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Older couple Meredith and Gretchen Smith get eliminated from 'The Amazing Race 7'


By Andrea Sellers, 05/04/2005 

They lasted longer than teams half their ages, but time finally ran out for The Amazing Race 7 contestants Meredith and Gretchen Smith when they finished fourth (and last) in Tuesday night's CBS broadcast of the Race's tenth leg, eliminating them from the competition.

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The Amazing Race 7's eleventh episode began with the teams departing Istanbul, Turkey, where Uchenna and Joyce Agu were the first team sent to the Sirkeci Train Station. There, a dervish guided the pair through five whirling dervishes, a task which sounds much more exciting and challenging than it actually was. Once the teams passed the slow-moving dancers, they received a clue instructing them to fly 2,000 miles to London and find the zebra crosswalk made famous by a Beatles album cover. The remaining three teams soon followed. After completing the tasks, the first three teams headed to the airport while Ron Young and Kelly McCorkle, who were stripped of their money and possessions after finishing last in the prior leg, begged for cab fare.

At the airport, Uchenna and Joyce booked the first direct flight they could find. After purchasing their tickets, Uchenna expressed concern that they forgot to check for earlier arriving non-direct connections, but despite having exploited a non-direct connection to their advantage in the immediately prior leg, Joyce inexplicably reassured him that she suddenly now felt that direct routes were "safer."

Meanwhile, Rob Mariano and Amber Brkich accessed the Internet and were able to find a flight that required a transfer in Frankfurt, but still arrived in London earlier. While this option could potentially get them in hours earlier, the earlier arrival was not guaranteed since the connecting flight from Frankfurt to London was full, requiring them to fly standby. If they were able to fly standby, they would get a considerable lead, but if they could not, they would likely fall hours behind the other teams. Deciding that the possible benefits outweighed the risks, the couple booked the non-direct flight -- but since they continue to act under the impression that they need to outwit and outplay the other teams to outlast them, they also bought tickets on the direct flight in an attempt to mislead the other teams.

Once Ron and Kelly joined the other teams at the airport, Meredith gave them some money -- a payback of sorts for the money that Ron and Kelly had given Meredith and Gretchen when they had finished last in The Amazing Race 7's prior non-elimination leg. Ron and Kelly considered buying tickets on the direct flight like the two married couples, but when Kelly noticed a flight to Frankfurt, they decided to check out the connections and also took the risk of getting on the Frankfurt-to-London flight as standby passengers. Kelly also decided to take the hygienic risk of borrowing the ticket agent's lipstick, since her cosmetics were taken away at the last Pit Stop. Arriving in Frankfurt, both teams sprinted to the standby ticket counter and were successfully issued tickets for the connecting flight, proving that their risk paid off.

When the two teams arrived in London, Rob and Amber scrambled to get on the underground railway system to Paddington station, but Ron and Kelly missed the train and had to wait for another, using their waiting time to beg for more money. Meanwhile, alone on their tube ride, Rob and Amber befriended yet another local who agreed to guide them through the various upcoming clues. After picking up the clue at the Abbey Road Studios, the teams were instructed to go to the London Eye and ride the large ferris wheel until they spotted the flag from their car amidst the fog. Ron and Kelly continued to squabble during their search but were able to find the flag and the clue for the Detour.

Arriving at the Detour, the teams discovered the choices would be "Brains" or "Brawn." For "Brains," the teams had to start in the London Underground and search for three clues that would help them solve a mystery. "Brawn" involved hauling five boats to a storage area. Surprisingly, the two lead teams both decided to use their brains to navigate the clues to Sherlock Holmes’ Museum, where their next clue guided them to the Millenium Dome -- with the warning that a Yield was ahead.

Both teams scrambled to get to the dome first, with Rob and Amber going by train and Ron and Kelly choosing to travel by cab. The Underground proved to be the much quicker option, and after arriving first, the former Survivor contestants debated about which team they should yield. While Amber suggested Uchenna and Joyce, Rob expressed concern about how Ron and Kelly were right behind them, causing them to decide to yield their former alliance mates. After spending more than an hour trapped in London traffic, Ron and Kelly finally arrived -- and passed their yield time by scribbling horns and tails on Romber’s picture.

While the lead teams navigated the Detour, the other two teams arrived in London. Getting directions to Abbey Road, the two teams learned that the other two teams had a two hour lead. After getting their clues at Abbey Road and the London Eye, both Uchenna and Joyce and Meredith and Gretchen chose the "Brawn" option, with Uchenna and Joyce assisting their competitors by moving boats and shouting encouragement while the teams completed the task.

The Roadblock required one member of each team to drive a double-decker bus through an obstacle course without touching any of the red cones. Touching a cone required the contestant to go back to the start of the course and try again. Despite their significant lead and the uneven division of Roadblocks, Rob decided to drive the bus as his final Roadblock due to Amber's hesitation of driving the bus. On his fourth try, he completed the clue and received the clue guiding them to the Pit Stop at Potter’s Field Park near London Bridge. When Rob and Amber checked in first, they were rewarded yet again with a prize, winning a JVC home entertainment system.

Meanwhile, Kelly attempted the drive the bus through the course, and the remaining teams joined her and Ron at the Roadblock. Joyce and Meredith joined Kelly on the course, and all three drivers were frustrated as they hit cones and were whistled back to the start. Kelly finally completed the course on her seventh attempt, and she and Ron raced off to the Pit Stop. During the ride, their squabbling continued, with Ron mocking Kelly's efforts and Kelly complaining about his lack of support. When he bragged that they should return to the course so that he could show how easily he could drive the bus (since he’s flown multi-million-dollar jets, he has a natural ability to handle all mechanical items), Kelly chided him for being willing to sacrifice a million dollars to prove his manhood. As darkness fell, the squabblers became the second team to check in at the Pit Stop.

Joyce completed the course on her fifth try, and she and Uchenna grabbed a taxi to head to the Pit Stop. Meredith completed the course after six unsuccessful attempts, and they tried to outrace their friends to the finish line. Although both teams reached the park quickly, Uchenna and Joyce beat the older couple to the finish line and finished third, causing Meredith and Gretchen to be eliminated due to their last place finish.

Next week is the two-hour finale of The Amazing Race in which either Uchenna and Joyce, Ron and Kelly, or Rob and Amber will win one million dollars for crossing the finish line first. Will Ron and Kelly's race end as badly as their relationship appears to be ending? Will Rob and Amber's run-in with the law cost the Survivor: All-Stars finalists the chance to win a second million dollars? Will Uchenna and Joyce's flat tire signal the end of their hopes to win the race? One thing is for sure -- one of these teams will win despite the setbacks.


(Photo credit CBS)


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