Steve and Linda Cole get eliminated from 'The Amazing Race'
By John Bracchitta, 02/23/2009
The "Married Couple" team of Steve and Linda Cole knew they wouldn't be the quickest team competing on The Amazing Race 14. And that combined with some unfortunate mistakes led to their becoming the second team eliminated from the CBS reality travel competition during last night's broadcast.
"I couldn't imagine running the race with anybody other than Linda," said Steve, a 43-year-old carpenter from Martinsville, VA following his elimination. "That's why I wanted her on this race. If anyone on this world has got my back it's her, and when you get down to the root of it, we're deeply in love."
"The thing I love about Steve is how much he loves me," added Linda, a 52-year-old customer service supervisor from Martinsville, VA as well. "You can have a billion dollars and still not be happy. Having him makes me happy."
The Amazing Race 14's second episode began with the ten remaining teams in the competition departing from Stechelberg, Switzerland, a small town in Bernese Alps that served as the Pit Stop for the first leg of the race.
Following a mandatory rest period the "Mother and Son" team of Margie Adams, a 51-year-old clinical research associate, and Luke Adams, a 23-year-old college graduate, were the first team to embark on the race's second leg at 2:56AM. Upon starting the leg, they received their first clue instructing them to fly to Munich, Germany and then travel to Ruhpolding and take a tram to the top of a nearby mountain to receive their next clue.
Following Margie and Luke were the "Sibling Lawyers" team of Tammy Jih, a 26-year-old lawyer from San Francisco, CA and Victor Jih, a 35-year-old lawyer from Los Angeles, who left at 2:57AM; the "Brothers/Stuntmen" team of Mark Munoz, a 48-year-old stuntman/jockey from Los Angeles, CA and Michael Munoz, a 51-year-old stuntman/actor from Maui, HI who left at 2:59AM; the "Father and Son" team of Mel White, a 68-year-old writer/clergyman from Lynchberg, VA and Mike White, a 38-year-old writer, producer and actor from Santa Monica, CA who left at 3:18AM; the "Dating Couple" team of Amanda Blackledge, a 23-year-old student from San Diego, CA and Kris Klicka, a 24-year-old sales representative from San Diego who left at 3:47AM; the "Married Couple" team of Brad Hunt, a 52-year-old distribution dispatcher from Columbus, OH, and Victoria Hunt, a 47-year-old tax manager from Columbus, OH, who left at 3:56AM; the "Former NFL Cheerleaders" team of Cara Rosenthal, a 26-year-old law student from Boca Raton, FL and Jaime Edmondson, a 29-year-old former police officer from Ft. Lauderdale, FL who left at 3:59AM; the "Sisters" team of Jennifer Hoffman, a 24-year-old marketing assistant from Louisville, KY and LaKisha Hoffman, a 28-year-old program coordinator from Bronx, NY who left at 4:02; Steve and Linda who left at 4:04AM; and the "Flight Attendants" team of Christie Volkmer, a 37-year-old flight attendant from Choctaw, OK and Jodi Wincheski, a 40-year-old flight attendant from Houston, TX who left at 4:12AM.
While en route to the airport, Steve apologized for his actions during the last episode, during which he said that Linda was slow and had been holding their team back.
"I was totally wrong for treating her like I did," Steve said as Linda sat next to him.
"I won't hold that against you," Linda responded.
While the teams traveled to the airport, all of the teams except for Mark and Michael and Jodi and Christie were able to either use cell phones from their cab drivers to call ahead or get to the airport early enough to purchase tickets for a 7:45AM flight to Munich. However, after arriving to the airport without having bought tickets already and learning that there were not enough tickets left for the 7:45 flight, Mark and Michael and Jodi and Christie were forced to take an 8:45AM flight instead.
After the first flight arrived in Munich, Tammy and Victor were the first to get out of the airport and into their cars and head towards Ruhpolding. They were followed by Amanda and Kris, Margie and Luke, Jaime and Cara, Mel and Mike, LaKisha and Jennifer, Brad and Victoria, and Steve and Linda.
When the second flight arrived in Munich later, Christie and Jodi jumped ahead of Mark and Michael, who left for Ruhpolding in last place.
Tammy and Victor were able to lengthen their lead after arriving at Ruhpolding by getting on the first tram available while the other teams had to wait fifteen minutes to travel up together in the next one. Upon arriving at the top of the mountain, Tammy and Victor were the first team to receive their next clue, which told the the teams it was time for a Roadblock challenge that required one member of each team to choose a paragliding instructor and fly down the 6,000 ft mountain while the other teammate took the tram back down to a meeting spot where they would receive their next clue.
However, in vase of strong winds that would make paragliding too dangerous, a second part of the clue stated that if paragliding was not immediately possible the contestant could instead make a one-hour hike down the mountain to meet their partner.
Tammy volunteered to take part in the Roadblock for her team, as did Kris, Cara, Margie, Mel, Victoria, Linda, Jennifer, Christie and Mark after they arrived on top of the hill. However the teams quickly learned that the wind had picked up and made it too dangerous to paraglide, opening up the option of having the contestants opt for the long hike instead.
While some teams jumped at the opportunity, with Tammy taking off down the hill first after deciding not to wait for the wind to die down, some of other contestants were not as willing to make the trek such as Mel -- who had injured his groin during the previous leg of the race.
As each team slowly decided to stop waiting for the wind and opt for the trek instead, Mike noted the unfortunate turn that the leg had taken for him and his father.
"It's starting to become more and more of an uneasy scenario because other teams started catching up with us as we were waiting for the wind, and I knew my dad wasn't gonna be able to make it down the hill," he said.
"So we're gonna lose the race because I stayed up here," a dejected Mel said after Mark, the only other contestant who was still waiting for the wind to change with Mel, decided to hike down the hill instead. However, just as all hope seemed lost, the wind finally changed and allowed Mel to paraglide down the mountain.
Tammy was the first contestant to make it all the down the hill, reconvene with Victor and find the leg's next clue, which instructed the teams to drive to Schonau Am Konigssee for their next clue.
Tammy was followed by Kris, Margie, Victoria, and Brad. After paragliding down the mountain, Mel and Mike jumped into fifth place. Meanwhile, after learning that Linda had taken decided to run down the hill instead of paraglide, Steve began to worry that Linda would not function well in a foot race.
Steve guessed correctly, as Linda seemed to seal her and Steve's fate when she got lost and made a wrong turn on her way down the mountain trail. Rather than ending up in the same clearing as the rest of the contestants, she ended up far off-course at a highway and needed to flag down a car to take her back to the tram area.
Mark came down the hill next and left the Roadblock with Michael in sixth place. They were followed by Jaime and Cara, LaKisha and Jennifer and Christie and Jodi.
Linda was the last person to finish the Roadblock challenge after being dropped off at the tram site as she and Steve left for Schonau Am Konigssee in last place.
Tammy and Victor were the first team to arrive at Schonau Am Konigssee and receive their next clue, which informed the teams that it was time for them to complete one of the leg's two Detour tasks: "Balancing Dolly" or "Austrian Folly."
"Balancing Dolly" required the teams would have to ride a Segway scooter through a two-mile long obstacle course before receiving their next clue.
"Austrian Folly" required the teams to go into a party tent and throw traditional Austrian pies at a specific target -- their teammate's face -- until they found a pie with a cherry filling in order to receive their next clue.
After choosing "Folly" and completing it with relative ease, Tammy and Victor received their next clue, which instructed them to go to a nearby woodcutters where they would receive a piece of wood with the leg's Pit Stop branded on it. After receiving their branded piece of wood, which told them to drive to Schloss Hellbrunn in Salzburg, they did just that and became the first team to finish the leg.
"I think Victor and I make such a great team because, as mush as I don't want to admit it, we have a 26-year-long relationship, and the fact that Victor makes the final decision, I've had 26 years to sort of get used to that." Tammy said after her team's victory.
The Detour challenges and subsequent finding of the woodcutters proved to have little effect on the final result of the leg's top six finishers, with Mel and Mike choosing "Dolly" to finishing the race in second place.
Amanda and Kris (who chose "Folly") finished the race in third place. They were followed by Margie and Luke (who chose "Folly") in fourth place, Brad and Victoria ("Folly") in fifth place, Cara and Jaime ("Dolly) in sixth place.
While Christie and Jodi completed their Detour challenge with ease, they became confused when looking for the woodcutting location and attempted to bring some random pieces of wood to the "Dolly" Detour task's finish line before a local explained they had misunderstood the directions.
LaKisha and Jennifer completed the Detour and finished the race in seventh place. They were followed by Mark and Michael and Christie and Jodi to round out the top nine teams.
Upon arriving the Pit Stop and learning that they were the last team and had been eliminated, both Steve and Linda began to cry. Steve once again reiterated that, despite his earlier comments, Linda had not been the reason for the team's early exit from the show.
"Linda gave it one-hundred-percent. It wasn't her," he said. "We did this together."
The next episode of The Amazing Race will air on Sunday, March 1 at 8PM ET/PT on CBS.