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January 14, 2003

'Amazon' Has First Deaf Survivor

From: - 14 Jan 2003

Tue, Jan 14, 2003 00:17 AM PDT

by Brill Bundy
Zap2it, TV News

LOS ANGELES ( - It remains to be seen whether or not the girls of "Survivor: The Amazon" will be able to channel the spirits of the warrior women who tread the ground before them, but one contestant had more obstacles than merely mastering female bonding.
Christy Smith, the 24-year-old children's adventure guide for the Aspen Camp School for the Deaf, is hearing impaired herself. Only capable of hearing the most minimal of sounds, she gets by primarily through lip-reading, leaving her at a definite disadvantage late at night around the campfire.

"Survivor" host Jeff Probst says that during the show's last interview with Smith they asked her if she thought it was fair for them to cast her. After giving it some thought, she replied, "No, but life's not fair." A statement Probst says sums up her entire approach to the experience.

The other 15 castaways weren't briefed as to Smith's condition, so that she could decide when, or even if, she wanted to share it. Probst says in the end the decision to include her came down to the basic premise of the game -- how are 16 random people going to get along with one another.

"Yeah, it will be tough for her, but I think it will be a good experience for her, and, hopefully, for the other people to see what it's like to have to go the extra mile when you're really competing against somebody. How much of a hand will you give them?"

"Survivor: The Amazon" premieres Thursday, Feb. 13 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS with a special 90-minute episode.