`Survivor' ends Amazon exploits

April 06, 2003|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

Ellicott City native Dave Johnson was voted off Survivor: The Amazon after 24 days and the ousting of seven other players, a fact revealed in the episode that aired Thursday night.

"It has been an experience to beat all other experiences," said Johnson in a telephone interview Friday.

The 24-year-old mechanical engineer, who lives in Pasadena, Calif., and builds equipment for NASA, did well living day to day in the rainforest.

An experienced hiker, biker and backpacker, he also made a strong showing in a series of games and physical challenges. On Thursday's episode, he won a contest that involved racing through the mud to retrieve a flag while attached to a bungee cord.

But the other contestants vying for the $1 million prize may have seen him as a threat. All eight voted for Johnson to go.

"Certainly the game is more than just survival of the elements," said Johnson. "It's a survival of the 16 people out there."

The balance of ability and likability can be difficult, he said.

"I went out there and tried the best I know how with my strengths." Johnson said. "Unfortunately it didn't pan out too well."

Still, he said, "I got this amazing experience in the Amazon," he said. "It was a challenge of both the mind and the body and how much can you endure."

Johnson will appear in more Survivor episodes this season as part of a jury that will choose the ultimate winner.

Having been returned to civilization, he said he is going to focus on work and enjoy the California sunshine, and that he is "always on the move to look for the next big challenge."

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