With 20 former champs competing in “Survivor: Winners at War”, fans knew that it was going to be a huge battle.
Last night’s season finale didn’t disappoint, with Tony Vlachos beating out Natalie Anderson and Michele Fitzgerald with a 12-4-0 jury vote.
While catching up with ET Canada’s Sangita Patel, the New Jersey police officer reflects on nabbing the title of Sole Survivor for the historic 40th season.
“I haven’t absorbed it yet, but last night it was amazing to be sitting in my living room with my family on my sofa in the comfort of my own home, watching Jeff talk to us from his garage, pulling out the votes. It was just…it’s definitely going to go down in the history books for sure,” he shares.
While there’s always been a “queen” of “Survivor”, with Sandra Diaz-Twine winning twice, Vlachos can now join the exclusive two-time winner club as the “king”.
“When I do go out there, it’s like a job. You know, whether I like it or not, I give it my best. I always go into the game without the thoughts of resumes, resume building, making moves, I just go there and play the hardest that I can play, give it my all,” the 46-year-old says.
“I won immunities, I was patient when I needed to be. I struck when I needed to strike, my timing was perfect. The social game was on point, the strategic game was on point. I made fire, I found idols. I don’t think I could’ve done anything better.”
Of course, the season finale included the highly anticipated Battle Back Challenge, in which the 14 previously voted-off winners competed against each other for a shot at getting back in the game.
But, after Anderson’s win, Vlachos shares that he was never really impressed with the Edge of Extinction twist.
“I have nothing against Natalie, everything that I’m going to say is against the twist of the Edge,” Vlachos says. “I believe if you come back into the game, it’s your job to either create a crack or find a crack in the alliance and get yourself through. Don’t come back with protection.
“You’ve seen what happened. I mean, we were talking, ‘There’s no way that she can come back with an idol five days left in the game, that’s just not right.’ But guess what, it doesn’t have to be right, it doesn’t have to be fair, it’s ‘Survivor’.”
However, in the end, Vlachos says it was “an honour” to play against all of the “Survivor” greats.
“I’m watching the show and I’m watching how people are not being portrayed as strategic or real powerful but they’re all winners. They all crushed their season,” he shares.
“You wouldn’t play season 40 unless you destroyed your season and won your season. No matter what you saw on TV, there was so much behind it you didn’t see. I did play a good game, but so did everybody else.”
Check out our full interview with the “Survivor: Winners at War” champ above.