Today, I spoke with David and Jeff, third-place finishers of The Amazing Race. The poor guys didn't even get to set foot on the mat, but here's what they had to say to us:
Congratulations on making it to the final episode, but kind of a downer that you didn't win it.
Jeff: Yeah, it was, but we've had 6 months to beat each other up and cry, so we're better today.
It didn't seem like you got much airtime on the first few episodes. What did you think of your portrayal?
Jeff: I'd agree with you that for some reason they decided not to show too much of us in the first few episodes. Sometimes it works to your advantage, and sometimes to your disadvantage. Sometimes people tire out with people who are shown a lot early. But I think for the most part, our laid back nature, how focused we were, I think it was accurate, but they could have put a little more humor in there, because we had a good time, and I don't think a lot of people saw that out of us.
It did look like, at the end, you were having a good time.
David: Yeah, we were having a blast. It was very competitive, and fast-paced. You don't even want to eat. We wanted to live it up a little, because we knew it was coming to an end.
It looked like you got along pretty well, both with each other and with other teams. Were there any rough moments that didn't make the show?
Jeff: There was one rough moment they showed, when we were crossing the jungle in Malaysia, where the window was fogging up and we got into a little bit of an argument, but that lasted about five minutes and that was it. I think David and I have shown our personalities, where you clear the air and you move on. So if we did, it didn't last long, because it wasn't anything we wanted to commit any time doing, actually.
You hopped right on that plane to Sydney. Was that planned, or did you just hop on the first flight out, thinking you'd have better luck?
David: The night before, at the aboriginal ceremony, we went to a phone booth and made reservations on about 10 different flights to different places - Singapore, Tokyo, Hawaii, New Zealand, back to the states. After we did the sky-jump, we went to the airport, and when we walked in, we saw the whole production team - Bert, Phil, and a few other producers, getting on a flight going to Sydney about a half hour before the flight was to depart. So, when we went to the ticket agent and started asking about flights, the Sydney flight looked very attractive because production was on it. We thought we'd be traveling ahead of the other teams, with production, and that would be a good thing. She said the flight was sold out. I started going through my tickets, and it just happened that one of the tickets I had was for that flight. So the combination of the flight being sold out plus production being on it, we thought it was going to be a brilliant move. Unfortunately, the exact opposite happened.
Which team(s) did you become closest with, and have you maintained those relationships?
David: We became really close with Chip and Reichen, as well as Jon and Kelly, and also Sister Sledge - Monica and Sheree. And yeah, we've actually stayed quite close with all of them. They're good guys, and we've maintained that relationship.
Jeff: And Russell lives in LA, we see him on occasion. Jon and Al, I've kept in touch with them. They took care of my brother when the circus came through Nashville, gave him the VIP treatment. So, to some degree, everyone has gotten along really well. By virtue of some teams being eliminated early in the race, it was hard to establish a relationship with them too well, though.
Which of these 3 things is most important in the race: luck, map reading skills, or speaking a foreign language?
Jeff: My motto's always been "I'd rather be lucky than good", so I'm going to go with luck.
David: Of the 3? Map reading skills.
Is there something besides those 3 that you would rather say?
David: Yeah, planning. The ability to plan and ferret through multiple options for travel, and decide on the appropriate course of action. And that was Jeff's job, so that was one of our biggest strengths.
Jeff: That's why I would say map reading is important, because I've always been good logistic-wise. But to go along with what David was saying, I'd also say slow down. Read the clue. You don't have to run from point to point. The race isn't really designed so that if you're not running you can't stay in the race. We discovered that about halfway through the race, and once we realized it, we were able to stick with our plan better.
Going along with that, the last 4 seasons of TAR have seen athletic, younger teams in contention for the win. Do you think it's possible for an older or not-so-fit team to be competitive in the race?
Jeff: I would say, and this isn't to be biased, but by virtue of the length of the race, and the fact that you don't get a lot of sleep and you're not eating well, that endurance plays a major factor late in the game. And I think those teams that have good stamina are always going to be a finisher.
David: I think a good combination of a strong mental mind and good endurance is the right combination. I don't think that any good in-shape team can win without a strong mental capacity to complement that.
What was your favorite destination?
David: Mine was Australia. Just because of the natural beauty of the land, and being on the beach, and most of it stood in stark contrast to South Korea. Australia's nice anyway, but when you come there directly from freezing cold South Korea, where no one looks like you, you can't talk to anyone because no one understands you, it magnifies the beauty of a place like Australia.
Jeff: My favorite is different from my most memorable. My favorite was Borneo. It had a tropical feel, and we did some things on the water and on the beach, and then we had a chance to go through the jungle and experience that all in one country.
What was your favorite task you had to complete?
David: My favorite was definitely the dune buggy. That was like a childhood dream. Just getting in that thing and hauling ass through the 11-km course was a blast. And I would love to do that again.
Jeff: For me, it's a toss-up between the skydiving and the Le Mans racecourse.
What advice would you give to teams from the next race?
David: Enjoy it, don't get too stressed out, ask for local help, and stay with the pack.
Jeff: Yeah, I'd say stay with the pack, and don't worry about the other teams. A lot of times you can get hung up on what the other teams are doing, and that's bad.
Whose idea was it to apply for the race?
Jeff: Casting agents.
David: We were in a bar in Santa Monica, and these two girls came up to us and asked us if we'd like to be on a reality television show. We were like "maybe, but we're kind of busy." But we decided to go through the casting process, which involved meeting almost everyone at CBS in one day, and long story short, they chose us to do the race.
So had you see the race before?
Jeff: Yeah, we saw most of TAR1, and almost all of TAR3.
You guys won four trips, and congratulations on that, I think it's a record. Are you planning to spread them out, or go on one whirlwind vacation tour?
Jeff: We know we won them, but we haven't been told any details yet. If that is a record, and that's the first time I've heard that, that's cool. I don't know if it's just the two of us, or if we can bring people, or what. So, it's kind of up in the air.
What tasks did you finish in Hawaii before you were told the race was over?
Jeff: We completed the roadblock, which was at the bay where I had to swim out and grab that rock. In the middle of the night, it was a dark bay, there wasn't a moon out. It was pitch black, and I tried to get David to do it, but it was my turn. So we did that, and we got lost trying to find the road it was so dark, and we got to the lava field. They had glo-sticks marking that trail, and once we got to the clue box, they told us at that point.
Did you ever get a chance to see Phil again, or did you go home directly from Hawaii?
Jeff: We went home straight from Hawaii. But last week, I shot an interview with Phil, where I was a TV Guide correspondent. They reversed the roles, where I was the host and Phil was the contestant. And I made him run through the Hollywood hills looking for a partner for TAR5. A little comical take-off.
Did you get to tell him our favorite phrase, that he was Philiminated?
Jeff: He should trademark that. He loves that. I told him I wanted to hear two things from him. I wanted the line "the world is waiting" because I love that line from the start. The other was a mock elimination. It was pretty funny.
Are you going to have a website?
Jeff: We haven't thought that far ahead.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
David: Having gone to the TARcon party last night, it was really nice to see how much people enjoy the show, and seeing how much people feel like they're a part of it by watching it. I had no idea there was that kind of following or support for the show. I was excited to be a part of it, and I hope it continues on for another season.
Jeff: I'd like to say that too. We probably took a couple hundred photos and signed things. It was nice to hear the support, and people saying "they really didn't show this side of you - you were funny, and great guys."
Thanks to David and Jeff for taking the time to speak with us! If you ever get a website, be sure to let us know where it is.