Survivor: Best Old and Young Players of All Time

Youth and talent are no match for age and treachery -- at least according to the T-shirts and bumper stickers. And traditionally on CBS' long-running reality series, Survivor, the more cunning elders have often bested the more athletic youngsters.

This season, Survivor: Nicaragua opted to pit the old against the young and so far, the old folk haven't been faring as well as viewers may have expected.

Jealous Marty Piombo, 49, spearheaded a ridiculous move to oust former NFL coach Jimmy Johnson, 67, who was providing a lot of the leadership needed for the older team. On the young team, they've got the dumb blond boy Jud "Fabio" Birza, 21, and NaOnka Mixon, 27, a P.E. teacher with a nasty attitude as the most memorable players.

Both teams are a far cry from some of the best old and young players to outlast, outplay and outwit their fellow castaways. If only the producers had asked us to provide an all-star team:


Rudy Boesch (Borneo): Rudy, then 72, rocked the first season of Survivor and hung in to a finish in third place. He showed that the competition respected tough players no matter what their age. Sonja Christopher, the 63-year-old ukulele player, may have the distinction of being the first one voted off, but that had more to do with her irritating musical skills than her age.

Robert Crowley (Gabon): At 57, Bob was the oldest winner in the history of Survivor, and one of the best. He tied for the record of winning the most consecutive challenges, made fake immunity idols -- twice -- and consistently beat much younger players. The now-retired teacher (one of his students was Survivor's Julie Berry) not only outwitted his competitors, he outplayed them at every turn and still managed to remain one of the good guys.

Kim Johnson (Africa): In this season, the young decided to systematically pick off the older players. Kim, 56, managed to ride the coattails of other players until the end. Then she won two crucial immunity challenges which allowed her to finish second. Her strategy paid off, allowing the oldest player in that season to come in second.

Yau-Man Chan (Fiji): Who would have thought the slightly built UC Berkeley professor would be such an outdoorsman? Yau-Man, 54, surprised the competition with his prowess. But his downfall came when he put his faith in the wrong person. He won a 2008 Ford Truck and made a deal with tribe mate Dreamz, who had been homeless. Dreamz was supposed to give Yau-Man immunity to go into the final four -- he reneged on his deal and Yau-Man was eliminated.

Rodger Bingham (Australian Outback): Nicknamed Kentucky Joe, the hard-working, honorable 53-year-old might have made it to the end, but sacrificed himself so that another player, Elisabeth, could go further in the game because he felt she needed the money more than he did. She did OK for herself even though she didn't win. She's now the co-host of The View.


Parvati Shallow (Cook Islands): She originally appeared on Cook Islands when she was just 23, won Micronesia and rebounded on Heroes and Villains. Love her or hate her, Parvati plays the best social game Survivor has ever known. Even with a target on her back, she's been able to maneuver her way into top spots.

Todd Herzog (China): A true student of the game of Survivor, Todd, 22, was just 15 when the first show ran and it became his dream to be a contestant. He won the million bucks by playing the game as hard as any contestant before or since.

Ozzy Lusth (Cook Islands): Although he lost to phenomenal player Yul Kwon, 31 -- an All-Star pick if only he'd been two years younger -- Ozzy, 25, played an unmatched physical game. He climbed like a monkey and could swim like a fish. He ruled, right up to his second-place finish.

Colby Donaldson (The Australian Outback): We're talking about his first appearance, not his recent stint on Heroes vs. Villains, when he turned into loser city. As a 26-year-old player in the Australian Outback, he was almost unstoppable. He could have won, but instead took the more sympathetic contestant Tina Wesson to the final tribal council and ended up in second place.

"Boston" Rob Mariano (Marquesas): Boston Rob became one of the true characters of Survivor, from his first stint at 25 until his most recent appearance on Heroes vs. Villains. Rob knows the game and always makes it interesting for the viewers and the other players. Not to mention, he met and proposed to wife Amber Brkich on the show, which they parlayed into an invitation to compete on The Amazing Race.