Watch: 14-Year-Old Jonathan Young on ‘Endurance’ In 2007

Jonathan Young

YouTube 14-year-old Jonathan Young on "Endurance: Fiji" (2007).

29-year-old Jonathan Young has recently become the subject of much discussion in the “Survivor” community, largely because he has emerged as one of the most dominant challenge performers in “Survivor” history, carrying his tribe Taku to victory almost single-handedly on a number of occasions.

What many fans may not know about Jonathan, however, is that “Survivor 42” is not the first time he has journeyed to Fiji to compete in a reality show. Indeed, the Alabama native actually appeared on Discovery’s “Endurance” back in 2007, where he placed third.

Here’s what you need to know:

Jonathan Got Into a Noteworthy Spat With His Partner on ‘Endurance’

During its run from 2002-2008, “Endurance” was widely seen as a “Survivor”-style show for teenagers. The teenage contestants are paired up with someone of the opposite sex, where they are to live in a remote location (in Jonathan’s case, Fiji) and participate in various physical and mental challenges. Then, contestants are eliminated one by one until one pair is left standing to take home the prize of an all-expenses paid vacation with their parents to (another) exotic location.

Jonathan Young competed in the sixth and final season of “Endurance,” entitled “Endurance: Fiji,” which was shot in the summer of 2007, when Jonathan was 14, and released from October 2007 to March 2008. Recently, videos of Jonathan on the show have made their rounds online, largely because of his surge of popularity as a “Survivor 42” contestant.

In one video, in a scene which is highly reminiscent of a recent episode of “Survivor 42” where Jonathan gets into an argument with his 23-year-old tribemate, Maryanne Oketch (which some have interpreted as being misogynistic), Jonathan argues with his partner, 14-year-old Hannah Gross of West Bloomfield, Michigan, after they lose a challenge. In the video, Jonathan, his Alabama accent unmistakable, explains that he frustrated that Hannah didn’t listen to him during the challenge. He tries to reason with Hannah and find a solution to their lack of chemistry as partners, but she pushes back.

“You need to chill out,” Hannah says to Jonathan. “You need to be nice to your partner.”

“Why couldn’t you just catch it?” Jonathan asks.

“Because it slipped! I’m sorry I’m not God, and I didn’t catch all the balls!” Hannah responds. The two then reiterate that the other needs to “chill out,” until it ends with Hannah calling him obnoxious, and Jonathan saying, “Okay, then there’s nothing else to talk to you about,”

In the end, the two placed third.

Jonathan Wanted to Go on ‘Survivor’ to Experience ‘The Real Thing’

In his pre-game interview with Parade, Jonathan, who was 28 during shooting of “Survivor 42,” told the outlet that he started watching “Survivor” right around the time he competed on “Endurance,” which he described as “‘Survivor’ for kids.” He explained that he realized he wanted to go on “Survivor” as soon as he came home, seeing it as “the real thing” versus “Endurance:”

[‘Endurance’] was basically a dumbed-down version of this show. You couldn’t starve us because we were just kids. But I got a taste of what ‘Survivor’ would be like. And when I got home, I immediately was like, ‘I want to do “Survivor.” I want to do the real thing. I want to see how hard it is. I want the challenge’.

Full episodes of “Endurance: Fiji” are available on YouTube, where fans can watch a young Jonathan compete for the vacation prize.

“Survivor 42” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. Eastern on CBS. The three-hour finale airs Wednesday, May 25, 2022.