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'Expedition Impossible' crowns The Gypsies the winning team


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 08/25/2011 

Expedition Impossible crowned The Gypsies its first-season champions during Thursday night's broadcast of the new ABC reality competition's finale episode.

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The Gypsies team was announced the winners of the adventure race after they almost swept the entire competition and were the first team to arrive at the tenth stage's finish line in Morocco, receiving $50,000 and a new 2011 Ford Explorer for each of its three team members.   

"It's surreal; It's amazing. All this hard work we've done to get this far has finally paid off and it really does make you think that dreams come true. It's like the best feeling in the world," Taylor Filasky, a 31-year-old video producer from San Diego, CA, said after his team claimed its victory.

"From the beginning, we wanted to make Expedition Impossible possible and that's what we did, and it just shows the power of positive thinking and team work really can make anything possible," Eric Bach, a 26-year-old in sales from San Francisco, CA, added.

In addition to Taylor and Eric, The Gypsies also included John Post, a 29-year-old sustainable farmer from Pensacola, FL.

No Limits crossed the finish line in second place.

"I've never been so happy to be second in anything. I'm a pretty competitive guy so getting second usually doesn't sit too well with me, but for what we had just coming into it, I'm pretty content right now. I'm feeling happy," Jeff Evans, a 41-year-old physician assistant from Boulder, CO, said.

"We were the second best team here despite some significant adversities. Jeff just really stepped up and kept me safe, and [Ike Isaacson] just showed how tough he was. He's a real warrior. And I'm also proud of myself because I was really giving it 100% percent -- everything I had everyday," Erik Weihenmayer, a 42-year-old speaker and writer from Golden, CO, explained.

Besides Jeff and Erik, No Limits was also comprised of Ike, a 33-year-old National Guard from Topeka, KS.

Fab 3 finished in third.

"Looking back on this Expedition, I'm amazed at the things that I've been through. What a sense of accomplishment, you know? It's just crazy the stuff that we've done," Kari Gibson, a 26-year-old poker tournament hostess from Los Angeles, CA, said.

"He and I love each other for reasons that go far beyond relationship stuff. He's family to me and this girl, she's my best friend. We did things we've never done in our entire lives -- things that we didn't think were possible. The word 'impossible' is no longer in our vocabulary, and that to us, is bigger than any prize," A.J. Gibson, a 30-year-old mortgage consultant from Los Angeles, CA, added.

Fab 3 also included Ryan Carrillo, a 36-year-old business owner from Los Angeles, CA.

The Football Players, who were eliminated halfway through the tenth stage and never crossed the finish line, came in fourth place.

"Things that I thought I would never do in a lifetime, I've done on this trip. We were out of our element, but we persevered and succeeded to the final stage. It's an amazing feeling to do it with two guys that were once your friends but now are like family," Robert Ortiz, a 27-year-old business owner from Solana Beach, CA, explained.

In addition to Robert, The Football Players also consisted of Akbar Gbaja-Biamila, a 31-year-old broadcaster from Los Angeles, CA, and Ricky Sharpe, a 31-year-old coach from Costa Mesa, CA.

Expedition Impossible's finale broadcast began with host Dave Salmoni telling the four remaining teams that the course's tenth and concluding stage would present a culmination of everything they had learned as a team throughout the entire Expedition and require them to row a fishing boat two miles, shovel and dig through a pile of rubble to discover two stones containing amethyst crystals -- which would be traded for horses at a horse corral -- and then ride the horses 3.5 miles to secure a spot in the final three.

After explaining what was ahead of them, Dave also told the competition's teams they would depart the ninth stage's finish line at exactly the same time no matter what order they had finished the stage in.

The Gypsies, Fab 3, The Football Players, and No Limits then all took off together.

When the teams embarked on the boat rowing portion of the Expedition's final stage, Fab 3's boat was falling apart, while The Football Players' boat filled with water and slowed them down to the point where they were barely moving. The Football Players' struggle on the water forced them into last place.

Meanwhile, The Gypsies held onto their lead for most of the time with Fab 3 following close behind. While the teams rode horses to meet Dave who was awaiting them, The Football Players' Akbar got thrown from his horse and was in a lot of pain.

The Gypsies checked in at the halfway point first and were then followed by Fab 3, No Limits, and finally The Football Players -- who were eliminated as a result.

The second part of the Expedition's tenth stage then started with the three remaining teams rushing to drive their Ford Explorer vehicles 22 miles across the desert to reach an ancient city where they would search for the hidden checkpoint amongst the bustling activities.

Afterward, the teams were required to navigate the alleys of the city to find Sadian tombs -- two words which were written in Arabic in the instructions -- follow a door map to the entrance of an old palace prison, look for a hidden Moroccan puzzle box and figure out how to open it, and finally scale the palace wall by climbing down ladders.

No Limits had trouble finding the Sadian tombs checkpoint and lost ground because they realized they had failed to retrieve a local map which featured all the door shapes, colors and hints. The Gypsies told them they were missing the vital step in the instructions after No Limits had run after The Gypsies and followed them without realizing they could have passed something important along the way.

The Gypsies and Fab 3 then also got lost attempting to find the prison. Fab 3, desperate to break away from the pack, then separated themselves from The Gypsies and No Limits in the hopes they made the right decision and could find the prison on their own. However, their plan backfired and they couldn't find their way, while the Gypsies found exactly what they were looking for.

The Gypsies struggled to open their puzzle box, but No Limits had a very easy time doing so because Jeff knew precisely how to open the complex box. However, The Gypsies had already gained a solid lead, managed to conquer all the tasks quickly and efficiently and hustled to the finish line, arriving before all the other teams.

The Gypsies -- who achieved their tenth first-place finish of the Expedition, including their first-place arrival at the halfway mark during the competition's two-part fifth stage -- proved that Expedition Impossible was possible after all.

(Photo credit ABC)


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