*Caution: Spoilers for Survivor season 44 ahead!*
Survivor crowned its newest winner on Wednesday, marking the conclusion of the show’s wild and exciting 44th season.
Of the 18 castaways who began competition in March, only five remained ahead of this week’s finale episode: Heidi Lagares-Greenblatt, Carson Garrett, Yamil “Yam Yam” Arocho, Lauren Harpe and Carolyn Wiger.
The three-hour conclusion covered the group’s final three days of competition, as the field was whittled down until the jury voted for the “sole survivor.” After all the votes were cast, Yam Yam wound up walking away with the well-earned win.
After an impressive season of strategic gameplay, some of the best social gameplay in recent memory, and an impressive display to the jury, the 36-year-old salon owner from San Juan, Puerto Rico, took home the show’s $1 million grand prize.
Arocho spoke to Entertainment Weekly ahead of the season’s start about the importance of Final Tribal Council and explained the importance of playing the game to its fullest and playing in a way where you stay true to yourself.
“Something I would not like to say to the jury members is that I regret something,” Arocho said at the time. “That is something that I would never say. I am going to do everything that I want because I want to do it!”
He conceded that actions have consequences, especially when the stakes are finale-episode-high, but added that regret is different from sympathy. “I would never be regretful of any of my choices,” he said. “I would say ‘Thank you. We appreciate you. I’m sorry if it hurt you,’ but not regretful at all.”
Last season, the grand champion of Survivor 43, Mike Gabler, made history with his announcement that he would donate his $1 million to the Veterans In Need Foundation.
“It feels bigger than, you know, we made history this season in 43,” Gabler said at the time. “I am only the second winner in Survivor history who is over 50… but season 43 is a special season because of these special people, and because we’re going to make history another way.”
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