What you didn’t see. Tyson ApostolIs open to sharing his thoughts about his time The Challenge: USAHe quit the final with his competitors after a Sudoku puzzle without instructions tripped him up.
The Survivor: Blood vs. WaterThe winner spoke only to Us WeeklyWhat was going through his mind at that time, and what conversations he was having about it with the production team.
“When it comes to Sudoku, they’re not letting us time out,” Tyson tells Use. “And so, I just have to quit. I’ll try to do this Sudoku. I’ve never played it before. I know the premise and I’m gonna try one time. It’s taken me a while. I didn’t get it. They’re like, ‘That’s incorrect.’ I was like, ‘OK, well I don’t know what else to do.’ And they’re like, ‘Well, we can’t do the puzzle for you.’ And I was like, ‘I’m not asking you to do the puzzle for me.’ I’m just saying I can’t do it because I don’t know how to do this. They were like shoulder shrug and then I quit.”
He adds, “And apparently, there were some arguments about whether or not they were gonna let me time out. I was sobbing and a lot of people from production came in to tell me they were sorry. Like, ‘We’re sorry that happened to you.’”
There seemed to be several inconsistencies about whether you could time out of the tasks, as some people did but then others weren’t allowed.
“You’d ask about the rules and somebody would be like, ‘Yeah, that is the rules.’ And then you’d be like, ‘Show them to me’ and they’d be like, ‘They’re in my head,’” Tyson explains. “And you’d be like, ‘OK, well, and there’s not a lot in there so I’m assuming they’re easy to find.’ But yeah, it was definitely … it was weird. It was definitely strange. It was a strange feeling. After that happened, I told a lot of people, I was like, ‘That was the worst couple days of my life,’ and not because it was miserable.
As for whether fans will see Tyson return for this much-talked-about “World Championship” season on Paramount+, the Utah native tells Use, “They’ve already called me for both and I’ve already passed them both up. Multiple times. Many, many times. Easily 10 phone calls.”
Scroll down to read Tyson Apostol’s complete interview.
Us Weekly: I don’t even know where to start. Let’s start with the Sudoku puzzle because that’s where you and Dom [Abbate]Justine [Ndiba]Cayla [Platt]All of them quit. What was the duration of your work and what were your instructions?
Tyson Apostol:The instructions were exactly what you saw on your screen. It said “finish the pattern.” And at this point, I’m looking, like, “Is this a joke?” They must have been instructed to not talk us at all in this moment. So I’m like, “OK, well I know the premise of Sudoku, but I never played Sudoku.” I know that there’s the nine cube and the cross and the down, but I’ve never played. I believe I was at that puzzle for 20-30 minutes before Danny showed up.
I was there for at least an hour afterward. Dom then showed up. He had never played or didn’t even know the premise of Sudoku and neither had Justine. And when “finish the pattern” is your instruction, that’s a very difficult thing to figure out. But it’s on me. I don’t know how to play Sudoku. I easily could have won this thing if I would’ve taken the time on airplane screens to play Sudoku instead of watch movies.
Us: Let’s talk about the timeout inconsistencies though. Why did Sarah and Justine choose to leave? [Lacina] time out on their puzzles but you couldn’t on this one? Angela was able to timeout. [Rummans]’ decision to not dig?
TA: Yes. Angela went to sleep because of that. That was it. And she said it. She was like, “I’m going to sleep. I can’t win this.” So basically, each pairing had to move a pile of gravel from one side of the field to the side of the field. Then, the other side. And they said, “OK, because you’re by yourself, you have to move two-thirds of the original pile, which mathematically, if you have two people moving a pile and one person moving another pile … so already she has to move more than each individual person would by herself. Plus, she doesn’t take any breaks. And so she just was like, “I’m gonna time out.” Justine timed out of the last one instead of them making her run back and figure out her decoding situation. She and Dom then timed out of her first puzzle. That was weird too because even with Cayla’s thing, like, they forced her to eat the onion and I thought they were just gonna time her out and then they didn’t. They were like, “if she doesn’t finish eating the onion, she’s done.”
Us: Interesting. Justine had to remember 10 numbers, even though she was only allowed one portion of the food. It seemed like the rules weren’t always the same.
TA: Right. Justine’s was insane. It was amazing that she could remember those 10 numbers. Cayla didn’t have to eat two onions, right? This was how it all went. It was just, like, you’d ask about the rules and somebody would be like, “Yeah, that is the rules.” And then you’d be like, “Show them to me” and they’d be like, “They’re in my head.” And you’d be like, “OK, well, and there’s not a lot in there so I’m assuming they’re easy to find.” But yeah, it was definitely … it was weird. It was definitely strange. It was a strange vibe. After that happened, I told a lot of people, I was like, “That was the worst couple days of my life,” and not because it was miserable.
Us: Right, I mean, I’m assuming you could survive the elements.
TA: The elements were perfect. When it comes to Sudoku, they’re not letting us time out. So, I have to give up. I’ll try to do this Sudoku. I’ve never played it before. I know the premise and I’m gonna try one time. It’s taken me a while. I didn’t get it. They’re like, “That’s incorrect.” I was like, “OK, well I don’t know what else to do.” And they’re like, “Well, we can’t do the puzzle for you.” And I was like, “I’m not asking you to do the puzzle for me.” I’m just saying I can’t do it because I don’t know how to do this. They gave me a shrug and I quit. There were arguments about whether they would let me time out. I was sobbing and a lot of people from production came in to tell me they were sorry. Like, “We’re sorry that happened to you.”
Use: I listened your podcast and you mentioned Sarah timing out on the hexagon puzzle.
TA: She did. She certainly did. And I wasn’t there – this is hearsay only – in a much quicker amount of time than I spent at Sudoku.
Us: Interesting. Before you quit, were you talking to a lot of producers? Did you all quit together? Did they try to convince you to stay?
TA: No, I just saw that they weren’t gonna explain to them how to play Sudoku or what to do, and they had had it. And so at that point, I was like, if you guys are quitting then I can’t get any further on this puzzle too. So yeah, I’m quitting too. And there was a moment of tension with production there as they were like, “We don’t even know how to do this.” It was kind of like a heated moment with production. And then I was like, “I’m not even giving you guys the …. I’m done too. I’m done, I’m done with this whole thing.”
Use: And I’m assuming once you saw Danny [McCray] finish the puzzle and leave, you were like, “OK he’s he’s gonna win anyway.”
TA: Yeah, when he left and there had been a certain amount of time passed, I was just like, “Ah, he’s won. We’re too close to the top here.” So yeah, that was also part of it. But no matter how long I would’ve spent on the Sudoku, I don’t think I would’ve gotten it.
Us: Talk to Sarah. What did you think of her not realizing she had won and Danny telling her?
TA:She was so far behind. Sudoku took me an hour. Sarah wasn’t even there yet. She was the slowest up the hill. It wasn’t even just for the puzzle that she spent time and had the timeout, she was the slowest up the hill the entire way. She was dead last. She was in the last place when she reached the puzzle. So it was funny and because of that, nobody was even at the Sudoku puzzle by the time she got there, because we’d either all been shuffled off or Danny had gone on to the top. So when she got to the Sudoku, I didn’t see a video of her even finishing that.
Us: Yeah, she had some words about Angela not doing the digging, but she seemingly didn’t finish some things either? Did you speak with her after the final Did she seem surprised that you guys had quit?
TA: I don’t know. I guess for Sarah, I’m sure she’s very, very proud of herself and very, very happy that me and Angela didn’t win. But that’s all I can assume. I mean I think on Instagram, she already got on and was like, “Angela’s a quitter. I’m showing everybody how strong you can be as a lady cop.” And so I’m sure that’s happening somewhere.
Us: What do you think about some of the original Challenge fans on Twitter who are saying that you and these other CBS personalities “can’t handle” The ChallengeAnd the final, or anything else.
TA: I mean, the people who are tweeting that, if they basically can’t understand what’s going on just by watching the show, I already know that their capacity to comprehend isn’t worth my time. Sometimes if they say, like, the exact right words, I’ll be like, “OK, let me think of a comeback for this guy for a second.” And then after a little while I’m like, “Oh no, I’m already over it.” But yeah, they weren’t there. I have nothing to prove. I already know how strong and adept I am at this sport. And so, for me, it’s really doesn’t faze me. It’s like, “OK, I don’t know how to do Sudoku. I couldn’t do Sudoku. And that’s the thing that beat me? It was me. I defeated myself.” So like, yeah. OK, cool.
Use: I was also asked by many people about your gloves. I know this was mentioned on your podcast, but did they not prepare the men for each leg of this?
TA: I don’t think they thought it was gonna be this cold. They give us warm clothing when we arrive for the first leg. We get through it and then we’re freezing, so they give us this winter jacket. They were just going to Walmart or something and buying things and then bringing them back. They had a hard time finding any shoes in Danny’s size. They finally came up with snowsuits, snow pants, and they were all the same size. So the girls had to tie knots in them and the guys had to wear them open with the fly open, because they wouldn’t fit around the guys’ waists and stuff. You weren’t allowed to not have your clothes and then have them on a different leg. Sarah and me, on the eating leg dropped our winter jackets, realizing that it was going to be a run. It was freezing cold when we finished. It was a cold, fall-like temperature. And when we stopped, we were freezing, and they were like, “No, you have to carry. If you want that jacket, you gotta carry it.” Which, fine. That’s fine. That’s fine. Survivor, if you don’t need something during a challenge, you set it off to the side and it makes its way back to you. This is where you must not put your clothes down as someone will take them.
They told us to wear these snow clothes on the next leg and we ran. Everyone was covered in sweat and they made us wait for so long. Some of it may have to do with lighting and timing for nighttime stuff, or whatever. Those were the most uncomfortable parts. They included the waiting outside for a production person to tell you that it would only take five minutes. There were so many of them. There’s gotta be a listing for Bunim/Murray that’s like, “Can you with a cheerful attitude say it will be “just five more minutes” for six hours straight?
Use: The person who hated their life on that day.
TA:I know. And I felt so bad for them and they were so cheery, and you could see on their face that they were like, “I know this is wrong.” And you wanted to believe them and you were like, “Maybe this is really the five minutes.”
Us: I know that we need to wrap up soon but was there anything that you learned during filming, or even while you were watching that was surprising you?
TA:It’s not true. I was constantly monitoring the pulse. I knew what was happening in the house and I knew, like, even if people didn’t come out and say it, I knew who didn’t like me and who liked me. And so I assumed that some people would be saying stuff, but I think in general, I mean, I don’t think there’s anything that I was like, “Ohhhhh.” I drove the game from day one and the most anybody could do against me was myself losing at Sudoku or Dom being like, “Oh, Tyson doesn’t get his way here.” And I’m like, “I already made my way to the final bro. I don’t know why you think I’m so affected by this part?”
Us: Did Angela win the first daily challenge and set the tone for you two working together?
TA: Yeah, definitely. At that point, we were like, let’s keep everybody with the money in an alliance to protect the money. This way, we defeat the algorithm and can then sell it to others. As soon as somebody wins a challenge, we can go to them and be like, “Listen, we have this setup with everybody who’s won money. If you promise not to go against anybody with money, they’ll do the same for you. We’re all in this thing together. You’ve earned your money. Let’s all get to the final.” And that was the only way to combat the algorithm. So as a new couple would win, you’d go in and be like, “Hey, just a heads up. If you oppose anyone with money, everyone with money will come for you. So the smart thing is just to stick with the money people.” And that worked for about three quarters of the way through very easily.
Use: I think I know the answer but if they call you for this “World Championship,” are you saying yes or passing?
TA: They’ve already called me for both and I’ve already passed them both up. Multiple times. Many, many times. You can make 10 calls.
Us: Oh wow. You’re not done with reality TV forever though. Are you ready to take on reality TV?
TA: I don’t know. I mean, who knows? I can’t do it twice a year for sure. That’s too much time away from my family. Never say never. I won’t be there in October, but maybe two years down the road, I’ll be like, “Well, let’s see how it is now,” but I don’t envision myself doing that. But also, you can’t rule it out completely.