By Gordon Holmes
Fri, 12 Dec 2008 18:55:39 GMT
In a season that Jeff Probst called “Good vs. Evil,” perhaps nobody rubbed more people the wrong way than Crystal Cox. We had an opportunity to sit down with the 2004 Olympic gold medalist (who is currently in L.A. awaiting Sunday’s finale show) to get her thoughts on Sugar, Corinne, Randy, and how she performed in the physical challenges.
Channeling Jack Bauer for a second: The following takes place between 9 a.m. and 9:15 a.m. Eastern Standard Time
Gordon Holmes: Crystal, good morning.
Crystal: How are you?
Gordon: I’m good, I’m not up at six in the morning.
Gordon: What time did you get up this morning?
Crystal: Four thirty.
Gordon: When you trained for the Olympics, were those early mornings?
Crystal: Hell no! Our days with training started at like eleven.
Gordon: So, “Survivor” is tougher than the Olympics?
Crystal: “Survivor” is way tougher than the Olympics. Way tougher.
Gordon: Now, the three Bs...what were the three Bs?
Crystal: Brains, beauty, and brawn.
Gordon: We need to add a fourth one to that, cause last night you were blindsided.
Crystal: Exactly, I was blindsided. And my mouth just dropped. Actually, mostly my heart dropped.
Gordon: Do you trace that back to the argument you and Matty had that Sugar witnessed?
Crystal: I think part of it had something to do with that. But, I knew during the whole game that Matty was gunning for me. When him and Ace congregated whatever theory it was they had to vote me off, at that time I knew that I could not trust Matty. But I knew I had to go with my alliance because we were powerful in numbers. And they would tell me, “No Matty, he’s, you know, he’s not against you.” And I had to go with that instead of going with my gut.
Gordon: Now speaking of your alliance, how does a 6’3” Olympic champion partner up with the skinniest video game player of all time?
Crystal: Oh man, I was like his mom out there. I pretty much had to protect him physically, you know, but he was the mastermind and sometimes he’d see things before I did. And we just put our heads together. For us to trust each other as much as we did, I thought was amazing. He was a great player.
Gordon: It’s gotten to the point that he’s lost so much weight that I’m starting to refer to him as “Kenny’s skeleton.”
Crystal: Aww…poor baby. We tried so hard to make him eat out there.
Gordon: And he’s just getting eaten alive out there by bugs.
Crystal: The bugs were really bad. I’d say Kenny and G-C got it the worst. My legs are awful. And with running track, they’re my selling point outside of winning. It’s like, quote/unquote, I’d like to keep my long, elegant legs. And they’re no longer like that. They’re all bitten up.
Crystal: Yeah, I still have some war wounds.
Gordon: Last night, CBS put up a video of you going to the Ponderosa (where booted jury members live) and I felt terrible with the way you were treated by the other jury members. Marcus, Charlie, Corinne, and Randy basically ignored you.
Crystal: I felt terrible myself. I didn’t see it, but it was by far one of the worse rejections I’ve ever had in my entire life.
Gordon: You were only there for three days, but they showed a shot of you and the four of them were facing a table. They wouldn’t even look at you.
Crystal: I was just like, you know what? I have thick skin, and I didn’t really play the game with these people and they were always on the other tribe. So, I was like, “To hell with this, I’m Crystal. I made if farther than you. Game over.”
Gordon: When you were voted off, it was a bit of a shock. At that time were you thinking about how rough things might be for you at Ponderosa?
Crystal: I did not know that they were going to react that way. Honestly I did not know. I thought, “Hey, my game is over, I can get something to eat.” And I really thought that Corinne and I were going to rehash things. Because before her exit we seemed pretty cool. And I thought I’d have somebody to talk to, but it honestly didn’t happen that way. But hey, I’m a big girl.
Gordon: Now, you’ve been portrayed as a villain throughout the show. Do you think you were portrayed fairly?
Crystal: Honestly, people that know me know that I’m not a villain, but I know what has to sell for television. I’m like “Hey, go with it. If it’s going to make you money, and make me money, do what you have to do.”
Gordon: How have people been treating you outside of the game when they see you on the street?
Crystal: Oh my gosh, fans love me. They’re like, “Crystal, I’m so glad you speak your mind and you tell people off.” But the thing is, I try not to be very brash about it. But, like I told Jeff, there’s no gray area, it’s either this or that. I’m just going to say what folks are scared to say.
Gordon: You’re probably going to hear this a lot…but what happened during all of those challenges?
Crystal: Honestly, the challenges were dirt hard. Those challenges are not designed for regular, ordinary training and regular, ordinary play. And, I think mostly with me, I’ve trained my body for the last 20 years to run in a straight line or catch a baton. And the challenges were jumping through hoops, and on the ground, in the mud, in the water. The only time I see water in my training is for therapy.
Gordon: Wait a minute, for Olympic training they don’t make you put together puzzles and run though swamps.
Crystal: I don’t even have to think that hard in running! It’s like you just have to go out there and execute, because if you think too hard in running, you’re going to lose the race because you’re over-analyzing it. This was just a totally different thing to me. I sucked at everything.
Crystal: And then it just became habit for me. Let me just play a social game. Especially last night, we were blindfolded of course, and I looked like a complete dunce out there.
Gordon: OK…Randy. We never saw a starting point for the Randy feud. Was there something that set that off?
Crystal: What set the Randy feud off for the Crystal’s hateration…
Crystal: (Laughs) Yes, hateration…was my alliance with Kenny and G-C. And that was back in day four, and Randy didn’t like it because we were strong in numbers. G-C and Kenny would get food for us, and they were the ones making fire, and Randy didn’t take to keen to that because he wanted to be the leader.
Gordon: Now from what I’ve been hearing is there’s a lot of bad blood heading into the finale. Marcus is upset with you and Kenny, Dan doesn’t like Marcus, Corinne doesn’t like anybody. Have you made your peace across the board or will there be some rumbling?
Crystal: Across the board I’ve tried to make my peace with everyone and tried to reassure them that it was just a game, you’re out there for the experience and the million dollars. But, if you didn’t make it to the end, then we’re all losers. So, I just wanted to let them know to take it for what it is, and somebody had to go home.
Gordon: I think if it gets out of line Sunday, you should stand up and say, “Hey, we’re all losers.”
Crystal: I should tell everyone to “Be quiet, and eat your rice.”
Gordon: (Laughs) That should be a t-shirt.
Gordon: You had the opportunity to blindside Marcus because he knew your cousin…
Crystal: Yes, my cousin and Marcus are best friends.
Gordon: Have you talked to your cousin since then?
Crystal: I have, and he’s at peace with everything. He understands that it’s a game. And from a family point of view, blood is thicker than water.
Gordon: Alright, word association time…Susie?
Crystal: Wood. She collected wood.
Crystal: Troll. (Laughs)
Gordon: What do you take with you from your time in Gabon?
Crystal: From my time in Africa, I learned a lot about myself. Actually seeing it in person, I realize that I am an outspoken person. I credit my mom and dad for that. But, I got to not really worry about the worries of home and bills, and just really focus on Crystal. It was amazing. I definitely want to go back and visit.