“Surviving” Sun and Snow

After competing on the hit CBS show “Survivor,” Noelle Lambert prepares for the Paralympics

Noelle Lambert made it to the final eight on last spring’s season of “Survivor.”

It’s been a busy year for Noelle Lambert.Last spring, the 26-year-old Paralympian and Manchester resident spent several weeks in Fiji competing as the first above-the-knee amputee on the hit CBS reality show “Survivor.” While she was eventually voted off the island and missed out on the $1 million grand prize, she did make it into the final eight — and says she still feels like a winner. “The big reason I wanted to do the show to begin with was to portray a positive image for the amputee community and people with disabilities,” Lambert says. “To show people that we are capable of doing just about every single thing that anybody else can do.”

After appearing on the show, Lambert says she received an outpouring of support from other amputees and people with disabilities, along with their family members. “Even though I didn’t win, I still got the million-dollar experience of touching other people’s lives and having that positive impact on them,” she says.

Lambert’s had plenty of time to reflect on what her “Survivor” experience meant to her since landing back in New Hampshire, but she didn’t have much time to rest. Before going on “Survivor,” she says she made a deal with her track coach: If she did the show, she still had to be ready for the 2022 U.S. Paralympics Track and Field National Championships. After getting home from “Survivor,” she only had a week to train. “My body was mentally and physically exhausted,” she says. “And because I lost so much weight, my prosthetics weren’t fitting right.”

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Lambert’s preparing for the 2024 Paralympics.

She explains that it was both a stressful and helpful time, finally able to take her mind off the reality show. In the months following, she continued to refocus on her training regimen while preparing for world championship competitions in both track and snowboarding — not to mention the 2024 Summer Paralympics.

Reflecting on her “Survivor” experience, she says it felt like a dream. She wasn’t allowed to share any details until after the season aired, and readjusting to life outside of the cutthroat environment on the island — where allegiances can be made and broken in an instant — also took her a bit of time. “You get out of the game and you feel like you can’t trust anyone,” Lambert says. “You’re always monitoring everybody’s facial reactions and body language.”

Despite the competition’s high stakes, Lambert says she remains close with her fellow season 43 castaways. And having grown up watching the show with her mom, who she calls “the biggest diehard ‘Survivor’ fan,” Lambert cherishes receiving a true behind-the-scenes look at the show. “I knew it was going to be very, very difficult for me to actually win ‘Survivor,’” she says. “So just getting to play — that was amazing.”

Categories: People