Challenge Vendettas Player Preview: Sylvia Elsrode

It was eleven months ago I was writing about Sylvia in preparation for her appearance on the Challenge Invasion. As a rookie, it was hard knowing what to expect from her. She entered the show with a bang. On the first episode of Invasion, she dove into the ocean naked with Shane, competed in a challenge, and “turned” on her Skeletons family. After voting for Tony to go into elimination and staying with the majority after the first challenge, it led to a schism between her, Nicole, and Tony. Nicole berated her by calling her a snake, and Tony blurred out Sylvia’s face on a cast photo for Invasion four months later, still upset over the situation.

Was Sylvia wrong for her turning on her “friends”? To start off, she was on a Real World season with them, and basically had one ride or die (Violetta). The rest were people she lived with. Sylvia instantly connected more with Shane, Ashley, and Amanda than she ever did with any of her Skeleton cast mates and is friends with them to this day. Even off the show, the Lavender Ladies alliance is alive and well. She made a game move that ended up back firing a bit for the game-sake, but it still ended up positive.

Sylvia’s elimination win against Kailah during Invasion has to be one of the great all time upsets in Challenge history. It’s not because Sylvia was seen as a bad competitor and Kailah was this amazing talent, it was because at that point in the game, Sylvia seemed mentally checked out. She was able to sneak by LaToya in an elimination the week before, but Kailah as a competitor is on a completely different level on the physical spectrum. Watching Sylvia turn on the switch in her elimination with Kailah and never give up showed she had an incredible amount of heart. When Sylvia’s back is up against the wall her brain goes into survival mode and she fights. Certain competitors don’t do well in challenges because the stakes are too low. The elimination arena is where the game becomes real, and you must play for yourself.

If Sylvia could gather that same amount of fight and drive consistently in the daily missions, she could have a great showing on Vendettas.

Skills & Physical Strength: She was never in bad shape; Sylvia always looked good. However, since Invasion she has gotten in much better shape and is looking stunning.

She will be turning heads with her looks and will be doing better in competitions.

Standing around 5'5, Sylvia played sports growing up like most people. She never did at a high level, and even though she’s gotten in better shape, she probably can’t lift a ton of weight or do ninja warrior type activities. Still, she has improved for when it comes to stuff like cardio and functional fitness. She won’t be dominating competitions. The goal for Sylvia is to be in the middle of the pack. Her best game could be staying under the radar. And she needs to never finish in last. After people questioned her abilities on Invasion, finishing last would only pour gasoline to the Sylvia is weak fire.

Mental, Social, & Political Game: The mental portion of this game is the most difficult for Sylvia. She can do puzzles and is quite intelligent. What is tough is mentally pushing one’s self to go farther in challenges when your brain knows that you’re probably not going to win. Sylvia flat out sucked in multiple daily missions on Invasion. As mentioned before, Sylvia doesn’t try her hardest until she is moments away from going home. Like a procrastinating student, she needs to treat every day like it’s finals week and push hard to win. Then again, she also does these shows for fun, so it might not matter at all.

Her social and political game might be weak because her two female best friends (Amanda and Ashley) are taking a break this season. She has enemies from past seasons (Nicole, Kailah, and Tony). Her best friend in the house is Shane, who consistently looks out for himself over others. Sylvia needs to be a social butterfly and make some friends in order to have any type of political power in the house.

Eliminations & Winning Potential: Winning an elimination already sets you up to do even better the next time. They are high pressure situations that some people have the stomach for, and others don’t. Good competitors have crumbled in the elimination arena. Sylvia has thrived in those situations. A good performance for Sylvia would be making it to the halfway point having seen no eliminations and not losing to anyone perceived as weaker than her. If Sylvia lost to Jemmye or Natalie, it would be a bad season for her. Don’t go out losing to a bad player.

In terms of her chances of winning….They are almost non-existent. With news that there will be only be one winner this season, this is not Sylvia’s game to win. She struggled mightily in the mini final on Invasion. Even in improved shape, she isn’t ready to run a final yet. There is a path for Sylvia to make the final and make money. She needs to do average in the challenges, wait for the fat to be trimmed, and then hope for Kailah and Cara Maria to go to war against each other. Let the powerhouses fight each other, sneak under the radar and take their spot in the final.

Final Score: 72/100

25 years old. I blog about MTV's the Challenge and will dabble into other subjects occasionally. Follow me on Twitter for the occasional bad joke.