Today, I had the pleasure of speaking with John Vito and Jill from the Amazing Race. The only bad thing about it being that I was hoping to interview them as one of the final three teams. They were wonderful to speak with. Here's what they had to say:
FORT: First up, we have a large Singapore membership, and they're all very depressed that you were eliminated in their country.
Jill: Singapore was so beautiful, we loved every second of it.
John Vito: We got to spend a night in Singapore, the night before the Orchid Garden opened, and it was beautiful, we'd like to go back.
FORT: You two were always so nice to each other on the show. Did you have any fights that we didn't get to see?
Jill: We didn't have any fights. I'm sure if we'd have had any, they would have showed them. We were very lucky to have gotten along really well and to have worked together. We knew that fighting wouldn't help our team.
John Vito: We just figured that putting our heads together would get us much further than butting heads the whole race.
FORT: Using your Fast Forward when all the teams were together seemed like a risky move. What made you decide to use it then?
John Vito: We had seen so many teams get eliminated and still have their Fast Forward. We knew there was a possibility that it would be a non-elimination leg, but we thought it would be much worse if we got eliminated and still hadn't used our Fast Forward.
FORT: There was a lot of speculation on whether it was permitted by the rules for Jill to stay in the boat while John Vito went and retrieved the clue last week. Was there any discussion of that?
Jill: We didn't get penalized or anything, I think because it was only about 20 or so feet up, and you do need to stay approximately in a 20-foot radius. And our crew guys were right in the middle between us, and they were able to get both of us in the shot. And, we didn't hold up the other boat from pulling in, because it had gone back to the other dock - if that was the case, maybe things would have worked out different. But I think that we tried to play the game the best that we could, and did the best we could in the moment.
John Vito: I think it would have been looked at more closely by the Producers if it had effected the outcome, but it didn't.
FORT: The only ethically gray area you ventured into was lying to Teri and Ian about the clue in the haystack. Looking back, do you wish you'd just told them the truth?
Jill: We felt so bad about that, but you know, it was a race, and we were just kind of in the moment, and we should have said 'sorry, we can't tell you,' but you don't think of these things quick enough. We felt so bad about lying to them, but it is a race, and I'm sure that they understand that.
John Vito: At least we didn't tell them to follow us to the ferry.
Jill: We could have taken them with us, and had them never get their clue.
FORT: Jill, we saw you giggling when Flo was telling the airline agent not to sell Andre and Damon tickets. Did you understand what she was saying, and do you think that was right?
Jill: I wasn't sure what she was doing exactly, I knew that she was talking to the ticket agent about getting us on the waiting list, because he had said there were no flights. Flo said 'I'm going to make sure he gets the two of you on, and it doesn't matter what happens to Andre and Damon as long as you're on the waiting list.' But Andre and Damon were right behind us, and they knew what was happening, and they got on that waiting list anyway.
FORT: John Vito, where did the Vito come from, and are you picky about people including it?
John Vito: I'm not picky. Vito is my grandfather's name, and John is my father's name. In Italian, it's Gianvito, and my parents just Americanized it. It's "John Vito", just the way you saw it on the bottom of your screens each week, and I'm definitely not picky. At school and work, I go by 'John', and my friends call me 'Vito', just because there are so many Johns in our group of friends. It's just like I have 3 names, and I respond to all of them.
FORT: John Vito, at the crossbow challenge, you had to shoot left-handed because you couldn't wink with your left eye. Why not?
John Vito: Actually, I could see better out of my left eye, which meant I would have to shoot the crossbow lefty, and that was a problem for me. Something that may have been edited differently on TV was that I hit the apple in 4 or 5 shots - it's not like I was there all day actually shooting the arrows. We just had a little bit of a problem with the guy loading the crossbow.
Jill: He didn't speak English, and he was a little slow, so it put us back a little bit. But we tried to stay positive about it, and not get frustrated.
John Vito: People keep asking me why I was standing around so much, why I wasn't just shooting the crossbow. They don't understand, I had to wait for the instructor to load the crossbow. I caught an unlucky break there in having an instructor that didn't speak English, but that's just part of the race - just like when you jump in a cab, you may get a driver who knows where he's going, or you may get one that doesn't.
Jill: But we got lucky with the non-elimination, so it worked out fine anyway.
FORT: Jill, were you just winded, or was it relief at not being eliminated when you arrived on the mat in Switzerland?
Jill: The air was so thin, and we had been running so much - the whole day we spent running, from when we first checked out in Fussen. We had to run downhill, and then uphill again to the pitstop, and I completely lost my wind. And I was holding my breath until Phil told us. And as soon as Phil told us we weren't eliminated, I tried to let out aire, and I couldn't breathe. So the guys got my pack off, got me some water, and helped me kneel down. And I was fine, but I think it was more me getting winded from the race than anything.
FORT: Did you get to speak with your families, like the rest of the teams?
Jill: We did, and it was so great. We were so upset that everyone didn't get to see it on TV. We got to speak to both our moms, and they filmed us and even filmed our mothers. We couldn't wait to see it on air, and we were so upset that they didn't show it. After we checked in on the mat, and we had come in first at the pitstop, they handed us the clue with the cellphone, and told us we could call home. I guess they had so much footage, they couldn't fit it in. But we did get to call home, and we were so happy.
John Vito: And they did put a time limit on our call, like the other teams. They just gave us a couple of minutes.
FORT: Are you engaged yet?
John Vito: Not yet, but we're working on it.
FORT: That sounds like kind of an evasive answer.
Jill: If you gave us a million dollars, we'd have a lot easier time getting engaged.
FORT: One last thing. You both are in excellent shape, and everyone is wondering how much each of you can bench press?
Jill: I bench press 65 pounds, and I'm very proud of it.
John Vito: I have bench pressed 335 pounds.
Jill: That's so funny!
FORT: Thank you both for taking the time to speak with us this morning. Jill, the members of the site would like you to know that your brother would be very proud of you both for your performance on the show.
Jill: That is awesome, thank you so much!
John Vito and Jill have a web site at www.johnvitoandjill.com. If you'd like to comment on this interview, you can e-mail me at email@example.com. Please be aware that I am not in regular contact with the contestants, and cannot forward e-mails on to them. Thank you CBS and the Amazing Race production staff for the interview as well.