlets. Not every person has to believe that Parvati is a challenge threat and this is Alex’s top 10 he believes are challenge threats. I think assuming he is doing because he has ‘man crushes’ is outlandish and ridiculous

    • Jsjdifjdjeisiskzjssudidjsj // November 9, 2013 at 2:44 pm // Reply

      Agree Sonika, one woman being put on this list is BS.

  19. bahahah no parvati on the list? she won three individual immunities in an allstars season. how can you not have her on here, it’s criminal.

  20. I know this is late but, this might help settle the argument
    Though i do agree that since this is an opinion piece all answers can technically be correct.

  21. No love for Tyson Apostol?

  22. How on earth is PARVATI NOT ON this list, and COCHRAN IS??? Makes the whole list a farce!!!

  23. No. Cochran definitely should not be on this list. I think Ozzy is #1. The only reason Ozzy did not win more individual immunity challenges is that he did not have more chances to compete in the challenges in his returning 2 seasons.

  24. Where was Parvati?!?

  25. I think that this list was all right. Definitely not the top 10 it’s cracked up to be, but all these players (except maybe Cochran whose wins were all kind of flukes) were great at challenges. It is nice to see Boston Rob recognized for the challenge beast he is (rewatch HvV, All Stars, and RI and you’ll see that he won a lot of challenges. Marquesas he was great at challenges just didn’t get far enough to show it.) And I know that this was made a few years ago but a more modern list might include Mike, or Joe, or even potentially Woo. Dietz was brought back and he was guaranteed a spot in the merge however he had to go home cuz his son needed a heart transplant.

  26. No question about it, Ozzy should be number 1. He didn’t have time to compete in many challenges in his second season and although he didn’t win any individual immunity challenges in his third season he destroyed his comitition on redemption island, enough to make it back into the game 2 times, this list is bogus, Cochran shouldn’t be on it, neither should Erik, and Ozzy should be number 1.

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