Jimmy Johnson becomes a 'Survivor'

Former OSU football coach's adventure on the reality show begins Wednesday night.
BY MEL BRACHT, Staff Writer, mbracht@opubco.com Modified: September 14, 2010 at 9:26 pm •  Published: September 14, 2010
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"I said, 'Listen, no jury is going to award me a million bucks. My goal is for one of you to win a million bucks. I am here for the adventure,' " he said. "Now, I can't tell you what the results were, but I was very happy with the adventure."

Johnson did mention that he had lost a substantial amount of weight and has only gained about half of it back, indicating he probably wasn't voted out early.

In the Nicaragua edition, the competitors are divided into two tribes — the Espada, for those who are over 40, and the La Flor, for those 30 and under. Johnson said he was initially was disappointed by the split.

"I was hoping a couple of those 25-year-olds would carry me through some of the challenges," he said.

Johnson said his older group included several athletes, including a swimmer, runner, triathlete and a cyclist, and his team was optimistic about the matchups with the younger team, which included a Miami Dolphins cheerleader.

Comparing the show to football, Johnson said the hardships he endured were much worse than anything he experienced as a player or coach, even demanding three-a-day practices.

Because of time restrictions, he said viewers don't see the long, hard days the competitors endure as they bid for the $1 million top prize.

"You can't see the pouring down rain for the five straight hours in the middle of the night. You don't have a watch. You don't know what time it is. You're cold and shivering and it's raining. And you haven't had a minute of sleep all night. You're just saying, 'I wonder what time is? When is the sun going to come up?'"

Johnson, of course, is prohibited from revealing any of the show's results, but he said he would decline an invitation to return for another installment. One adventure was enough for him.

However, he said his experience helped him understand the conditions that people face in less-developed countries.

"It gives me such an appreciation what a soft bed feels like, a plate of food on the table," he said.

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