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The Odds of Winning Adventure Shows

If you’re a fan of adventure competition games and love TV shows such as Survivor or The Amazing Race, you’re probably always trying to guess who will win the prize or even who will go home. These predictions have become a natural part of watching adventure shows, especially as we become more invested as the season goes on.

Sometimes you might predict the outcome of the game correctly and wow your friends and family with your amazing skills of deduction, but what gave it away and how did you reach your conclusion? There are a few physical and character traits that we subconsciously associate with winners that could have alerted you to the presence of the Survivor or the winning team. Alternatively, you could have just gotten very lucky. Either way, we’ve provided an analysis of what makes a winner of an adventure game below.

The Parts of a Winning Team


If you're watching the first teams on a new season of "The Amazing Race," here are the characteristics you should look for in a front-runner and possible victor. In the 11 seasons we looked at, men who had previously won the program tended to have brown hair and eyes, no facial hair and were Caucasian.

Female winners, on the other hand, were more diversified. Women who won, like the men, tended to have brown eyes and be Caucasian, while women of different races and nationalities were also recognized. Amy DeJong and Maya Warren, better known as the #SweetScientists, were two 20-something PhD students from Madison, Wisconsin, who won season 25. Maya is a brunette Caucasian woman with brown eyes, while Amy is a black-haired African-American woman with brown eyes.

You should probably bet on a mixed-gender squad to win when it comes to the gender distribution of winning teams. Over the course of the 11 seasons studied, 55 percent of winning teams were made up of one male and one woman. Teams with two males won 27 percent of the time, whereas teams with two females won 18 percent of the time in our study.

Who Progresses


Men normally finish a season of "The Amazing Race" a little faster than women, but not by much. The average proportion of seasons completed by men and women differs by only 2%. It's preferable to look at candidates' ages to evaluate which demographics have the stamina to survive global adventures.

Contestants with a combination of youth (relative to their age) and international experience were more likely to advance. Participants in their 30s and 34s made it about 80% of the way through a season. People aged 35 to 39, on the other hand, averaged 70 percent and covered more than two-thirds of the distance.

According to the data, Hispanic contestants have a harder time making it to the final phases of the competition, whereas individuals of mixed race or ethnicity have proven the ability to go deep into the jungle - covering over 90% of the route when they've been on "The Amazing Race."

The Stereotype of a Survivor


A Caucasian male in his mid-30s with a clean-shaven face, brown eyes, and brown hair is the typical "Survivor" winner's appearance. Season 30 winner Mike Holloway came the closest to fitting this mould, defeating fellow contenders Carolyn Rivera and Will Sims II by six votes to one.

This is a recent finding, as almost 55 percent of the winners have been men. Men have won five of the last seven awards. From Jeremy Collins in season 31 ("Survivor Cambodia: Second Chance") to Tyson Apostol in season 27 ("Survivor: Blood vs. Water"), these gentlemen are outliving, outlasting, and outplaying their female opponents.

Tribal Elders and Trust


On "Survivor," silver foxes aged 50 and up are most likely to be found at season's end, but "Amazing Race" contestants prefer a slightly younger bunch. Over the age of 55, nearly 80% of participants have made it to the final tribal council. In this age category, however, there has only been one winner: Bob Crowley. In season 17 ("Survivor: Gabon"), he garnered the most votes. So, while you can bank on them to outlast other candidates, you can't necessarily expect them to outperform others.

While Hispanic players seldom make it to the conclusion of a season on "The Amazing Race," they make it to the final tribal council on "Survivor" 75% of the time. Nearly 70% of Caucasian contestants make it to the final round.

Taking Chances with the Odds

Use this knowledge to swing the chances in your favour, whether you're making a casual wager on who will win the next season of "The Amazing Race" or competing in a "Survivor" pool.


We looked at contestant demographics for "The Amazing Race" seasons 18-28 and "Survivor" seasons 22-32. When contestants appeared in more than one season, we treated them as separate contestants in each season.

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