Sandra Diaz-Twine lasted longer than many expected her to on Survivor Game Changers, but her exit may have been the result of sabotage.
Amidst the memorable returnees competing on Survivor Game Changers, there was a legend among them. Sandra Diaz-Twine returned to play for her third time as the only two-time winner of Survivor (Pearl Islands and Heroes vs. Villains). She’d played 78 days and had never been voted out, perfecting the “anybody but me” strategy.
Because of her pedigree, not many expected Sandra to last long on Game Changers. After all, a cast of returnees is too smart to let a two-time Survivor winner stick around, right? As it turned out, Sandra out-performed the expectations of most. She lasted 16 days in the game before becoming the sixth person voted out, just two votes shy of the merge.
However, she might’ve been able to make it further had it not been for sabotage — or at least that’s what she alleged upon her exit.
In her exit interview with ET Canada, Sandra surmised that Ozzy Lusth (another Survivor legend in his own right) threw the Immunity Challenge for the third iteration of Nuku so to vote her out. There was no real mention of that in the edit of episode 6, “Vote Early, Vote Often.” However, editing makes it easy to play tricks. Thus, they could’ve left that out to build drama.
Given that, all we have to look in terms of the season is the challenge itself. So let’s go to the tape and see if there’s any evidence of that:
Perhaps it’s confirmation bias in watching it back, but Sandra’s claim seems plausible. From the jump, Ozzy takes his time getting into the water. What’s more, he subtly seems to not be giving the maximum effort we’re used to seeing from him, a notorious challenge beast.
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What’s more, this wouldn’t have been a new move for Ozzy. Early on in his first time playing on Cook Islands, he threw the second Immunity Challenge for the Aitutaki tribe to assure that Billy Garcia (Survivor’s resident love-stricken castaway) could be voted out.
However, all of that is circumstantial for the most part. What’s more, it’s a bit of a she-said, edit-said situation, so to speak. Just based on that, it’s hard to make any educated claims. However, as a user pointed out on Reddit, Sandra wasn’t the only one to make the same claim. Zeke Smith also said the same in a recent episode of Rob Has A Podcast posted on June 4.
In the interview, Zeke was asked about being the ringleader in voting out Sandra. According to what we saw on TV, that seemed to be the case. Zeke, a huge fan, wanted to “make history” in voting out Sandra. However, he told a different side of the story, saying the following:
I would actually say that credit for the Sandra vote goes to Ozzy…Yeah, because we threw that challenge. And Sarah and I were both a little like ‘ugh, gosh, I don’t know.’ But Ozzy was so gung-ho about it.
Zeke even went on to mention that he got “narrative” credit for the move, but then pushed the credit (or maybe blame) on Ozzy.
Without seeing it play out on screen, that’s as close to 100 percent confirmation as you’ll see. A member of the Nuku tribe with Sandra and Ozzy says that the challenge was thrown. Thus, the conclusion that you have to reach is that The Queen was indeed sabotaged on Survivor Game Changers.
That being said, this isn’t to discredit the move as dirty or anything of the sort. In fact, it was truthfully a sound strategic move by Ozzy. Again, this isn’t a normal player we’re talking about — it’s The Queen, Sandra Diaz-Twine. If you see an opportunity to vote her out with little consequence, you have to. And considering that the losing tribe was set to gain Debbie after she was sent to Exile (a.k.a. lunch dates with Cochran), there were very few repercussions for throwing the challenge and getting Sandra out.
What is important, though, is to note that Sandra wasn’t just a bitter player after being voted out. She wasn’t just throwing unsubstantiated claims at the wall. The legend was set up to get sent home. Thus came the first torch-snuffing of her Survivor career. It was bound to happen eventually, but her tribe made sure it happened on their terms.