Exclusive: Gary Wojnar and Will Chiola talk 'The Amazing Race' (Part 2)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 10/23/2012
Gary Wojnar and Will Chiola were eliminated from The Amazing Race during Sunday night's fourth broadcast of the CBS reality competition's 21st season.
The "Best Friends and Substitute Teachers" became the fourth team eliminated from the around-the-world competition after they arrived at the Race's fourth Pit Stop at the Shambazar Chan Mia Ghat in Dhaka, Bangladesh in last place. The pair moved into last place after they experienced a long unnecessary "wild" cab ride through backroads, losing about an hour's worth of time, and then they couldn't regain speed once Gary greatly struggled with the Roadblock task.
In an exclusive interview on Monday, Gary and Will talked to Reality TV World about their The Amazing Race experience -- including why they didn't end up where they were supposed to take the first riverboat, whether they were surprised Rob French and Kelley Carrington-French denied U-Turning them in a previous leg, how prepared they felt for the Race considering they're huge fans of the show, and which teams they believed were true competitive threats.
Below is the concluding portion of Gary and Will's interview. Click here to read the first half.
Reality TV World: You ran into Trey Wier and Alexis "Lexi" Beerman before getting into your riverboat for the first time. You took a cab to Swarighat instead of the riverboat. So could you talk about what happened there? Was that a result of you two maybe misreading the clue in the beginning or was that a mistake on your taxi driver's part in that maybe he misunderstood your instructions?
Gary Wojnar: It was interesting because the clue was somewhat tricky the way it was written. The first paragraph, it said, "Make your way to the next Pit Stop." And it told you where the Pit Stop was at.
Then, there was a space and there was another paragraph that stated, "In order to reach the Pit Stop, you must travel to the other side of the river, take a boat to a landing, and then walk to the Pit Stop." So what we did is, we folded the clue over so just the paragraph stating where to go on the river to catch the boat was, and we gave it to our driver.
We pointed out, "This is where we want to go." We didn't end up seeing the first paragraph because we didn't have to get to that point yet. We had to get to the river landing where we took the boat. So we folded it over, we were looking at that, we showed it to him, and he stopped at one point and took the clue out to ask somebody.
All that we could think of is that when he took the clue out, he unfolded it and had showed them the first part -- or he showed them the part on the other side -- and got his directions from that. But when he got back in the cab, when we were pulled over, we pointed at the middle part and said, "Are we going here?" And he shook his head, "Yes."
So we did have some bad taxi luck, but ultimately, if I would've gotten the Bondo Roadblock task done quicker, we wouldn't have been in that spot -- or even the mattress done quicker, we wouldn't have been in that spot. We did not know Trey and Lexi were in front of us until we actually found them on the river bank.
Reality TV World: When you guys finally arrived at the Pit Stop and The Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan announced you had come in last place. You both seemed to expect -- or at least hope -- he was going to say it was a non-elimination leg. Was that actually the case? Since there hasn't been a non-elimination leg so far this season, even viewers thought your chances were pretty good of getting one.
Will Chiola: We actually got so upset... [we thought it was a non-elimination]. We actually jumped up for a second and then we realized, "Wait a minute. He said, 'Unfortunately, we are eliminated.'" So we were in shock. We were like -- it was devastating for both of us. I'm still -- I was watching it on TV in shock that we are no longer on the Race.
Gary Wojnar: We were hoping it would be a non-elimination or we were hoping that somebody had messed up and we were still in it, because we've watched the Race and we know that anything can happen.
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And when we did get to the mat and Phil said we were eliminated, it was like somebody had punched us in the gut. We just lost all air out of us. It was just very, very devastating to tell you the truth. We just couldn't believe it.
Reality TV World: During last week's episode, Rob and Kelley U-Turned you guys, and you both made it apparent you had a pretty good idea it was them. Did you ever end up saying anything to Rob and Kelley about the U-Turn or did you at least have the intentions to at some point had you not been eliminated?
Will Chiola: Well, we did ask Rob and Kelley if they U-Turned us, and they said, "No." But then we said, "Well if you did, that's no big deal because not only do we think you did, but we U-Turned you. It's just part of the game. You have to look out for yourself." So we had no problem with them U-Turning us. We don't care if they did it or not.
Gary Wojnar: Right. We did ask them and they denied it. It's like, "Come on, we know you guys did it. It's all good." And as Will said, it's no big deal, because you use every tool you have available to eliminate other teams to ensure you're not eliminated.
And as Will said, we ended up U-Turning them even though if we looked like [unintelligible] our friends, but still, we had no idea who was in front of us or behind us. But yeah, you have to use every tool available. I mean, there's no hard feelings definitely.
Will Chiola: I mean, we did both Detours, but we still came out ontop and didn't get eliminated. So, we're pretty proud of that fact.
Reality TV World: You two were clearly huge fans ofThe Amazing Race prior to competing on this season. Based upon the knowledge you had gained from watching the show on TV, and then comparing that to your actual racing experience, how prepared did you feel? Did you almost feel like your knowledge of the show didn't even really help you?
Will Chiola: Well, we didn't know how hard it was to communicate with the locals, so you can't really compare anything to it. I mean, I was trying to learn Spanish, but it didn't really help us out because we didn't get to use Spanish. But, basically, looking back, we know that the only thing we could've prepared for is to run with a backpack.
Gary Wojnar: We are huge fans of the show. We could tell you everybody -- who was on what season and what they did. But that doesn't always translate into doing well on the Race. Communication is a huge issue, and you think you're prepared for it. You run outside, you watch video, you watch TV, you look it up on the Internet.
But until you actually get to a country, the experience first-hand is quite -- hits you right in the solar plexus, I guess you would say. When you realize that -- and I think that one of the things we were most proud of during the Race was that we treated the locals with respect.
There were some teams on previous Races that treated people like they were their own servant, just for their own service. But we treated people with respect.
Not only were we representing ourselves, but we were representing the Race and actually part of the United States. This is probably the only chance they're going to meet people from the United States, and we didn't want them going away thinking, "What a bunch of jerks."
Will Chiola: But what you have to realize is, the cab driver, [etc], they're not in the game for a million dollars. They're just trying to do their job and trying to help us out. So we respect that and wanted to treat them with respect as well.
Gary Wojnar: For all future people who want to race, we worked out like crazy. But there's a difference of running for two hours at a gym, an air-conditioned gym, and sitting in 100-degree heat in Bangladesh.
What you do is, you get a backpack -- which we did -- and you put 50 pounds in it and you run, and run, and run, and run. And when you think you've had enough, run some more. That's how you physically prepare yourself for The Amazing Race.
Reality TV World: While you were on the Race, which teams did you think were going to be your stiffest competition and/or the toughest competitors? Caitlin King and Brittany Fletcher told me last week they thought Amy Purdy and Daniel Gale were going to be in the Final 3 had they not been eliminated obviously. Did you feel the same way about them?
Will Chiola: Well, I suspected Amy and Daniel were very smart and I knew they would be strong competition. I think all the Racers had really strong attributes. Looking at all the teams, I was really intimidated by the Chippendales ["Chippendales Dancers and Best Friends" Jaymes Vaughan and James Davis] because they're so strong and used to the spotlight, and they're really good performers.
Gary Wojnar: I have to agree with Will on that. Also, I have to admire the tenacity and determination of [Abbie Ginsberg and Ryan Danz]. We thought they would be tremendous competitors. Also, Caitlin and Brittany, we thought were tremendous athletes. We thought they were going to go a very long way.
We thought that the Beekman Boys ["Goat Farmers and Life Partners" Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge] had the ability to talk to people. They were very personable, very nice guys. We really liked them. We keep in touch with them. We keep in touch with all the Racers. We thought they had a chance to go a real long way because of their interactions with the people they were dealing with.
Will Chiola: Also, the rockers ["Friends" James LoMenzo and Mark "Abba" Abbattista], I admire the way they make their own decisions and they don't align with anybody. Because ultimately, they're going to be responsible for their own demise or success on the show.
Gary Wojnar: That's so right. Ultimately, everybody is responsible for their own success or failure. And a lot of [people] use the lemmings mentality. Like [someone] starts doing stuff and then everyone is like, "Look, we better go with them!" The rockers did their own thing and they'll sink of swim on their own ability.
Above is the concluding portion of Gary and Will's interview. Click here to read the first half.