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Two-time champ Sandra Diaz-Twine competed on Survivor 40: Winners at War in the quest for her third title. However, after an unexpected turn of events, Sandra ended up on the Edge of Extinction. She then chose to raise the white flag and leave the island. Host and showrunner Jeff Probst explained why her decision did not shock him.

Sandra Diaz-Twine Jeff Probst
Sandra Diaz-Twine | Francis Specker

Sandra Diaz-Twine returned for ‘Survivor 40: Winners at War’

After winning Pearl Islands (Season 7) and Heroes vs. Villains (Season 20), the only two-time champ, Sandra Diaz-Twine returned one last time for Winners at War to compete against 19 other former winners.

Initially placed on the Dakal tribe, Sandra helped the eliminations of Amber Mariano, as she felt betrayed by her husband Rob, and Tyson, who mentioned her as a possible vote-out to Yul Kwon.

In a tribe swap, she landed in the majority alongside Kim Spradlin-Wolfe and Tony Vlachos with former Sele members Denise Stapley and Jeremy Collins.

When they lost their first Tribal Council, Sandra realized she had an immunity idol that lost value after that night. Therefore, she struck a deal with Denise, who the rest of the tribe agreed to vote for, and traded her idol for two fire tokens.

The Philippines winner agreed but wanted to exchange one fire token before and afterward. At Tribal Council, Denise played Sandra’s idol on herself, saved Jeremy with the idol she found on the Sele tribe, and single-handedly sent the Queen to the Edge of Extinction.

Sandra Diaz-Twine quit ‘Survivor 40: Winners at War’

Only minutes after arriving at the Edge, Sandra shocked the other castaways when she revealed she would raise the white flag. The two-time champ did not believe she had a chance to beat the others in a physical competition and didn’t want to “suffer for 23 more days.”

In a clip posted by the official Survivor Twitter account, Sandra reminded viewers that she just spent 30 days on the island for the previous season and only spent a couple of weeks at home before returning for Winners at War. While many believe Sandra is still the “queen” and understand why she chose to leave, others think her quit tainted her legacy.

Showrunner and executive producer Jeff Probst talked to Dalton Ross of Entertainment Weekly and admitted Sandra leaving did not surprise him. 

Why Sandra Diaz-Twine quitting did not surprise Jeff Probst

According to Probst, he’s “surprised” people are shocked as they nicknamed the challenge sit-out bench to “the Sandra bench” due to the number of times she doesn’t participate in challenges.

The showrunner also explained, “there was 0.0 chance that Sandra was going to win a challenge against the group of players already assembled on the Edge.” Additionally, he noted that “Sandra does what Sandra wants and Sandra wanted to go home,” so she did.

Unlike several critics, he doesn’t think it “changes her legacy in any way” and still considers her a “legend” who is “connected to so many iconic Survivor moments.”

Because the two-time champ has “said ‘yes’ every single time they called” over the past 16 years, Probst is grateful for her. So, “if Sandra is done, I’m good with that.”

Survivor 40: Winners at War airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. EST on CBS.