Meet "Survivor" contestant Josh Wilder from Springdale
The 2006 Princeton High School graduate was a member of the Vikings' water polo and swim teams.
Update at 10 a.m. Wednesday Feb. 1: Greater Cincinnati's newest Survivor castaway Joshua J. Wilder grew up in Springdale, where he worked many summers as a lifeguard, instructor and coach, and swam competitively at the Springdale Community Center.
In CBS' Survivor cast announcement Tuesday, the show listed his hometown as Cincinnati. But Wilder's profile for his surgical podiatrist job at Atlanta's Ankle & Foot Centers of Georgia says he was "a native of Pittsburgh, PA, with an upbringing in Cincinnati, OH."
When I asked Survivor publicists for information about his Cincinnati childhood and local connections
Wilder responded with this explanation:
"My family and I moved to Cincinnati, OH from Pittsburgh, PA when I was 5 yrs old. We moved to the northern suburbs of Springdale where my two brothers and I attended Springdale Elementary.
"I was always flying back and forth between PIttsburgh and Cincinnati to see my pediatric nephrologist due to my life threatening chronic kidney condition. I underwent a kidney transplant when I was 9 years old where I spent a month at the UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) Children's Hospital.
"When I came back to Cincinnati following the procedure, I had to be isolated for 3 months due to the immunosuppression medication and could not enroll back into school for three more months. Therefore, my 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Rolfes from Springdale Elementary, homeschooled me during this time so I didn't fall behind.
"I began swimming competitively in 7th grade at Princeton Junior High School and during the summer months at Springdale Community Center. I worked as a lifeguard, swim instructor and swimming coach at the Springdale Community Center from 7th-12th grade during the summer as well.
"I was enrolled in all advanced courses throughout high school and was very athletic. I was a member of the swim team and water polo team and went to the state championships in both sports my senior year of high school.
"I graduated in 2006 from Princeton High School and moved back to Pittsburgh, PA, where my family lived, and I enrolled in Washington and Jefferson College for undergraduate studies."
Original post 4 p.m. Tuesday Jan. 31: At 34, Cincinnati native Joshua J. Wilder has survived two serious health scares, so he's ready to tackle Survivor, CBS' long-running reality competition show.
"I grew up in Ohio as a Black gay man. I survived medical school. I survived a kidney transplant. I survived cancer. So with all that you have to take negative situations and turn them into positive outcomes, which is going to be beneficial in Survivor," says Wilder in his biographical video released by CBS Tuesday.
"So this whole experience is what I've been waiting for and living for my entire life. And, of course, I'm going to win! I'm going to win Survivor. I'm your next sole Survivor of season 44," says Wilder, an Atlanta surgical podiatrist for the Ankle & Foot Centers of Georgia.
Wilder will be one of 18 contestants competing for $1 million on Fiji on Survivor, which premiers 8-10 p.m. Wednesday, March 1. His competition includes Matthew Grinstead-Mayle, 43, a Columbus barbershop owner.
Neither Wilder's CBS bio or LinkedIn profile mentions his high school. There's also confusion about his birthplace: CBS lists Wilder's hometown as Cincinnati, but his Ankle and Foot Centers bio says that he's "a native of Pittsburgh, PA, with an upbringing in Cincinnati, OH."
In his CBS video, Wilder says that "the specialty of podiatric surgery prepares you for survivor because in the operating room you have to always be ready for the unexpected, which is exactly what Survivor is about.
"I'm not going to tell people my profession. I don't want them to think I'm strategic or smart, because I'm already going to look like a threat (flexing muscles) because of my athleticism," he says. "But I can outlast all my competition."
The cast members will be divided into three tribes of six. The CBS release says they will "face a faster, more dangerous season from the moment they step on the beach. The moral dilemmas and mysterious new layers of this complex game will push even the strongest competitors to their limits, and the mental and physical challenges require players to constantly adjust their strategies in order to make it another day."
The competitors include a NASA engineering student, software security engineer, salon owner, law student, elementary school teacher, insurance agent and a New York City firefighter,
Wilder earned a BA in biology and biological sciences from Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, Pa., east of Pittsburgh in 2010. He graduated from Kent State University College of Podiatric Medicine in 2016. Wilder did a residency at Allegheny Health Network in Pittsburgh (2016-19), and a surgical/clinical foot and ankle fellowship with Emory Healthcare in Atlanta (2019-20) before joining the Foot & Ankle Centers.