Tommy was able to navigate himself throughout the game by forming strong social bonds with many of his tribemates. Despite being targeted on multiple occasions, never possessing an advantage, or won a single individual Immunity Challenge, Tommy's strong bonds with the likes of Dean Kowalski, Elaine Stott, Janet Carbin, and Lauren Beck, as well as his ability to obtain information and play in the middle, kept him from being voted out. Despite failing to win the Final Immunity Challenge, he managed to convinced Noura Salman to bring him to the Final Tribal Council. Never hiding behind safety nets such as the Immunity Necklace, Hidden Immunity Idols and other game advantages, Tommy's strong social relationships and manipulation skills awarded him the title of Sole Survivor in an 8-2-0 vote over Dean and Noura.
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Hometown: Bayville, New York
Current residence: Long Beach, New York
Occupation: 4th Grade Teacher
Hobbies: Surfing, sports (basketball, volleyball, football), and asking questions to my magic eight ball.
Pet peeves: I hate bullies who think they are better than everyone else and talk down to others. I also cannot stand grumpy and serious people. Lighten up, life is amazing, let me see that smile. LOL.
Three words to describe you: Outgoing, competitive, and goofy.
What accomplishment are you most proud of? I am proud of all the children's lives I have changed teaching. Also, I have a really killer Disney coffee mug collection.
Who or what is your inspiration in life? My parents. My dad has always instilled the Sheehan motto in my head "Get it done." There are no excuses, just get the job done, whatever it is. He is also the life of the party and lives each day like it is his last. My mom inspires me to care for others. She is the most caring individual I know and I hope to one day have half the heart she does.
What's one thing we wouldn't know from seeing a photo of you? I have the biggest heart. I love people and would do anything to help them, especially kids.
Which Survivor contestant are you most like? I would say if you combined David Wright's strategy, Davie's social game, and a pinch of Amanda Kimmel's likeability. These three players were fans of the game, played hard, and did everything they could do with the hands they were dealt.
What's your primary motivation for being on Survivor? I am on the show to do something most people dream about. I am there to win the game and get the million dollars. Those are my only motivations. If I happen to make people smile and help them escape whatever hardships are going on in their lives for an hour a week, that is a huge plus too.
Why do you think you'll "survive" Survivor? I am physical and can win challenges, but that won't win Survivor. What wins Survivor is the time spent opening up and connecting to people. When you have real connections with people they will keep you around longer. Also, I am there to win the game. I see myself finding idols, making moves and leading blindsides.
Tommy was initially placed on the Vokai tribe, where he quickly joined the majority in targeting outsiders Jason Linden and Noura Salman. When Vokai lost the second Immunity Challenge on Day 6, Tommy contemplated voting out Jason, or going with Lauren Beck's plan to blindside Molly Byman for her social connections. At Tribal Council, he went with Lauren's plan and joined a new majority in eliminating Molly.
After the Tribe Switch on Day 12, Tommy remained on Vokai with Jason, Lauren, and Dan Spilo, but found himself in the precarious position of possibly facing a tie vote at Tribal Council should Vokai lose an Immunity Challenge, since the tribe was now divided equally between original Lairo and Vokai members. When Vokai lost immunity on Day 16, Tommy and his allies targeted Elaine Stott, hoping that they could pull in Aaron Meredith to their side. At Tribal Council, however, Elaine revealed that she had a Vote Blocker and would use it to steal Jason's vote. When it came time to vote, Aaron stuck with the original Lairo alliance and eliminated Jason, leaving Tommy in the minority. The following day, Tommy and Lauren tried to throw Dan under the bus to the Lairo majority to save themselves, but Missy Byrd saw through their plan and instead conspired to eliminate Tommy to separate him from Lauren. A visibly relieved Tommy avoided this fate when Vokai narrowly won the final pre-merge Immunity Challenge.
When the tribes merged into the Lumuwaku tribe on Day 20, Tommy and Lauren tried to pull in their original Vokai allies Janet Carbin and Kellee Kim to side with the post-switch Vokai majority. However, they sensed that Kellee was not on board with this plan, so they switched the target onto her instead and they sided with the post-switch Vokai to blindside Kellee at Tribal Council. When the Lumuwaku tribe was temporarily split up for a Double Elimination on Day 27, Tommy found himself on a team with four women from original Lairo, and when he failed to win immunity, Missy targeted him for being the biggest threat. Finding himself the clear target, Tommy used his past social connections with Elaine to pull her in, and when Missy alienated her ally Karishma Patel, the latter now wanted to target Missy as well. At Tribal Council, Tommy, Elaine, and Karishma came together to blindside Missy, sending her to the jury.
At the Reward Challenge on Day 31, Tommy got to see his girlfriend Nicole as part of the Family Visit. Tommy and Janet won the subsequent challenge and brought their allies Dan and Lauren with them on the reward, but alienated the other half of the tribe in the process. When Lauren won the next Immunity Challenge, Tommy and his allies attempted to pull in Elaine and Dean Kowalski to split their votes between Karishma and Noura in case Karishma had a Hidden Immunity Idol. Unbeknownst to them, however, the alliance of Dean, Elaine, Karishma, and Noura targeted Tommy to split up his alliance with Lauren. At Tribal Council, Dean whispered to Tommy that he was the target, angering Noura, and setting off a frantic scramble that eventually resulted in Karishma's elimination.
The following morning, Tommy and Janet went looking for a Hidden Immunity Idol, which Janet found and revealed to Tommy. When Dean returned from the Island of the Idols on Day 34, he revealed to Tommy, Dan, and Lauren that he had obtained an Idol Nullifier, prompting Tommy to tell Dean about Janet's idol. Later, Tommy solidified a final three deal with Dan and Dean, planning to take out his supposed ally Lauren at the final four fire-making challenge for being the biggest threat. After Elaine was voted out at the next Tribal Council, however, host Jeff Probst surprised the tribe when he announced that Dan had been ejected from the game for repeated inappropriate touching, forcing Tommy to rethink his plans.
On Day 36, the Lumuwaku tribe relocated to the Island of the Idols, where they were given new buffs by mentors Rob Mariano and Sandra Diaz-Twine. Shortly after Rob and Sandra left the island, Tommy found a clue on his buff and soon deduced that there was an idol hidden somewhere on the island. Since one of the clues was color-based, Tommy asked Dean for assistance due to Tommy being color-blind. Dean, however, deciphered the rest of the clues on his own and located the idol for himself. After Dean won immunity, Janet asked Tommy to get the rest of the tribe to vote for her so that she could use her idol to blindside Lauren. Fearing Janet's ability to make fire, Tommy betrayed his long-time ally and informed Dean and Lauren of Janet's plan, prompting Dean to use his Idol Nullifier to negate Janet's idol, eliminating Janet instead.
The following morning, Tommy attempted to convince Noura to take him to the end in case she won the Final Immunity Challenge by lying to her about not being able to make fire. When Noura did indeed win the Final Immunity Challenge, she announced her intention to take Tommy to the end and for Dean and Lauren to face off in the fire-making challenge. He then spent the day helping Dean make fire, and got Noura to distract Lauren from practicing her fire-making skills. That night at Tribal Council, Noura saved Tommy, while Dean defeated Lauren in the fire-making challenge, leaving Tommy, Dean, and Noura as the Final Three.
At the Final Tribal Council, Tommy explained to the jury that he used his social game to control his fate and the flow of the game. He, however, was questioned over not winning challenges and only focusing on the social aspect, instead of focusing on all aspects of the game. While he explained that he threw a lot of challenges so that he would not be voted out, he was also criticized over his supposed lack of big moves, especially compared to Dean. Tommy and Dean both made attempts to downplay each other's games, with Tommy arguing that Dean didn't do anything with his advantages and rode coattails most of the game. Ultimately, Tommy's strong social game prevailed over Dean's late game bloom and Noura's perceived emotional decisions, and he was awarded the title of Sole Survivor in a 8-2-0 vote.
|Tommy's Voting History|
| Voted Against|
|1||Vokai Tribe Immune|
|3||Vokai Tribe Immune|
|4||Vokai Tribe Immune|
|5||Vokai Tribe Immune|
|7||Vokai Tribe Immune|
| Jury Votes|
| Elaine, Jack, Jamal, Janet,|
Karishma, Kellee, Lauren, Missy
|Sole Survivor, Day 39|
^1 In Bring On the Bacon, Karishma used a Hidden Immunity Idol, negating Tommy's vote against her. Also, the vote ended with a 1-1-0 tie between Elizabeth and Janet, forcing a revote. Tommy voted for Elizabeth on the revote.
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- Tommy is the first castaway since Natalie White to become the Sole Survivor without winning an individual Immunity Challenge or possessing or using a Hidden Immunity Idol or any other type of advantage.
- Tommy is the first castaway after the introduction of the modified version of the final four format to be taken by the winner of the Final Immunity Challenge to the Final Tribal Council and become the Sole Survivor.
- Tommy is currently the youngest winner by date of birth.
- With his win, Tommy became the 5th consecutive male winner in a row, breaking the previous record of four male winners in a row.
Edge of Extinction
|Sole Survivor |
Island of the Idols
| Succeeded by|
Winners at War
|Survivor: Island of the Idols Castaways|