'The Amazing Race 7' couple Ron Young and Kelly McCorkle finish last, but still win
By Andrea Sellers, 04/27/2005
Sometimes, it isn't the victor who gains the spoils. Despite finishing last on Tuesday evening's CBS broadcast of The Amazing Race 7's ninth leg, Ron Young and Kelly McCorkle gained a prize at the end, sacrificing everything except their passports and the clothes on their back but winning a $20,000 vacation package and comfortable place to relax before beginning the Race's next leg.
The Amazing Race 7's tenth episode began with less than ten minutes separating the four remaining teams as they departed the previous episode's Jodphur, India pit stop and headed for Istanbul, Turkey. Leaving the Pit Stop, Ron and Kelly continued their alliance with Rob Mariano and Amber Brkich, while married couples Uchenna and Joyce Agu and Meredith and Gretchen Smith travelled separately but still met up at a local travel agency. Despite everyone's efforts, in the end, all eight contestants were scheduled to take the same flight to Delhi, followed by a connection from Delhi to Istanbul, Turkey.
During their wait at the airport, Rob decided to trick the other teams by asking them if they had gotten on the "earlier flight" from Delhi to Turkey. For once, his mouth ended up getting him into trouble, with (unbeknownst to either him or Amber) his fishing expedition causing Uchenna to re-investigate the possibility of earlier flights and successfully booking tickets that required a transfer in Dubai but landed the two married teams in Istanbul two hours earlier than the originally planned direct flight.
After arriving in Delhi, Rob ditched alliance mates Ron and Kelly in his own attempt to find an earlier connection, but after discussions with multiple ticket agents, he was more confident in his originally-booked flights.
Meanwhile, traveling in a taxi on their own trip to a travel agency, Ron decided to tell Kelly that traveling around the world had made him realize that he is not ready to settle down. Kelly handled the news with her typical maturity, accusing him of never being able to follow through on a commitment. When Ron mentioned his commitment to the military as part of his reply to Kelly's comment, Kelly reminded the viewers why she couldn't win the Miss America pageant by bombing the interview portion of this program as well. Responding to Ron, Kelly told him that he got out of his army commitment by becoming a prisoner of war. Ron took the slam well, sarcastically tearing apart her logic as he described the torture and near-death experience that he survived "just to get out of the Army."
Later, back at the airport waiting to their fligh to depart, the foursome mocked the married couples, calling them "stupid" and "the blind leading the blind" -- not realizing that the allegedly clueless competitors had already departed the airport several of hours ahead of them.
After arriving in Istanbul, Uchenna and Joyce and Meredith and Gretchen raced to the island lighthouse of Kizkulesi. Once there, they had to participate in an Apprentice-like product placement ritual and search for one of four Travelocity Roamin' Gnomes hidden on the island. Unbeknownst to the Racers, the team whose gnome had an airplane on the bottom would win a fabulous prize (and yes, the prize was courtesy of Travelocity, good guess). The two leading teams quickly found their gnomes and followed the next clue to Galata Kulesi, a tower located twelve miles away.
Arriving at the tower, Uchenna and Joyce quickly found the clue box that detailed the leg's Detour. Dubbed "Columns or Kilos," (although "Maze or Mass" might have been a better name) each of the two task choices had its own pros and cons. Selecting "Kilos," Uchenna and Joyce headed to Yeni Camii and found a man with a bag full of scales. Once there, they had to select a scale and convince passing strangers to allow themselves to be weighed, and continue until the total weight of the weighed strangers added up to 2,500 kilograms. Upon turning in their tally sheet, they were then told to storm the fortress at Rumeli Hisari.
Meanwhile, Meredith and Gretchen had misunderstood the last clue and travelled to the top of Galata Kulesi tower, not realizing that the clue box was actually at the base of the tower. After a few trips in the elevator, they finally located the clue box while peering down at the entranceway. Grabbing a clue, they then proceeded to the Detour, where they also chose the "Kilos" task.
Back at the airport, the other two teams finally arrived in Turkey, confident that they were far ahead of the married teams. Rob and Amber ran from the airport to the train and were able to get ahead of Ron and Kelly. While on the boat ride to Kizkulsi, the two were stunned to learn that two other teams have already gone ahead of them -- and several hours ahead of them. After receiving their clue, they found the gnome fairly quickly -- even though Rob had no idea what a gnome was. Fortunately for him, Amber's belief that "it's a little statue" was enough for them to track it down.
Arriving on the island after Rob and Amber, Ron and Kelly’s confidence evaporated when they reached the clue box and realized that they were in last place, not second as they had believed. Quickly grabbing the last gnome, the couple made up some time by grabbing a taxi at an earlier location on their way back.
Meanwhile, having arrived at the fortress, Uchenna climbed a 25-foot rope ladder and entered Rumeli Hisari to start the Roadblock. After finishing the ladder climb, he had to wander around to the top of the tower and retrieve a key before repelling back down the tower wall. Back on the ground, he unlocked a book that revealed the location of the leg's Pit Stop -- a scenic overlook inside the interior of the fortress. For the second straight leg Uchenna and Joyce were the first team at the Pit Stop -- and for the second straight leg they did not earn a prize for winning the leg.
Still in second place, Meredith and Gretchen completed the Detour and headed to Rumela Hisari, where Gretchen dragged herself up the rope ladder. Not surprisingly, she also had trouble finding the key once she got to the top of the tower. However due to the significant time advantage gained by their earlier flight, the couple was unable to squander their entire time lead and still managed to easily arrive second at the Pit Stop.
Meanwhile, back at the Detour, Rob and Amber decided to try and to stay out of last place by weighing men at Yeni Camii. Arriving at the Detour in last place, Ron and Kelly chose the alternate task -- traveling to a column-surrounded well and using a map to obtain the numbers required to unlock a combination lock containing the leg's next clue. Despite their previous squabbles, the couple worked surprisingly well during the Detour, with Ron rapidly decoding the map and quickly obtaining the lock numbers. After Ron pulled the box out of the well, Kelly guided him through the lock combination possibilities, allowing them to solve the lock puzzle on their fourth attempt.
Having arrived at the Roadblock shortly after Rob and Amber, Ron realized that he would have to scramble if his team hoped to leapfrog "Romber" into third place. Unfortunately for Ron, he wasn't successful, leaving him to peer from atop the tower as Rob and Amber checked into the nearby Pit Stop in third place.
Reaching the Pit Stop in last place, Ron and Kelly heard the words that they were hoping to hear -- that the leg was a non-elimination leg. After handing over their bags, The Amazing Race Phil Keoghan asked them to hand over their gnome -- and then cheered up the last place finishers by telling them that they'd won the "grand prize" of a $20,000 shopping spree on Travelocity.com. (This news was a shock to those viewers who expected the show's "grand prize" to be the million dollars awarded to the team that finishes the entire race first.) Phil also told the delighted couple that they would be spending their twelve-hour rest break in a first-class suite at the nearby Four Seasons hotel while the other teams were roughing it back at the Pit Stop -- meaning that even though they'd been left with just the clothes on their backs and no money to start the next leg, they'd still won the leg's big prize.