The "Father and Son" team were forced to withdraw from The Amazing Race due to injury and formally eliminated from the around-the-world competition by host Phil Keoghan after they went directly to the Race's fourth Pit Stop at the Vietnam National Museum of History without having completed any of the leg's tasks along the way.
Dave and Connor's decision to withdraw from the Race ultimately prevented the elimination of "Married Couple" Chuck McCall and Wynona McCall, who subsequently finished the fourth leg in last place.
In an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Monday, Dave and Connor talked about their The Amazing Race experience and the injury that got in their way. Below is the first half of their interview. Check back with Reality TV World on Wednesday for the concluding portion.
Reality TV World: Dave, how is your ankle doing now? Did you end up getting the surgery you mentioned during last night's episode?
David O'Leary: I did. I came home and literally the day I got home at 10 o'clock at night. I had surgery midday the next day.
Reality TV World: During last night's broadcast, you said you needed the surgery in seven days. Was it seven days from that very moment?
David O'Leary: Well, there was an email from an orthopedic surgeon and he said, ideally, he would have it within seven and no longer than 14. And we were kind of past seven, and so, that's really what made our decision.
So I came home, had the surgery and have been recovering and doing well! I'm able to ride a bike again. I can't run yet but I'm sure that will come in the next 60 days. I feel like I'll make a complete recovery.
Reality TV World: We saw you two flying into Vietnam and then making your way to the Pit Stop mat, where you were greeted by Phil Keoghan and formally eliminated due to Dave's injury. Could you explain why you two went to the Pit Stop and were eliminated in that manner? I was wondering why you didn't just take yourselves out of the Race in Bali and leave immediately or why Phil couldn't just announce your disqualification at some point in the episode?
David O'Leary: Well when you have the chance to go to Vietnam, you go to Vietnam. I mean, honestly, we decided that -- we got the email from the orthopedic surgeon right as we were leaving Bali. So we were already -- we didn't have that information before then, and we really kind of decided as we were driving to the travel agency that we were going to leave.
And we thought, "Well, the only way we can really leave and kind of leave on our terms would be to go to Vietnam, be able to go onto the mat and tell Phil that we were leaving and then make our way home." And we were already kind of past the first time frame but within the second one, so we said, "That's what we're going to do!"
Reality TV World: So just to clarify, did you really go immediately to the Pit Stop after landing in Vietnam or did you stop anywhere in between?
David O'Leary: No, we were on the same flight with [Winnie Sung and Pamela Chien] and with [Max Bichler and Katie Bichler]. But rather than going where they were going, we went to another hotel. So we spent the night in Vietnam, and after watching the show last night, we didn't know how long that leg was going to be.
If it had been another three-day leg, we wouldn't have been able to do it and get home in time to have the surgery. Seeing that it was a one-day leg, we kind of kicked ourselves for not doing it, because after watching it last night, we felt like we could have.
Reality TV World: Yeah, if surgery wasn't an issue -- if you didn't need it as soon as you did, Dave -- do you think you could have kept going in the Race maybe even beyond last night's leg since you feel now you were capable of completing it or do you think it would've been impossible to continue regardless?
David O'Leary: Well you never know what's coming and we knew that Connor could do certain things that I wouldn't be able to do, and Connor only had so many more things that he could do.
He had kind of been carrying me for two legs already, so it was really disappointing to leave. We really struggled with the decision but felt like long-term, my health was going to be more important than another leg of The Amazing Race at the time.
Reality TV World: Absolutely. Dave, when you hurt your ankle running to a previous Pit Stop in a foot race against Bates Battaglia and Anthony Battaglia, you said right off the bat you thought you had ruptured your Achilles tendon and it turned out you were right on the money. How did you know what had happened to you? Have you torn your Achilles tendon before or something?
David O'Leary: No, I haven't. But I've torn my ACL in my knee before, you know, popped my ACL. And it was the same feeling. I took a step and I felt a real distinct pop and I took one more step and there was a second pop, which turned out to be my calf muscle. And so, it was not just my Achilles but my calf muscle got sheared as well.
And so, I mean, I knew it was not something minor. I knew it wasn't a sprain or a strain. I mean, it was distinct enough that I had no question that I had a pretty serious injury, and it turned out to be the case.
Reality TV World: Although you were injured Dave, you two managed to still win two legs this season. Did your success surprise you considering the circumstances? How much of a role do you think luck played in those victories versus skill and strategy?
David O'Leary: Well, I think luck plays a role in everyone's win of a leg in The Amazing Race, but we made some good decisions -- some of which they didn't show. When we were in New Zealand, everyone drove to a parking lot and we elected not to do that. We drove up on the bridge, got the clue that they obviously didn't know was there and made it back to be the first people on the jugboats.
When we finished that -- when we finished and met Phil on the mat in New Zealand, we went immediately to a different travel agency that booked us on the first flight out, which gave us an advantage going into Bali. So we made some good choices.
Connor O'Leary: Yeah, I think luck plays a part. But at the same time, we were consistently in the Top 3 for four legs, and half that time, we won two legs. So I think we showed that, you know, we were a strong team. And I think we played a fairly smart -- yeah, it's disappointing to leave, but...
David O'Leary: We definitely made some stupid mistakes obviously [too]. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: During last night's episode, Pam and Winnie knew you two were going to get eliminated in the leg, but they chose to keep that a secret from most of the teams -- allowing them to potentially think you guys were Racing behind them. They were hoping that mindset would slow some teams down. What was your reaction when you saw that? Did you think their strategy was impressive and fair or a little bit cruel in some ways?
Connor O'Leary: I thought it was smart! I mean, I think it's a game and yeah, I think they kind of used it to their advantage -- which I don't see any problem with. I think it was smart of them to do.
Reality TV World: Jessica Hoel and John Erck have been highly criticized for getting eliminated with an Express Pass in their possession. Many fans have been calling the move idiotic and John cocky because of it. What was your initial reaction when you found out what had happened to the team and what are your own thoughts on it?
Connor O'Leary: You know, yes, it's definitely a shock. And yeah, watching it, you're just screaming, "Use your Express Pass! Use the Express Pass!" -- especially when John was doing the surfboards with Chuck and he knew that most likely he was the last team. Yeah, I mean, maybe arrogance got the best of him there. But everything is moving so fast that when you're in the moment, you can make mistakes like that.
Reality TV World: Max was shown last night making fun of Jessica and John because of it, and Joey Graceffa and Meghan Camarena were shown getting pretty angry over it because they thought it was rude. Do you agree with Joey and Meghan in that maybe Max should've kept his thoughts to himself?
Connor O'Leary: To each their own. That's just kind of Max's personality, and they didn't necessarily click on the show. So yeah, I can see both angles, honestly.
David O'Leary: And really, what team hasn't made a mistake? Their mistake was a big one and it cost them. It cost them the Race, but every team has made a mistake so far, and we made some big ones. I mean, we made one of the stupidest ones.
We missed our snorkeling gear on that second leg, and if we hadn't done that, I think we would've won that leg pretty handily and probably not had the issue with my Achilles. So, we made some stupid mistakes. Everyone did.
Reality TV World: Looking back on that problem you guys encountered with forgetting your snorkeling gear, how much time do you think you guys wasted going back to retrieve it?
David O'Leary: We had to motor all the way back. We had to run up the hill again where the priest was, come back down -- I mean it was -- and you know, we made the stupid mistake of reading our information and we saw "boat" and "bag" in the same sentence.
We're going so fast that we just missed the obvious, and you say you'll never do that, and then you get on The Amazing Race and all of a sudden, everything you think about or planned to never do, you do.
Above is the first half of Dave and Connor's exclusive interview with Reality TV World. Check back with us on Wednesday for the concluding portion.