Emanuel Neagu was crowned the winner of season 39 of MTV’s The Challenge: Battle for a New Champion during the show’s season finale on Wednesday, February 21. The Survivor România alum took home first place and the $250,000 prize.

Finishing behind Emanuel was Nurys Mateo in second place and Colleen Schneider in third place. The ladies won $60,000 and $30,000, respectively. Corey Lay and Berna Canbeldek rounded out the top five in fourth and fifth place, but did not take home any prize money.

Emanuel, 27, dominated the first part of the final during the February 14 episode. The season finale began with Emanuel having to choose one player to go into an elimination. He chose Nurys, 29. The Are You The One? alum went up against Moriah Jadea, whose name was randomly chosen by Nurys in “The Draw.”

Nurys won two huge eliminations right before the final, sending home four players, and she continued her streak by beating Moriah, 27, in the final. Moriah’s elimination left five contestants remaining for the overnight portion of the challenge. Instead of sleeping, the challengers were given the tedious task of removing tiles from a narrow cage. The three players who finished the fastest were given comfort items to help get them through to the morning once they completed the chore.

After a full night without sleep, day two was a fresh start for the remaining competitors. The race started with a swim and a run to the first checkpoint. They then had to rappel down a mountain before continuing to run to a tangram puzzle. The next puzzle tested the players’ swimming and memory skills, as they had to swim out to study a diagram of Challenge contestants and then recreate the grid on land.

Emanuel held onto his lead throughout this entire part of the competition. The next checkpoint was reminiscent of the elimination challenges that Nurys previously won. The players had to complete tasks at five different stations before they could run to the end of the race. Emanuel struggled with a Sudoku puzzle, which opened things up for the other players. Nurys quickly began collecting flags. However, she ran into some trouble herself at a station that required intense concentration and balance.

In the end, Emanuel finished first and made his way to the finish line, with Nurys finishing close behind. “I’m feeling so honored, so grateful and so blessed that I got the job done,” Emanuel said. “I became a Challenge champion and I’m hooking up my family. My life and my family’s life has changed from now on. I feel like I’m part of a very exclusive family right now. I’m joining the champs family of The Challenge. To be a champion is more than a dream come true. I’m honored.”

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