Challenge Dirty 30 Player Preview: Nelson Thomas

After a strong second place finish in the Challenge Invasion final, Nelson seems set up to do even better next season or have a quick disappointing exit. Last season, I wrote a glowing review of Nelson before the season based off of his social media workout videos that floored me.

I spent too much time comparing him to LeRoy, and I vastly overrated him physically based on his social media videos. However, he still ended up doing well in the Challenge, making a late season push, improving throughout, and being 2 minutes away from winning the final.

Before the season aired, I had thought Nelson was a quiet, more reserved guy, a person who had a bit of temper when push came to shove, but overall a laid back and chill guy. Turns out, he wants the fame, he wants to run the game politically, and he wants to be an alpha. MTV never cared about him before, and it makes sense, he’s not great at interviews, he’s had his stumbles while talking, and doesn’t have the same natural presence that other lead characters do. On Invasion, he was such a big part of the game, they had to put the spotlight on him. Everything that Nelson has is due to hard work.

He entered Invasion as the guy not a lot of fans were aware of, despite it being his second season on the show. In the beginning, Nelson was the lame kid at camp who tried to act cool around new people from the start. Challenge Twitter was quick to sniff that shit out, the No Quitters podcast was hating, Jemmye was hating, and the general consensus was hating. Nelson was forced to see the final Shelter elimination in order to make it into the Oasis. He beat Anthony to get there, and was the male figurehead of the Lavender Ladies alliance, although he was more or less a puppet for Shane, Amanda and Ashley.

Nelson won 3 eliminations to get to the final on Invasion, he beat Dario, Anthony, and won the Bloodbath after snaking Shane and Cory. In all honesty, he would have beat both of those guys in a 1 v 1 tug of war, so it was impressive either way. While the format for Invasion gave Nelson a lot of room to succeed, he still took advantage of it, and almost beat Challenge legend, CT, in his first final. People were upset that Nelson looked mad after finding out that he lost, but in my opinion I enjoyed it. Nelson really wanted to win, and that’s a passion we rarely get these days. It also did not help that TJ told him that the winning difference was 2 minutes, the winner will feel lucky, but the loser will be thinking of literally every place where they could have gotten those 2 minutes.

Here are some:

  • 5 minute time buster put on him during the Beading Challenge
  • the final swim to the finish line
  • when carrying the buckets of weight during the start of day 3, he should have been on the other side of the poles
  • him and Camila turning the completely wrong way in their kayaks when they were in 1st, leading to them falling to 3rd, and an eventual 2nd place finish
  • Nicole taking off her shoes before entering the water, then taking time to tie them again as they got out
  • Nicole not listening to his directions on the pole cinder block puzzles

I came up with all of that in 3 minutes, imagine how much Nelson thought about that for weeks after the Challenge. He’ll be thinking about it until the day he actually wins one.

Nelson views the Challenge as the pinnacle of athletic competition and entertainment. Finally, someone who appreciates the show as much as I do. His most absurd line was when he described winning a Challenge like a Super Bowl Ring. Those two are not on the same level, he feels they are though, and that matters.

Now here’s a review of Nelson as a competitor, as well as his social media handles for reference:

Skills & Physical Strength: Nelson is around 5'9 and 200 lbs. Possibly weighs less, possibly weighs more. His recent Instagram posts show that he is a bit bigger from last season, his arms look way more massive. What’s impressed me about Nelson physically is that he has one of the most trim bodies in the Challenge. Many of these guys come into the Challenge with abs and muscles, while Nelson has an almost chiseled body. He has abs on abs on abs. It’s almost like the joke that his abs create an arrow directly to his dick.

His natural skill level is not very high. He’s the fast kid who cannot catch a football. One of those guys you put on defense, because physically he’s awesome, just misses the small coordination. His fitness and athleticism does not translate directly to the daily missions, those take skill and a decent amount of coordination At the end of the season, he began to do better in missions. For him to do well, it needs to be more strength and muscle, little thought. No ingenuity is needed for Nelson to succeed.

Social & Mental Game: His “boys” are: Dario, Cory, and Hunter. He is friends with Devin, Ashley M., and his ride or die, Amanda. From there he possibly has allies in AYTO people like Britni (same AYTO season) and Simone. After that he has clear enemies in Tony, Kailah, and Jemmye (lot of twitter hate on him). Nelson tries to be one of the guys that is cool with everyone when it comes to partying, but he is clearly more liked by one side that values him more. The “cool kids”, the vets think Nelson is okay, but they would send him down a river to elimination much quicker. He’s not as high on their totem pole.

We know Nelson is bad at puzzles, he was at least able to do the kids puzzle in second day of the Invasion final. In terms of intelligence, Nelson is a bottom tier puzzle person, however, he is top tier when it comes to heart.

I could see Nelson being a target from veterans as someone they want to take out early. They are not super afraid of him winning individual challenges. He is also is not someone they want to see in a late game elimination.

Eliminations: On paper, Nelson has a pretty decent Challenge resume currently. In two seasons, he has a 2nd place finish in the final with a 4–1 elimination record. He still does have not have huge wins in eliminations, he’s never lost to a scrub either. His wins are over Reilly/Jessica, Dario, Anthony, Shane/Cory. His loss is to Jamie/KellyAnne, where they were close to winning, and their style was copied by the other team.

Eliminations are all based on strength and testosterone, Nelson has always brought it when he’s in that stadium.

Final Potential & Endurance: Swimming is not his strong suit. Hoping he has been swimming everyday since getting home from Invasion. Legitimately, swimming is what cost him the win on Invasion more than anything. That final swim to the finish line where they showed a montage is where Nelson probably dropped below CT’s time. Y’all were making fun of the dumb montage, while Nelson was losing out on 85k dollars.

Aside from that, he is built for finals. During the Invasion final, I never saw Nelson being physically swamped. Even CT looked like he was done at times, Nelson had winning on his mind the whole time, and continuously kept pushing through. His motor is insane.

Final Score: 85/100

--

--

--

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.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

I’m Not Writing an Article on Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor Who, or How Groundbreaking (or Devastating)…

Stranger Things Series 3 Review

Press Play: Lovecraft Country makes us question what the true horror is

10 of the Smartest Political Plays in Challenge History

Can’t get any better

“The tales of fantasy-The dragon tales”

Aug 23 BEYOND THE WALL (GoT RECAP)

Editor Peter Hein emotionally connects to audiences with ‘X Factor’

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Allan Aguirre

Allan Aguirre

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.

More from Medium

The Challenge All Stars 3 Player Preview: Veronica Portillo

Fantasy Cast for The Challenge: Ride or Dies

The Nelson Streak (Continued): 0–51 — Real or Unlucky?

The Challenge All Stars 3 Player Preview: Melinda Collins