Survivor winners: Ranking all 45 Sole Survivors by season

Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved /
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Survivor, Kim Spradlin
Survivor star Kim Spradlin – (Photo: Screen Grab/CBS Entertainment ©2020 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved) /

Best Survivor Winners No. 1: Kim Spradlin (Survivor One World)

Combining the perfect mix of social skill, strategic skill, survival skill, strength in challenges, and the ability to plant seeds of ideas in people’s heads like no other, Kim Spradlin easily controlled the best game of Survivor the show has ever seen.

Granted, she may not have been a flashy player, and there was certainly a fair amount of her alliance members playing into her wishes, but that goes back to her ability to manipulate others. She made one small mistake in who to bring to one reward challenge; everything else was flawless.

Importantly, the reason why she was a boring winner by Survivor standards was that there was never any doubt she was going to win. Whether it was cultivating a core trust that would follow her to the end of the earth (like Boston Rob), outplaying her castaways in core situations with an immunity challenge run (like Tom Westman), puppeteering control while not outwardly showing control worthy of threat recognition (like Sandra Diaz-Twine) or charming others to no end (like Parvati Shallow), Kim owned all those strengths on her first try.

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For that, she tops our list of the best Survivor winners.