Exclusive: Scott Flanary talks 'The Amazing Race': We ran a flawless final leg and being a super fan helped
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 06/07/2017
Scott Flanary and Brooke Camhi were crowned the winners of The Amazing Race's 29th season during the finale broadcast on CBS.
Scott, a 34-year-old recruiting manager from West Hollywood, CA, and Brooke, a 36-year-old criminal attorney from New York, NY, arrived at the final Pit Stop in Chicago, IL, in first place, therefore winning the $1 million grand prize.
"You started this race as strangers, and now, after nine countries, 17 cities and more than 36,000 miles racing around the world together, I am pleased to tell you that you have won $1 million and you are the official winners of The Amazing Race!" host Phil Keoghan told the pair as they hugged each other at the finish line.
Tara Carr, a 38-year-old U.S. Army officer from Alexandria, VA, and Joey Covino, a 46-year-old police sergeant from Saugus, MA, completed The Amazing Race in second place. London Kaye, a 27-year-old artist from Brooklyn, NY, and Logan Bauer, a 27-year-old surgical consultant from Columbus, GA, made it to the finish line in third place.
During an exclusive interview with Reality TV World via email following the show's finale, Scott dished about his The Amazing Race experience and victory. Below is the first half of what he had to say.
Reality TV World: When you were racing to the finish line, how confident were you that you had won The Amazing Race? When you were in a taxi going to the finish line, it didn't seem like you thought a team could catch up to you.
Scott Flanary: Once we left Wrigley Field we knew we were in first place. We were the only team to have our placements on the score board and we were en route with the final clue in hand. Our driver knew exactly where he was going so we were confident we were going to fulfill a dream of a lifetime.
Reality TV World: Do you think the fact you left your backpacks at the airport and didn't have to lug them around the entire last leg in Chicago played a role in your victory? If so, how significant of a factor do you think it was?
Scott Flanary: As a super fan, I knew successful teams usually found a way to race the final leg without bags. We didn't know there would be so much running in the final leg (somewhere around 6.5 miles with no mistakes), but I think running without bags was certainly an advantage. The only things you need at check-in are your passport and clues, and those easily fit in your fanny pack.
Reality TV World: When did you make the decision to check your bags, and are you surprised neither of the other two teams followed your lead? Or maybe you guys were deliberately sneaky about the move?
Scott Flanary: The six of us talked about checking bags when we were at the ticket counter, but I discouraged all of us from doing so because we didn't know if we would get them back or if we might need something during the leg.
That was all a rouse, though, because Brooke and I planned to gate check the bag after Mom and Dad [Tara and Joey] and Lolo [London and Logan] boarded, which is exactly what we did. (Gate check means we checked the bags at boarding with the gate agent, and the bags go to baggage claim upon arrival.)
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Reality TV World: Do you think winning the Race basically came down to the fact you were the first ones out of the airport? It didn't seem like teams had much of an opportunity to pass one another unless someone got terribly lost or something. The last leg seemed to lack really competitive tasks other than the scoreboard one at the end. For instance, you can't really screw up handing out hotdogs.
Scott Flanary: I think the taxis played into the order, yes. However, Lolo left before Mom and Dad, and Mom and Dad arrived at the speedway second. The postcard scavenger hunt was ripe for mixing team placements: if you missed one landmark or you didn't get accurate point-to-point directions, there was plenty of opportunity for teams to change placement.
We happened to have planned a route that took us in the appropriate order the quickest way possible. The speedway was another opportunity for teams to change placement. The wheel changing portion ran simultaneously, evidenced by Mom and Dad's ability to catch up to us.
Reality TV World: You seemed to run a very smooth final leg in Chicago. Did you hit any bumps to the finish line that the editing glossed over? Did you encounter any issues viewers didn't really see?
Scott Flanary: This was the first time all Race we ran a flawless leg. Even our one argument (the order we should receive postcards) was insignificant.
I knew the Race went to Chicago in a previous finale (Season 6 even though, I mistakenly say Season 9 in the broadcast), so en route to Chicago I wrote down all the locations they visited along with major landmarks and got those addresses on the plane.
It just so happened the Buckingham Fountain, the Water Tower, and Wrigley Field were included in our leg. I think that is one of the reasons we were able to stay ahead.
Reality TV World: How long did the final scoreboard task take you to complete at Wrigley Field? And how prepared were you for a task like that, what type of notes had you been taking up to that last leg?
Scott Flanary: I think it took us about 15 -- 30 minutes. Brooke and I used the flight from Seoul to study.
We memorized everything: flags, currency, greeter faces and attire, local languages, the order of eliminated teams, the placement of every team on every leg, everyone who completed each Roadblock, the details of all Detours, our first impression of all 20 other cast mates, our favorite and least favorite leg/Roadblock/Detour, and who we would have picked at the start line challenge if not for each other.
We were ready for any memory task and were very happy it was something we memorized.
Reality TV World: Brooke was shown saying at one point that you never thought you guys could win The Amazing Race. When did you two discuss that and was there a reason why you assumed that other than the obvious one -- that you guys bickered a lot? Maybe you felt threatened by other teams or figured you couldn't pull it off since you hadn't won a leg?
Scott Flanary: She was commenting on a statement I made in Leg 2 when I was frustrated to learn she wasn't a runner. I insinuated if it ever came to a foot race we might not be successful.
Interestingly, in a leg full of running, we ended up coming out on top. I definitely ate my words. I never thought we couldn't win, per se, I just learned we needed to implement a mental and social strategy to compensate for other teams' more physical dominance.
Check back with Reality TV World soon for the concluding portion of Scott's interview. And to begin reading our exclusive interview with Brooke, click here.