May 15, 2005 11:29 PM by Joe Blackmon
In probably one of the most unusual Survivor moves in history, Ian Rosenberger spent eleven hours and fifty-five minutes standing on a small metal disk only to voluntarily step off and hand victory over to Tom Westman. In the Thursday, May 12 episode of Survivor, Ian promised to try “not to be stupid again” after an error in judgement almost got him voted off.
Unfortunately, Ian didn’t have much luck at his goal, and opening his mouth at the wrong time during the Sunday, May 15 finale of Survivor might very well have cost him a million dollars. Before the first immunity challenge, Ian professed “I win the challenge then Tom goes home. I don’t win the challenge then all of a sudden Tom’s my best friend again.”
In one of the most complex immunity challenges ever that involved climbing a tower, swimming, and figuring out the combination to a lock, Tom Westman was victorious. Tom told Jenn that he was staying loyal to his friend Ian, but Ian opens his mouth and tells Tom that it would have been a tough decision if he had won the immunity challenge. This statement opens up the door for Tom to question why he is being loyal to Ian.
At tribal council, the vote ends in a tie between Ian and Jenn. In a fire building challenge, Ian is victorious and Jenn is eliminated from Survivor. After tribal council, Tom rides Ian about plotting to vote him off and tells Ian “to step up and be a man and confess to the whole thing.” Ian is reduced to tears over the whole incident.
Which leads up to the final immunity challenge, an endurance challenge to see who can stand on a metal disk the longest. After facing heavy winds and rain, Katie bows out of the challenge after a couple hours. Tom offers Ian a deal saying that he will take Ian with him if Ian steps down. Ian refuses, but after a couple hours he approaches Tom with another deal proposal. Ian offers to step down if Tom will take Katie with him. Ian says he is doing so because earning back the respect of his friends is more important to him than a million dollars. After Ian quits, Tom jokes with him saying, “I was about to fall off too, I’m surprised you did that.
At the final tribal council, the jury members grill Tom and Katie. Katie in particular takes a lot of heat being called everything from pathetic to phony and cruel. Tom also takes some criticism for not staying true to his five-person alliance. In a live vote count in New York, Jeff Probst declares Tom Westman the winner of Survivor: Palau. Jeff also reveals that Guatemala will be the next location for Survivor.