‘A Dream Come True’: Golden God David Genat Has Been Crowned All Stars Sole Survivor
David Genat has taken out the top spot on Australian Survivor: All Stars following a crucial immunity win and a masterful speech to the jury at the final tribal council.
Speaking to 10 daily after his historic win, David reflected on his flawless run in the game, completed just weeks after he’d wrapped up his time on Champions vs. Contenders.
“To be there in that final three and then to win the game, I can barely put it into words because it’s just been a dream come true,” he said.
David solidified his status as an All Star, and lived up to his self-proclaimed Golden God moniker throughout the season with unmatched idol hunting, a slew of immunity wins and a social and strategic game that he had finessed and fine-tuned since his first experience in the game.
After reaching the final three with firm allies Moana Hope and Sharn Coombes, David knew he had to endure whatever the last immunity challenge threw at him to stay in the game and control who he’d take to the final two.
Standing on narrow pedestals with one hand on an idol and the other on a ring attached to a cord, David outlasted both Mo and Sharn -- against the forces of strong waves and driving rain -- for more than two hours to secure his spot on day 50 of the game.
Reunited briefly with his daughter and wife, David was reminded of why he had signed up for two consecutive seasons of Australian Survivor -- to relocate from New York to Perth and live in the same city as his two sons, who cheered him on with a phone call ahead of the challenge.
“Going into the final challenge, I was willing to stay up there for two days -- I just wasn’t going anywhere,” he told 10 daily.
Despite passionate speeches from both Sharn and Moana at the final three tribal, David said he believed Sharn was the best choice for his end game.
“The next 24 hours after the final challenge, I just gave it so much thought,” Dave said.
“I just felt that the numbers stacked up better for me with Sharn and I really wanted to sweep the jury, I wanted to get a clean 9-zip vote and I think Sharn gave me the best opportunity to do that,” he added.
But while there were certainly members on the jury who had been burnt by Sharn, Dave said he and the criminal prosecutor developed a close bond that made the final day together bring forward an odd mix of emotions.
“We had breakfast together and it’s very bittersweet because you become very close, Sharn and I became super, super close,” Dave said. “I know we see a lot of edits where I’m talking smack about, ‘oh, the field mouse is trying to get me out!’ but personally, our relationship was really, really tight.”
Dave said he and Sharn split off for “a good solid five hours” as they rehearsed their final speeches to the jury -- an experience than Sharn has been through before, missing out on the Season 3 sole survivor spot by just one vote in favour of Shane Gould.
But rather than being intimidated by the fact that Sharn has never sat on a Survivor jury, Dave said he knew that the two weeks he had spent in jury villa the previous season specifically worked in his favour.
“Knowing how I’d felt sitting and hearing some stuff that I thought I was responsible for, or I thought other people were responsible for being claimed by the two that were sitting at the end, it just was really important to me to acknowledge everyone’s role in the game and to make sure they weren’t being diminished by my win,” he said.
The Golden God finally got to announce his behind-the-scenes triumphs (how he obtained his idols, his mole status in Vakama) and lay bare the secrets he’d been sitting on for 50 days.
“It was amazing, I’m sure there were some things that people were clued into but they didn’t know the extent of some of the things that I’d been doing,” he said. “So, to be able to reveal that to them and see those reactions in real time, it was an incredible feeling.”
But while watching the magician reveal how he performed his tricks was extremely satisfying, his honesty in apologising for booting allies like Tarzan and Mo, and his humble acknowledgments of Brooke’s challenge beast status or AK’s smarts were ultimately the most nuanced parts of his speech.
“While it is sole survivor, it really takes a lot more people than just one person to get there,” he said, explaining that his time in jury villa showed him that there is no objective Survivor history book, with each player’s game intensely personal.
“Everyone is the hero of their own story and I wanted to make sure that the jury sitting there felt that and they didn’t feel like I was trying to take their moves away from them,” he said.
“And obviously there were some things that I felt I could only take credit for and those ones I really highlighted but, credit where credit’s due -- if someone was involved in a move or had played a part in a move, I wanted to make sure they got that feeling in that final tribal speech.”
Following the final vote, Dave and Sharn had an agonising three month wait to hear the votes read out by Jonathan LaPaglia via satellite from Los Angeles, with the host unable to make it to Sydney due to coronavirus travel restrictions in place.
“It was brutal,” Dave laughed of the excruciating wait to become sole survivor.
“And I’d been feeling very confident, I’d left that jury pitch and I was feeling good but you don’t quite know. There are a lot of times when you wake up in the middle of the night like, ‘Oh, I’ve lost!’” he added.
Jonathan LaPaglia read out just six votes with one bearing Sharn’s name and five bearing David’s -- enough to take out the win without even reading the final three pieces of parchment.
Dave was joined by his wife and children as he was crowned the winner of Australian Survivor: All Stars.
Long live the Golden God!