The Challenge

Frank Sweeney: What is His Challenge Legacy?

Frank Sweeney is one of the greatest wild cards in Challenge history. Was his only win a fluke?

Each season, we see some of the Challenge veterans and greats make returns. Then, there are some people who don’t have a huge Challenge resume but have some great feats.

Perhaps one of those people is Frank Sweeney from Real World: San Diego. He’s best known for winning his first season, never formally losing an elimination, and being involved in a lot of fights.

After three consecutive seasons, he stopped showing up and we never saw him compete again. This left viewers with a decent sample of performances, but a lot to be desired.

Frank won his first season, Battle of the Seasons. While this is an impressive feat, most people would argue this is the least impressive season to win as a rookie. There were very few veterans, and he was part of a massive alliance.

There would be merit to this claim, especially because most of the big Challenge names were absent from Battle of the Seasons. On the other side, his alliance was most his own doing, and he was viewed as a ringleader in the Rookie Revolution. He had to work to maintain it, and there were some people who turned on Team San Diego. Frank then won in the final elimination of the season and continued the winning streak in the final.

Of course, Battle of the Seasons also showed us how argumentative Frank can be. He fought with a lot of people and made a few enemies. Many viewers believed Frank was cocky and rude. Is that an accurate statement? Kind of, but he did back up his cockiness at the end of the season.

Then, he was paired with Bananas on Rivals 2. Viewers called this the fakest rivalry ever because Frank and Bananas only had fights on Twitter. On the other side, this also demonstrated Frank’s importance in the franchise. Production probably wanted Frank to be a big name on the show, so they paired him with one of the biggest names in the game.

To the surprise of many viewers, Frank did really well this season. In many cases he outperformed Bananas. While he did have a few fights, he also became close with veterans like Bananas, Paula, and Emily. This helped Frank get all the way to the end without seeing a single elimination.

He came in second, proving he is a solid competitor. The next time we saw Frank was on Free Agents. He was ejected from the game after getting sick, so he only competed in two challenges. He also went into both of the first elimination and beat Chet and Dustin. Prior to this season he didn’t have a whole lot of eliminations under his belt. This season strengthened his resume in an area where he lacked experience.

Frank also appeared as a Mercenary on Vendettas. He lost to Brad, but this doesn’t really count. He had no real incentive to win.

As a competitor, Frank never really got a reputation as an underdog. He won his first season, but it was a season full of rookies. Then, he was paired with a super vet on his second season. Most competitors who achieved his level of success on their first or second seasons would be viewed as underdogs. Not Frank. There were valid reasons he didn’t fit that mold.

Frank did so well because he’s one of the most well-rounded competitors. He’s strong, but he’s not the strongest. He’s fast, but he’s not the fastest. He’s smart, but he’s not the smartest. When you face Frank in a competition, there’s a good chance you’ll lose unless you are the strongest, smartest, or fastest.

Someone who’s well-rounded will do will in the random competitions we on The Challenge. Seldom do we see competitions that are pure strength, speed, or smarts. Usually the competitors require a combination of skills, and this is where competitors do well.

For this reason, Frank will do well if he returns. There’s very little that can derail his game. That said, he is not unbeatable. He could lose in the right environment, but he’s capable of thriving in most environment.

I would love to see Frank come back. I am sure he has matured, but I believe he is still in shape and would play a crafty game. I think he would be able to navigate the new landscape of the show and probably make plenty of new friends and enemies. When he was on The Challenge, he was turning into a dangerous wild card. He took people out when the odds were against him, and he is still capable of doing this.


  1. Frank has said in interviews that he is open to coming back under the right circumstances. Apparently, he has been campaigning to get on Survivor.

  2. this is not to be mean or judgmental at all but just an observation but i think frank has aspergers.

    i guess i feel a little bad b/c i rarely watch these shows but i think i tried watching his rw season 5ever ago but went online and griped about the show specifically him and i’m sorry.

    i have realized over the years i prob have aspergers myself and yknow what that doesn’t even matter so nvm i’m going to leave now. btw i only use the labels and i don’t really take psychiatry very seriously b/c it’s so corrupt

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