Contestants have to pass a psychological exam that proves they are mentally ready for a long and grueling couple of months. But a mental test given in a controlled environment in no way prepares you for the real-life pressure that awaits you once the race begins.
In the 26 previous The Amazing Race seasons, there have never been as many tears in the first leg as there were tonight. We weren’t 25 minutes into the race before Justin from the Green Team started stressing out. Next thing we know, waterworks.
And Justin! You’re from the Bronx! You’re a tough guy! I'm not sure what annoyed people more, the tears or the cockiness that came out of him. Let me clarify: Not only have there never been as many tears in the first leg of the race, but a man has never been the first to spring them. And before you hate on me, I am not against men who cry. It was just... awkward.
Lucky for Justin, he has a strong fiancé who was able to calm him down enough to get his head somewhat back in the game. I get it, Justin. You beat everyone else and won the advantage of getting the one flight that was 30 minutes ahead of everyone else. Except your flight was delayed by 20 minutes and the other team's flight was early by five minutes — so in the end, you guys were only five minutes ahead, not 30. I’d be stressed, too. At least a little. But not enough to cry — yet.
But Justin and Diana prevailed (thanks for the pep talk, Diana!) and got to the first clue stop where they had the option for a Fast Forward. Green Team chooses the Fast Forward and head to a hang gliding spot, where they have to wait because the wind is too high and, therefore, too dangerous to go out. And they wait some more until the guide finally tells them there’s no way they’re flying, it’s too dangerous. So they have to head back to the clue box and pick up their first clue — way behind all the other contestants.
But if you think the Green Team was the only team bubbling up with emotions, you’d be wrong. Team Cheerleaders did nothing to dispel misconceptions about cheerleaders, and Twitter was exploding over it:
They did great all the way up to the Volleyball Challenge, and halfway through it, they had an emotional breakdown over how frustrating it was to be "so close." Girls, the only thing you were close to was the sand as it flew around you from missing shots. This breakdown led them to go back and try the puzzle challenge, and this is where, somehow, the Green Team comes racing in ecstatic to find they actually had a shot in the dark of not losing the first leg, tears and all!
I'm pretty excited for this season of The Amazing Race, and starting off in Rio was awesome. However, I had some side observations beyond the tear-fest:
That’s it for the first leg! See you guys at the next stop!
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