Survivor Winners at War: How Ethan Zohn can win a second time

Photo: Timothy Kuratek/CBS Entertainment ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Timothy Kuratek/CBS Entertainment ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

Our final Winners at War cast assessment features Ethan Zohn, one of the original Survivor champions who played in a very different game compared to today.

In Survivor: Africa, the 16 castaways had to be more wary of lions entering their camp than having an ally blindside them. Boy has the game evolved. As fans of the show, we sometimes can get into the mindset that these old school players won’t be able to keep up with this modern Survivor era. It’s true that winners like Ethan and Amber have taken a backseat while the game has changed for over 15 years, but we often overlook the fact that these people have changed as well.

That couldn’t be more true for Ethan Zohn. He came into Survivor: Africa as a 27-year-old pro soccer player. The game was still in its infancy, but Ethan still had to survive a few twists including the first ever tribe swap. His kind and likable personality allowed him to build a tight bond with his Boran tribe members, especially Lex, Big Tom and Kim Johnson.

Related Story. 3 most memorable moments from Survivor: Africa. light

Ethan’s original tribe entered the merge with a two-man advantage. He had a voice in determining who should be voted out next, but he allowed the more dynamic personalities of Lex and Big Tom to make the calls. That put the attention on these bigger targets instead of himself, which is a strategy many future contestants used to win the game.

Ethan’s good-natured social game was perhaps most effective on Kim Johnson. Kim had a few good opportunities to turn on the guys and get Ethan out, but she felt satisfied with him in the game. That motivated Kim to bring Ethan with her to the end instead of taking Lex who wasn’t held in high-esteem from the jury.

Needless to say, Ethan’s respectable game gave him the win. Although his All-Stars performance didn’t go as well as in Africa, it’s worth noting that Ethan was the last winner remaining. This time he is coming back without a large target on his back, which should help him out.

Related Story. 3 ways Survivor: Africa changed the game. light

Beyond his Survivor appearances, Ethan has let his success on the show shape his life for the better. He’s been involved in several charitable causes including becoming a Co-Founder of Grassroots Soccer. They have helped over 2.5 million adolescents use the power of soccer and teamwork to help these at-risk youths live healthy and productive lives.

In his interview with ET Canada, Ethan explained why he was so excited simply to be back on the show. He battled his way through aggressive cancer, proving to be a survivor in more ways than one. His remarkable story makes Ethan a rootable character once again.

What I really liked about Ethan from his pre-game coverage was his humility. Unlike several other winners on this cast, Ethan didn’t beam with overconfidence. He understands that he played in a completely different game 15 plus years ago and he is excited but cautious about playing with idols, advantages and blindsides.

Survivor Winners: Ranking the best Sole Survivors by season. dark. Next

It will be fun to watch a loyal, old school player adapt to this fast-paced, deceptive game with constantly shifting allegiances. Ethan has the right mindset to adapt to these changes and as we saw in the ET Canada interview, he is physically prepared for Survivor and is built for a deep run.