'American Grit' recap: Team Noah Galloway wins, civilian Chris Krueger gives up in brutal "circus"
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/15/2016
American Grit premiered on Fox Thursday night and concluded with the elimination of Tawanda "Tee" Hanible's team member Chris "The Hollywood Trainer" Krueger.
Chris, a 32-year-old strength and performance coach, was one of four members on Tee's team. After being chosen to compete in "the circus," the most brutal combination of military exercises, Chris was the first of three civilians to give up and ring the bell, ultimately sealing his fate in the new survival and military-themed reality competition.
"Ringing the bell is a huge disappointment. I feel bad for letting my team down, but I gave my best possible effort," Chris said in his final words before telling Tee he respected her and her service.
American Grit's debut episode began with host John Cena introducing viewers to this season's four military heroes: Tee, a Marine Gunnery Sergeant; Navy Seal Commander Rorke Denver; Army Sergeant Noah Galloway; and Army Ranger Nick "The Reaper" Irving.
Each military hero was allowed to pick four people for his or her team out of the 16 competing civilians with the intention of pushing them to their breaking points through punishing challenges inspired by actual military training.
John explained that one team will stand beside its leader at the end of the season and take home up to $1 million -- $250,000 each. To win, the team must display courage, determination and team work.
The 16 civilians underwent some tasks throughout the first day so the four military leaders could witness their strengths and weaknesses, see what they were made of, and then determine whom they'd like to train this season. The civilians rappelled off a bridge and more.
Tee selected the following team: Chris; Tony "Touchdown Tony" Simmons, a 41-year-old sports performance coach and former NFL player; Brooke Van "The Obstacle Course Junkie" Paris, a 25-year-old sales rep; and Ivette "The Equestrian" Saucedo, a 35-year-old model.
Rorke picked Tabatha "The Roller Girl" Chandler, a 39-year-old registered nurse; Marc "The Machine" Lobliner, a 35-year-old CEO of a nutrition company; Mario "The Triathlete" Robinson, a 25-year-old personal trainer; and Ashley "The Marine's Daughter" Hazlett, a 31-year-old event coordinator.
Nick recruited Jim "The Boston Cop" Vaglica, a 54-year-old police officer; Maria "The No Excuses Mom" Kang, a 35-year-old nonprofit founder and author; Cameron "The Wrestler" Zagami, a 22-year-old professional wrestler; and Kimberly "KJoy" Joy, a 38-year-old yoga instructor.
Noah wanted Lisa "The Bikini Bodybuilder" Traugott, a 42-year-old trainer and author; David "The Olympian" Neville, a 31-year-old college track and field head coach; Clare "The Fisherman" Painter, a 47-year-old horse trainer and fisherman; and Mark "The Lumberjack" Bouquin, a 26-year-old Timbersports athlete.
The season's first challenge -- which is called an "evolution" on this show -- required each team to pick up a 120-pound log and race with it over three miles through the forest, facing three obstacles along the way. The log could never hit the ground or the team would be penalized by having to run in place and waste time.
The first team to complete all three obstacles and finish the race would win and be safe from elimination. In the end, Noah's team worked together well under his guidance and won the evolution.
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John then explained the three losing teams must send one member into "the circus," which Rorke called "a savage beating." The first person to give up in the circus and ring the bell would be sent home.
Rorke, Nick and Tee were tasked with choosing which one of their team members would represent them in the circus. Tee picked Chris in the hope he would return a more humble man, Nick sent Jim into the circus hoping he'd gain confidence, and Rorke had Tabatha compete because she had a lot of heart even though she wasn't the biggest person physically.
For the circus, the three participants were instructed to complete a muscle-draining obstacle course complete with climbing a three-story cargo net, ascending a 30-foot log structure and tumbling down a canyon. At the end, the civilians had to stand on an endurance platform and bear the weight of a sandbag attached to a rope. The first person to drop his or her sandbag would be out.
Chris reached the endurance platform first followed by Jim and then Tabatha. They started at the same time, so Chris was given a slight advantage in that he could rest after the obstacle course. After 40 minutes, the civilians were required to hold the rope with only one hand.
After one hour, Chris dropped out and was eliminated. Tee was embarrassed, saying Chris' cocky attitude got the best of him.