Survivor: Blood vs. Water crowned Tyson Apostol the winner of its $1 million grand prize during the live portion of Sunday night's finale broadcast on CBS from CBS Television City in Los Angeles, CA.
Tyson, a 34-year-old former pro cyclist and shop manager from Provo, UT, previously competed on Survivor: Tocantins and Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains. He was the ninth castaway voted out of Tocantins and the sixth person -- and the second "villain" -- to be voted out of Heroes vs. Villains.
In an exclusive interview on Monday, Tyson talked to Reality TV World about his Survivor: Blood vs. Water experience and victory. Below is the first half of his interview. Check back with us on later for the concluding portion, as well as additional interviews with the rest of the season's finale castaways.
Reality TV World: Jeff Probst never showed the rest of the jury votes, but everyone has been assuming they were all for you as well -- has anyone confirmed that for you?
Tyson Apostol: No, but I think that's the general consensus. Typically if there's a different vote, he'll show them all. So if there had been some for Gervase, he would've showed them. If there had been more for Monica, he would've showed those to make it look closer.
Reality TV World: Before you guys drew rocks at a prior Tribal Council, Ciera Eastin seemed to be telling Gervase and yourself that all she wanted was for you to bump Monica out of the No. 3 slot in your alliance and make her the new No. 3 instead. So what made you decide to take a chance at drawing rocks and getting eliminated from the game -- especially with a hidden Immunity Idol in your pocket -- instead of just voting Monica out? Did you think you would just be doomed [after that vote] or couldn't get Gervase onboard [to vote off Monica]?
Tyson Apostol: No, at that point, Ciera had decided to go with [Hayden Moss] and [Katie Collins]. Had Monica gone out, I think Gervase and I would've been next to follow. So that was what our feeling was.
Reality TV World: Do you think you have been more hesitant to draw rocks if Redemption Island hadn't been part of the game and you wouldn't have still had a second chance to get back into the game?
Tyson Apostol: Yeah, definitely. That played a huge part in me being willing to draw rocks, because I knew that Redemption Island was in play and I knew that I probably didn't have too many more Redemption challenges before that player would come back in. So I figured I'd have a pretty fair shot there.
Reality TV World: How confident were you when yourself, Ciera and Katie drew rocks? What was going through your mind at the time?
Reality TV World: Just purely mathematical, that's it?! (Laughs)
Tyson Apostol: Just pure mathematical. Well, in my mind, I was like, "This game has already" -- like, just that season leading up to that point, I was like, "This game has already proven that" -- like drawing the buffs at the swap, that was so lucky for me and it was a perfect scenario.
There were other scenarios like that, and so I was like, "If it comes to rocks and that's what it is, then it's meant to be. But so far, the game's given me my best-case scenario in almost every instance, and so, I would be surprised if it let me down now."
Reality TV World: So you weren't too concerned about joining the list of people who got voted out of the game with an idol in their pocket or anything?
Tyson Apostol: No, it wasn't even in my pocket. I think it was buried back at camp.
Reality TV World: You didn't even bring it with you to Tribal?
Tyson Apostol: [I didn't think] that Monica and Gervase would make Ciera feel so low on the totem pole.
Reality TV World: Everybody's talked about what a great job Hayden did convincing Ciera she was No. 4. But how much of Ciera's decision to flip do you think should be credited to Hayden and how much of it do you think was due to Monica and Gervase kind of sticking their foot in their mouths repeatedly?
Tyson Apostol: 100% those guys. I think it was 100% Monica and Gervase. I mean, I made sure when I talked to people to always say their name first and my name last, you know?
Most of the time, people don't catch it, but when they do, it makes a difference. So it was interesting to me to hear Gervase just count four and put her four and then Monica to say, "Four is better than six." It was crazy! And all I could do was bite my tongue!
Reality TV World: During the jury questioning, you told Aras Baskauskas that if you had to choose between Gervase and Monica to win the game, you thought Monica deserved to win. Your response seemed to shock Gervase. So did you really mean that or was that still strategy on your part in which you didn't want to talk Gervase up to the jury? What was going on there?
Tyson Apostol: Yeah, that was definitely strategy. I mean, there were merits to both of their games, but I think that Gervase deserved to win of the two. And so, we had planned on playing that at the final Tribal Council, and I think that's usually the wise way to play it.
But Gervase took credit for the Aras move and that wasn't his to take credit for, so I was like, "Okay, I'll get you back by pitching Monica instead of you! Plus, I feel like you're a bigger threat to me than Monica is, so I'll pitch her as well."
And so it was definitely strategic-based, and yeah, I felt a little bad about that one actually. But Gervase is very forgiving and he was like, "I knew exactly what you were doing." He was like, "I should've done that too, but I didn't even think of it."
Reality TV World: When I spoke to Gervase today, he still stands by the idea that the Aras vote-off was his own -- his big move in the game. Is that something you guys just agreed to disagree on or what are your thoughts on that?
Tyson Apostol: I guess so! We never really approached it, but I was the one that proposed it first. He said we couldn't have done it without him, but when we voted Aras out, we had like a nine to four vote or something ridiculous. So, we definitely could've done it without him, but it worked better with him.
I mean, everybody's perception is probably a little bit different and I definitely proposed it. I think Gervase knew it was important he didn't tell Aras, and it was important that I came to Gervase and he agreed to do it. Because if Gervase decided he didn't want to do it, I would've been in big trouble, because Gervase would have then gone to Aras.
Above is the first half of Tyson's exclusive interview with Reality TV World. Check back with us on later for the concluding portion, as well as additional interviews with the rest of the season's finale castaways.