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HOME > The Amazing Race > The Amazing Race: All-Stars

INTERVIEW: Teri and Ian Pollack discuss their 'Amazing Race' journey


By Christopher Rocchio, 03/26/2007 

At 53 and 54 respectively, married parents Teri and Ian Pollack were the oldest team competing in CBS' The Amazing Race: All-Stars.  While they finished second on The Amazing Race's third season, some flight misfortune in Africa sent them packing as the fifth team eliminated from All-Stars.

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On Monday, the homemaker and retired police lieutenant from Palm City, FL talked to Reality TV World about spending more than 12 hours in an airport; what it was liked to tame some Chilean rapids; as well as how Sequesterville helped lead them down memory lane.


Reality TV World:  Seeing as how the "inconvenience" of sleeping at the airport didn't affect the time you departed Maputo, do you think the decision was worth the fatigue it might have caused?

Ian:
  I don't think it really caused any more fatigue then we would have had anyhow.  By the time we would have gotten back to the Pit Stop and laid down in a bed, three hours later we would have been up to be back at the airport.  So it's probably just better to lay down there and sleep.  Although Teri wanted to go back.  Obviously, you saw that the decision was made to stay [at the airport].

Reality TV World:  Teri, was the only reason you wanted to go back to the Pit Stop was to be more well rested?

Teri:
  I just felt it would be more comfortable than staying in the airport.  We had hours to kill and I didn't think that it mattered.

Reality TV World:  Later, when you were trying to get on the 11:45AM South African Airlines flight from Maputo to Johannesburg, why did you decide to stay in line with Joe Baldassare and Bill Bartek instead of going up to the airline’s office with the four other teams?

Ian:
  Well first of all, we didn't know they were going up there.  Second of all, we believed that the rule of 'First in line gets served first' works better.  Unfortunately for us, it didn't work out.

Reality TV World:  What was your reaction when you found that Maputo airport decision cost you a spot on the connecting Air Tanzania flight from Johannesburg to Dar Es Salaam?

Teri:  I don't believe that it cost us the place because as you know, [Eric Sanchez and Danielle Turner] went up there as well and they were the first ones in that office and they did not get on that flight either.  So it was something else that kept us off that flight.

Reality TV World:  Do you think it was unfair that Eric and Danielle were placed on priority standby for the next day's 9:55AM South African Airlines flight while you two had to wait for another flight with Joe and Bill?

Teri:  We were on the same standby flight as they were.  It was just a matter of who was standing closer to the agent when he said he had a couple of more seats. Unfortunately, Eric's arms are longer than mine.

Reality TV World:  So that's all it came down to, they were just closer to the ticket counter at that time?

Teri: 
That's correct.

Reality TV World:  Given you'd made a point of being first at the check-in counter back in Maputo, how did Eric and Danielle manage to get to the Johannesburg check-in counter before you the next morning?

Ian:  We all slept on the floor together within 20 feet of each other.  What really basically happened was we had a conversation the night before with Eric and Danielle, and what Teri and I decided that if it really came down to one team getting on the flight, we were going to let Eric and Danielle do it.  They're younger people, they certainly needed the money more than we did.  It was just the right thing to do.  If they were there first, we were not going to argue.  And they were in line probably about a minute before we were and we were not gonna argue with them about places in line.

Reality TV World:  Did you feel confident having Joe and Bill with you as insurance?

Ian:  Well you know it didn't feel safe with just Bill and Joe there.  It would have been nice to have [Eric and Danielle] there.  I think if [Eric and Danielle, Joe and Bill and us] would have been there on the same flight that it would have been a more competitive finish.  Unfortunately it wasn't.

Reality TV World:  Teri, Charla commented you frequently mentioned how you wanted to fly to Miami and go home.  What was behind those comments considering last night was the first we heard of it?

Teri:
  I had never mentioned it before, it was just that when we had been in that airport all night and there were no flights to get to Dar Es Salaam, I was like finished.  I said, "You know, well.  If I can't get a flight there, maybe I can get a flight to Miami."  It was said more in guest than anything else and it was something to fly with I guess.

Reality TV World:  Do you think the problems you had putting the puzzle together during the sixth leg’s Detour cost you in the end?

Teri:  Well of course it cost us because we were in a race with Bill and Joe at that point.  They did put the puzzle together before we did, and therefore did finish before us and we were eliminated and they were not.

Reality TV World:  How far behind Joe and Bill did you reach the Pit Stop?  

Teri:  Five minutes at the most.

Reality TV World:  Did they tell you guys how far behind Charla and Mirna were you?

Teri:  We assumed we were at least 12 to 24 hours behind them at that time.

Reality TV World:  Driving back to Maputo during the fifth leg, your driver took a wrong turn following Eric and Danielle’s vehicle.  Did you really think they took the right turn to Maputo or did you just want to stay close to other teams to ensure you weren't way behind?

Ian:  They did take the right turn... and we did take the right turn.  What happened is, as we went up that street we went about six blocks too far from the next turn we were supposed to make.  We immediately stopped and asked directions, and were back at the [clue] box.  We were very surprised later to learn that at that box, we were the last to get to that box.  That was very surprising for us.

Reality TV World:  The fifth leg's Detour was quite serendipitous for you guys.   You originally planned to do "Porter," but after reading the clue incorrectly and traveling to the Maputo Central Market, the site of "Pamper," you decided to paint nails and finished the leg in third place.   Do you think you would have finished last had you not accidentally ended up at the wrong Detour challenge?

Teri:  Definitely.
Ian:  Definitely.  But we didn't read the clue wrong.  What happened is we solicited some help from a local person as to where to go to do ["Porter"].  And he was looking at the clue, and took us to the wrong location.  What happened is we ran into [Maputo Central Market] and realized we were at the wrong location and ran out the back of the market and we were going to run to ["Porter"] and then realized we had a mile, mile-and-a-half to get there, so we started running back for the vehicle then got back to the market we decided just to do ["Pamper"].

Reality TV World:  Was "Pamper" a little easier than you thought it was going to be?

Ian:  Yes it was.  I did not know that in that country men usually paint nails.  So I thought I was going to have a very hard time doing it.  As it turned out, we were only trying to do it for five or six minutes when we found these two young ladies that were very cooperative.

Reality TV World:  You guys haggled with the person at the airport ticket counter at the beginning of the fourth leg, which landed you the final spot on the first flight to Punta Arenas.  What prompted you to try your luck even though they originally told you the flight was full?

Teri:  If you ask nicely, you never know what will happen.  There seems to always be some seat.  They thought that it was full, they thought it was closing out.  He just checked and found out there were more seats for us.  We were very lucky.

Reality TV World:  Do you think it had any bearing on where you finished the leg?

Teri:  I'm trying to remember the spot... It must have because what really made the difference there was we did "Navigate It" in that round and not "Sign It."
 
Reality TV World:  That leads to my next question, we saw what choosing "Sign It" instead of "Navigate It" at the fourth leg's Detour did to Rob and Amber Mariano.  What led you to chose "Navigate It?"

Ian:  When we read the clue [for "Sign It"], it was very clear you had to build something versus "Navigate It."  And I know how to navigate.  I know how to use a compass.  And it just seemed like the smarter way to go.  It might have been more distance we had to cover... looking at the teams picking up all the equipment to build [for "Sign It"], it just did not seem like the sensible choice to us.

Reality TV World:  Ian you said you were "shocked" when Rob and Amber were eliminated?  Was that the general consensus?

Ian:  I don't know what the other people really felt... I was rather shocked.  But what it really came down to was [Rob and Amber] at most Detours were doing both Detours.  They'd choose one, not be able to complete it, then go choose the other one.  And that finally just caught up to them and I was sad to see that happen.

Reality TV World:  You guys formed a loose alliance at the beginning of the third leg with Dustin Seltzer and Kandice Pelletier  because you called them "strong racers" Teri.  Was forming alliances part of your All-Stars strategy? 

Teri:  No we never had plans to form alliances.  I mean you work with people at a period of time and that's it.  In our first race [The Amazing Race 3] nobody would form an alliance with us because they thought we were the old ones, we would just fall behind and be eliminated.  So we knew that alliances were not the way to go.

Reality TV World:  Teri and Ian, you exchanged some words with Charla and Mirna at the airport ticket counter in Santiago during the third leg.  Ian how did it feel to have Mirna call you "the king of rude?"

Ian:  Well you know I'm not going to say anything negative about them.  They raced their race, we raced our race.  We tried to race with grace and dignity, and I respect anybody else's way of racing.  What they were basically trying to do was tie-up our ticket agent while Charla got the tickets from another ticket agent.  We didn't like that... we didn't think that was very nice.  But that was their method of racing and I respect that.  We chose not to do stuff like that.

Reality TV World:  Teri, what was it like being the only racer knocked out of the raft during the third leg's Detour? 

Teri (laughing):  Well at the time I didn't know I was the only one... but Ian said it as a good thing that I fell in the water to get some of that fish smell off of me [a reference to the third leg's Roadblock].  It was all part of the fun... rafting is fun and even falling in the water was just part of the show... part of the feel.
Ian:  I'll tell you, she came out of that water with a big smile on her face from ear to ear.  She loved it.
 
Reality TV World:  Was there any kind of initial concern when you hit the water?

Teri:  I knew that I'd be fine.  I did have a hold onto the rope onto the raft the whole time so I didn't drift away.  But I've been rafting before, and if you fall out of the raft they tell you what to do.  And I was lucky that I managed to grab onto the line and I didn't in fact go down the rapids without the boat... thank goodness.

Reality TV World:  Would you of jumped in after her Ian if you had to?

Ian:  Actually I reached for her to try to grab her and the guide yelled at me to stop, that he would take care of it.  he ran over there and grabbed her by the life vest and started pulling her into the boat, and I just grabbed her arm with the ore... and she was back in the boat.  This was seconds... I mean she was in the water and out of the water so quick it was the blink of an eye.

Reality TV World:  Ian, despite your  "attention to detail" as a former private investigator and police lieutenant, you struggled and finished last during All-Stars' first Roadblock.  Did you feel nervous that your observation skills might fail you during the competition?

Ian:  Which Roadblock are we talking about... in the boardroom?  You know, they described that in my opinion wrong to us.  They said, "someone with great observation skills."  That was a puzzle.  Teri is a puzzle person.  What happened to me when I went in there and realized it was a puzzle I started to short circuit a little bit, saying, "My God.  This is something Teri should be doing, she's so good at puzzles."  But then, poor [Joyce Agu] was there... she was the first person there and she was struggling.  I had been there about 20 minutes or so and she came up to me and said, "Look.  We're the last two here... there's only a few people left here, what would you say if I find it I'll give it to you and if you find it you'll give it to me."  And I said, "Fine."  That was no problem at all... then a light went on in her head, she got it.  I've got a lot of respect for her... she honored her word and she gave it to me.
 
Reality TV World:  What was your reaction when you saw Kevin O'Connor and Drew Feinberg driving so slow on the way to the second leg’s Pit Stop?  Did you ever consider that you might be speeding and would be penalized?

Ian:  We read the clue right... we had the information in our hand and it said when you were out of the Valley of the Moon, you could then follow the posted speed limit.  They just didn't get it.

Reality TV World:  During All-Stars were you guys aware the other racers were discounting your ability due to your age?

Ian:
  No I wasn't really aware of that.  I mean we assumed that they'd figure we were old people and they could run us into the ground, but we beat some pretty formidable team in [both All-Stars and The Amazing Race 3].

Reality TV World:  Do you think being older than the rest of the racers was an advantage or disadvantage in the Race?

Ian:  I think it was definitely an advantage.  We're well traveled people, we have a mind set of never throw in the towel, and we embrace foreign travel, whether it's third world or modern world... it doesn't matter.  We enjoy it all.

Reality TV World:  How did you guys end up being part of the All-Stars?

Teri:  We got the call, they asked if we'd be interested and enough time had passed so I had obviously forgotten how heavy it was carrying your own backpack and we said absolutely.  I mean who wouldn't just fall over themselves to have a second shot at doing one of the most fabulous things that you've ever been able to do.
Ian:  Here's a good one for you.  I was an undercover police officer for my whole career -- from the investigative to the command level -- which is a pretty invigorating experience.  But I have to say that running The Amazing Race is absolutely the most invigorating experience of my life.

Reality TV World:  Did you consider yourselves all-stars?

Teri:  We hoped.
Ian:  We hoped we were all-stars.  We think we went out there and acted like all-stars.  We went out there to have fun and race with dignity and grace and I think we accomplished that.
Teri:  How could we not be considered all-stars... we did finish second in our season by a minute or two.

Reality TV World:  Was there anybody you were surprised to see or not see?

Ian:  We were hoping to see [The Amazing Race 5 runner-ups Colin Guinn and Christie Woods] and a few other teams...
Teri:  We were sad not to be racing with several of the teams from our first race... [Ken and Gerard Duphiney], [Flo Pesenti and Zach Behr], anybody.  Anybody from our first race.
Ian:  We were absolutely in shock when [fellow The Amazing Race 3 contestants John Vito Pietanza and Jill Aquilino] got eliminated first... we really hoped they'd have gone further with us.

Reality TV World:  How was All-Stars different from your first Race?  Did you plan on doing anything different the second time around?

Ian:  No we didn't plan on doing anything differently, but it was definitely a different type of race.  The Amazing Race 3 is much different than the All-Stars... I like to refer to the All-Stars as The Amazing Race: Survivor because there was a lot more sleep deprivation, a lot more discomfort... there was a lot more of just not having any type of creature comforts.
 
Reality TV World:  How did your children react when you told them you were doing it again?

Ian:  My 15-year-old said, "Cool."  My 20-year-old said, "Oh well."  And my 28-year-old -- who was in Iraq at the time -- was very proud of us.

Reality TV World:  Do you think they'd be happy with the way you guys ran the race?

Ian:  Well we haven't spoken to them since the episode last night... but we know they're proud of us.

Reality TV World:  Who did you consider your biggest competition and why?

Ian:  I probably... you know, they were all formidable teams.  You just look at them all.  I really believe that The Amazing Race is about 80% to 85% luck and the rest is skill.  If you're of average physical ability, and you have a mind set that you're not going to quit, you have an opportunity to win this race.

Reality TV World:  Who would you like to see win?  Anybody you wouldn't want to see win?

Ian:  Doesn't matter...

Reality TV World:  How was Sequesterville?  Were Rob and Amber especially bitter?

Ian:
  No they weren't.  They were very nice people.  Nothing negative to say about them... I found them to be very nice.  Amazingly enough, Sequesterville was 250 yards approximately from where Teri and I spent our honeymoon 25 years ago.

Reality TV World:  Wow, so that must have been nice for you then?

Ian:  Real nice.

Reality TV World:  How's everything going in your life now?

Ian:  Everything's going great.  I'm a political activist trying to fight in my home county in Martin County, Florida to stop over development and urban sprawl, save the Indian River Lagoon, the Everglades Restoration Project, Lake Okeechobee... so that pretty much keeps a lot of my time going.  We're trying to save something of old Florida.

Reality TV World:  Everything's going fine with you too Teri?

Teri:  Yes it is.  You know what they say, "Traveling is wonderful, but there's no place like home."

(Photo credit CBS)


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