Have you ever watched a season of “Survivor” or “The Amazing Race” and predicted who went home first, the true contender, the first runner-up, or the eventual winner? You knew it! You saw them coming from a mile away! If only others had the same intuition and insight you have.
Sure, you may have won your friends’ “Survivor” pool or drafted the best duo for your “Amazing Race” league, but how did you know? Or maybe you had the opposite luck and picked those most likely to bottom out quickest. Whether you’re a sucker or savant when it comes to eyeballing the winners of these two reality game shows, we analyzed 11 recent seasons of each show to get a true breakdown of the makeup of the average winner. Keep reading to see if your intuition aligns with the facts.
The Anatomy of a Winning Team
If you’re watching the first teams flash across the screen in a new season of “The Amazing Race,” here are the traits you’ll want to look for in a front-runner and potential winner. Men who previously won the show tended to have brown hair and eyes, no facial hair, and were Caucasian in the 11 seasons we examined.
However, female winners were somewhat more diverse. Like the male winners, women who won mostly had brown eyes and were Caucasian, although women of other races and ethnicities did see the spotlight. Take season 25 winners Amy DeJong and Maya Warren, for example – also known as the #SweetScientists – who were two 20-something doctoral students from Madison, Wisconsin. Maya is a brunette and brown-eyed Caucasian woman, while Amy is a black-haired and brown-eyed African-American woman.
When it came to the gender breakdown of winning teams, you should probably bet on a mixed-gender team to take the prize. Of the 11 seasons analyzed, 55 percent of winning teams were comprised of one man and one woman working together. Teams with 2 males won 27 percent of the time, and teams of two women were victorious in 18 percent of the seasons included in our study.
Who Goes Far?
Men usually get further into a season of “The Amazing Race” than women, but not by much. Just 2% separates the average percentage of seasons completed by men and women. It’s better to look at contestants’ ages to see which demographics have the stamina to make it through escapades around the world.
Contestants with a mix of youth (comparatively speaking) and world experience were more likely to make it furthest. Participants aged 30 to 34 made it almost 80% of the way into a season. However, people aged 35 to 39 made it over two-thirds of the distance, on average, at 70%.
Based on the data, Hispanic contestants struggle to make it to the final stages of the competition, while those of mixed race or ethnicity have shown the ability to go deep into the jungle – over 90% of the journey when they’ve been a part of a team on “The Amazing Race.”
The Stereotypical “Survivor”
The makeup of the average “Survivor” winner is a Caucasian male, around his mid-30s, who rocks a clean-shaven face, brown eyes, and brown hair. The closest winner to this mold would be season 30 victor Mike Holloway, who beat out fellow contestants Carolyn Rivera and Will Sims II six votes to their one a piece.
While over 55% of the winners have been male, this has been a recent revelation. Five of the last seven winners have been men. From Jeremy Collins in season 31 (“Survivor Cambodia: Second Chance”) to Tyson Apostol in season 27 (“Survivor: Blood vs. Water”), these gentlemen are finding ways to outlive, outlast, and outplay their female adversaries.
Trust Your Tribal Elders
While “Amazing Race” contestants favor a slightly younger crowd, silver foxes aged 50 and older are most likely to be found at season’s end on “Survivor.” Nearly 80% of contestants over the age of 55 have made it to the final tribal council. However, there has only been one winner in this age group: Bob Crowley. He received the most votes on season 17 (“Survivor: Gabon”). So while you might be able to count on their ability to outlast other contestants, older participants may not always outplay them.
Hispanic contestants – while not often making it to the end of a season in “The Amazing Race” – make it to the final tribal council 75% of the time on “Survivor.” And nearly 70% of Caucasian contestants make it to the last vote.
Surviving the Odds
Whether you’re looking to make a friendly wager on the team that will win the next season of “The Amazing Race” or are participating in a “Survivor” pool, use this information to tip the odds in your favor.
We analyzed contestant demographics for seasons 18-28 of “The Amazing Race” and seasons 22-32 seasons of “Survivor.” In cases where contestants appeared on multiple seasons, we considered them to be unique contestants in each season.
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