Cathy Skell gets eliminated from 'The Biggest Loser: Couples'
By John Bracchitta, 03/18/2009
The second selfless act on the Blue team in as many weeks to save a family member led to Cathy Skell becoming the thirteenth contestant eliminated from The Biggest Loser: Couples during last night's broadcast on NBC.
"I never thought that I'd make it this far, I'm totally shocked that I made it past [the half way point in the show]," the 48-year-old title sales closing agent from Shiocton, WI said following her elimination. "I'm very proud of the accomplishments I've made. I feel strong and I enjoy exercising, I enjoy pushing myself. Exercise is something that is so empowering, especially for someone like me who is a recovering alcoholic... I mean the sky's the limit on what you can do."
The Biggest Loser: Couples' tenth episode began with the Blue team in the elimination room immediately after their elimination of Amanda "Mandi" Kramer. After they were joined by the Black team, The Biggest Loserhost Alison Sweeney told the teams they would all be heading home for the week. While at home, they would have to continue their workouts on their own and then return the ranch for their next weigh-in.
"I could not believe that we're gonna get to see our families again," exclaimed Sione Fa, a 28-year-old landscape company owner from Maricopa, AZ.
However, while excited, some contestants also quickly realized the potential downside to leaving the ranch for a week of reuniting with their families
"It's gonna be challenging, we're gonna be going back to an environment that kind of got us this always," said Ron Morelli, a 54-year-old city councilman and retired food distributor from South Lyon, MI.
Each of the contestants returned home to tearful reunions with their families. The return of Ron and his son Mike Morelli, an 18-year-old student from South Lyon, MI, was particularly memorable. Upon seeing Ron and Mike return home, Max, Ron's other heavily overweight son, burst into tears about their weight loss and had to be consoled by Mike.
Once the contestants had settled in back at home, they were quickly learned that the week would be anything but a walk in the park when they each received a giant tin filled with sugar cookies and a DVD. The DVD featured a message from Alison which informed them that they would be competing in am at-home challenge in which each contestant would have to run a 13.1-mile half-marathon. The contestant who was able to finish the half-marathon in the shortest time would receive a $10,000 cash prize.
"$10,000! That is freakin' huge!" said Laura Denoux, a 24-year-old sales director and former model from Miami, FL.
However, the contestants also learned the challenge would be mixed with a Temptation as well, and that they would be able to add an extra five minutes to any contestant's final half-marathon time for every sugar cookie they decided to eat. The winner of the challenge would be announced to the contestants after they had returned to the ranch.
While Tara Costa, a 23-year-old finance manager and former model from New York, NY, worried the other contestants might single her out and look to saddle her with extra time, Sione chose not to dwell on what they could do and instead focused solely on continuing to exercise so he could better his life with his family.
"Its not about the $10,000 right now, it's about life challenges," he said. "I'm just gonna go run this marathon as fast as I can and hopefully be the winner."
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The contestants each then embarked on their own hometown half-marathons flanked by their family and friends. While Tara and Sione seemed to nearly match each other's times mile-after-mile, Sione's quad tightened up when he was 200 yards away from the finish line, causing him to need to pause and stretch out. As result, Tara to finish her half-marathon with the fastest pre-Temptation time of 2:24:19.
Sione finished with the second quickest time of 2:25:57. Helen Phillips, a 47-year-old retired retail manager from Sterling Heights, MI, finished with the third fastest time of 2:49:19 and was followed by Aubrey Cheney, a 28-year-old information and education specialist from Gooding, ID, who finished at 2:53:02. Cathy finished next at 3:15:21 and was followed by Mike at 3:19:38; Laura at 3:24:00; Filipe Fam, a 26-year-old lube technician from Mesa, AZ, at 3:24:05; and Kristin Steede, a 28-year-old business owner from Greenville, WI, who finished at 3:43:45.
Ron did not finish his half-marathon, but was able to run four miles in 1:53:24.
After finishing up their week at home while attempting to get in their workouts, resist temptation and try to rub off their weight loss techniques on their family and friends, the contestants returned to the ranch and met with Alison to learn the results of the challenge.
After revealing that Tara had beaten Sione by just over one minute in their half-marathon, Alison then revealed that Helen had eaten a cookie and given the five minutes to Tara, bumping her time up to 2:29:19 and pushing Sione's time of 2:25:57 into first place, winning him the $10,000 prize.
"I was shocked, I'm annoyed," said Tara after learning that she had lost her lead because of Helen's cookie. "It stinks coming so close, and you can almost taste it, and then boom, $10 grand just falling out of your hands because of one cookie."
The teams then proceeded to their last chance workouts with trainers Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels before heading to their weigh-in for the week. Alison said that the format for the weigh-in would return to it's classic form, with each team weighing in and the team with the lowest combined percentage of weight loss having to send one of their members home.
The Black team weighed in first with Mike (8 pounds), Laura (6 pounds), Tara (2 pounds), Sione (4 pounds), Filipe (7 pounds), and Helen (7 pounds) losing a combined 34 pounds for a weight-loss percentage of 2.35%.
The Blue team followed next, with Aubrey (5 pounds), Ron (10 pounds), and Cathy (1 pound) losing a combined 16 lbs. However Kristin gained one pound at her weigh-in, reducing the team's combined weight loss to 15 pounds their total weight-loss percentage to just 1.34%.
The performance sent the Blue team to the elimination room yet again while giving immunity to Ron, who had the highest individual weight-loss percentage on the team.
"I give up. I had an awesome week and once again, [there's] no time to celebrate because the Blue team loses and we have to send someone home again," a frustrated Aubrey said following the weigh-in.
After meeting to discuss which team member they would eliminate, Aubrey plead to remain on the ranch and not suffer the same fate of her sister and quickly found her wish granted when Cathy volunteered to go home herself.
"Cathy, I can't [force you] to go home," a shocked Aubrey told her.
"You busted your ass to try and get immunity... Look, it boils down to who needs to be here," Cathy responded. "I feel strong enough."
"I want to stay here, but as a parent you always put your children first, and I don't think I could handle it if Kristin went home, and Aubrey's been like a daughter to me," she added later, clarifying why she chose to volunteer herself for elimination.
In a post-show update, it was revealed that Cathy and her two daughters at home had lost a combined 141 pounds together and hoped to lose 205 pounds together by the time of the show's finale.