Three most underrated Survivor winners of all-time

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Television contestant Sophie Clarke poses after winning CBS’ “Survivor: South Pacific”  (Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images)

These three Survivor winners don’t get their due diligence despite winning the game!

Winning Survivor is no easy feat and there are several Survivor winners  who don’t get the respect they deserve despite doing something that’s incredibly difficult to do.

I’ve always operated under the belief that if someone wins a season of Survivor, then they deserve it. Yes, even the ones who got voted out early and came back to win (looking at you, Chris Underwood), because if the rules state that’s allowed, then they made the most of the rules.

There are three Survivor winners who are overlooked and underrated by the fan base. These three deserve to be appreciated for their winning game, so we’re going to take the time to do that now.

Read: Ranking Every All-Returnee Season

Most Underrated Survivor Winners – Number 3: Sophie Clarke (South Pacific)

We don’t talk enough about how important Sophie Clarke’s win was for the course of Survivor. When Sophie won Survivor: South Pacific in 2011, Survivor was trying out this whole “bring back former favorites and have them captain a team” concept and it worked for them in Redemption Island when Boston Rob finally won the game on his fourth try.

Production tried this again in South Pacific by bringing back Coach Wade and Ozzy Lusth, two former players who hadn’t won any of their previous seasons. This season was designed for either of these players to win and production almost got their way, but one thing stood between that and their dream – Sophie effin’ Clarke.

Despite South Pacific being the Coach and Ozzy (and Cochran) show, Sophie managed to make it to the end and win the game with a kick butt final tribal council performance.

Prior to that, she formed a majority alliance with Coach and three others on the Upolo beach on day one. She had to deal with crazy Brandon and super paranoid Albert, but stuck with her alliance and as a result, made it all the way to the end.

Sophie had just graduated from college prior to heading out for South Pacific, but she was easily the smartest person out there (yes, even smarter than super fan Cochran who was a Harvard graduate). Not only that, but she won multiple immunity challenges and her immunity win on Day 38 ensured that Ozzy wouldn’t make it to the end. It was smooth sailing from there.

Even though Ozzy wasn’t in the finals, many people thought Coach played the best game and deserved to win the million dollars. Coach did play a good game, but the reason why he didn’t win and why Sophie won instead was that Coach couldn’t own his actions. He kept claiming he was honest and played with integrity when that obviously wasn’t the case.

Sophie, on the other hand, owned up to her actions. She eviscerated Coach in front of the jury, calling him a young girl who she knew would follow her to the end. She called him out for lying, including revealing to the jury that Coach had already found the idol and staged the “idol find” that the rest of Upolo had together in the pre-merge phase. This was clearly news to Brandon, who reacted strongly upon hearing this.

Sophie didn’t play a good social game, as evidenced by Ozzy calling her a spoiled brat and Whitney calling her the most condescending person she’s ever met, but even with that being the case, Sophie still managed to get all of Savaii’s votes except for Cochran and received Brandon’s as well. She swayed over several people who probably were leaning toward voting for Coach and that’s a damn good final tribal performance when you can sway over that many people to vote for you.

Going back to my original statement regarding Sophie’s win, it was important because if Coach wins South Pacific, then production continues to go this route with bringing back past contestants to captain a team in hopes of them making it to the end and winning. Sophie winning was more important than a lot of Survivor fans even realize and it’s a shame she doesn’t get more respect.

Fortunately, Sophie won a lot of people over with her game on Winners at War. Yes, she was blindsided with an idol in her pocket, but a lot of her fellow tribe mates have said that if she wasn’t taken out then, Sophie had a great shot to win Winners at War.

Put some respect on her name!

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