The 40 Most Influential Survivors: Ozzy Lusth

Ozzy Lusth

Cook Islands, Micronesia, South Pacific, Game Changers

To celebrate the 40th season of Survivor, we’re counting down the 40 Most Influential Survivors to ever play the game. Because Survivor is a game, a tv show, and a rabid fandom, we’re taking all forms of influence into consideration for this list. Go here to view the criteria we are using to determine what qualifies for the list. Note: this list is presented in chronological order and there will be spoilers for various Survivor seasons.

Ozzy Lusth is the 17th entry in this series.

Didn’t we already do challenge beasts? Both the heroic and victorious? What more could be left for Ozzy to influence?

The thing is, it’s not just the first influencer that is the only significant influencer when it comes to things. Sometimes someone new can come along and refresh the idea of something. Maybe they put a new spin on something. Or maybe they’re just the example for the new generation. Kobe Bryant essentially patterned his whole early game and image on Michael Jordan, but if you ask the current generation of NBA stars who they patterned their games on, it’s Kobe, not the guy from the meme.

And the same is true of Ozzy. Yes, there were challenge beasts before him. One who even proved that it’s possible to win while being one. But if you ask post-Ozzy Survivor contestants who influenced them, more often than not, they’re gonna say Ozzy. In fact, let’s do that:

It’s not hard to figure out why so many fans and future players took to the guy. They are few things in Survivor more pure or perfect than watching Ozzy Lusth dive into the water for a challenge. So if jungle living and athleticism were your thing, it makes sense that you’d gravitate to Ozzy (especially as he appeared 3 times in 5 years, adding a fourth five years after that). In doing so, Ozzy seemed to mark a change in the profile of the challenge beast from a more blue collar, muscular style to a leaner, chill bro vibe (and after South Pacific, often with long hair for some reason. Survivor and pro wrestling just love their long-haired heartthrobs, regardless of the fashion trends of the day).

So when we see someone who is clearly more focused on the physical aspects of the game as their path to success today, we’re far more likely to think of them as an Ozzy clone than we are to think of them as the next Colby or Tom or Mike Holloway.

You may not like it, but this is what peak performance looks like.


Who else made the list?

You can see each entry on the list by clicking this link.