Is it safe to call this the revenge of the nerd? After 39 days on the lush island of Caramoan in the Philippines, John Cochran took home the title of Sole Survivor on the shocking season 26 finale on Sunday, May 12, beating out fellow finalists Dawn Meehan and Sherri Biethman.
"Yes, I'm quite aware that it's all downhill from here for me," the 26-year-old Harvard Law graduate tweeted jokingly on Monday. Cochran, who originally appeared on Survivor: South Pacific back in 2012, won the jury's final vote unanimously, and even host Jeff Probst seemed gleeful to announce Cochran as "probably the most unlikely winner, ever!"
"I kind of want to get a Segway, as lame as that is," he told The Hollywood Reporter of how he'd spend his $1 million check. "I don't know how often I'd use it, but I'd like to just ride around on one. Even if it's just doing circles in my living room." He also mentioned sinking some money into a new apartment and "a lot of wireless gizmos and stuff."
During the season's high-drama season, Cochran was also able to survive the entire run of the game without having a single vote cast against him during Tribal Council, an impressive accomplishment that only one other Survivor winner can claim (J.T. of Survivor: Tocantins).
"On the one hand, you could say I'm not a threat; nobody bothered voting for me because I'm such a loser, but I'm kind of a winner now, so maybe they should have voted against me," he said Sunday.
To top it off, Cochran also bested the competition in this week's reward challenge, as well as the final immunity challenge, which guaranteed him a spot in the final three.
The last time around, Cochran was the 13th castaway voted off — after his arrogance got the best of him and his attitude rubbed his tribe mates the wrong way. Watching and learning from his mistakes, however, helped Cochran to prepare for what turned out to be a huge payoff.
"Watching yourself on Survivor is a tough experience," he explained to THR. "You get a lot of criticism online. You have to grow thicker skin … The first time, nobody liked me. Getting along with people is a huge benefit. …I was able to think about the game in a very focused way instead of worrying, oh my god they think I'm some loser. I was probably still a nerd, or loser, but I got along with everybody and it wasn't always dominating my thoughts."
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