"The Afghanimals" became the eighth team eliminated from the around-the-world competition after they arrived at the Race's eleventh Pit Stop at Peckforton Castle in London, England in last place. Leo and Jamal, who are usually very good with directions, got lost twice during the leg.
In an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Monday, Jamal talked about his The Amazing Race experience. Below is the first half of his interview. Check back with us soon for the concluding portion and also for Leo's answers to the questions.
Reality TV World: You guys slowly walked up to The Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan at the Pit Stop looking pretty defeated. Was that because you were fairly certain you were in last place or were you just not running because of your leg injury?
Jamal Zadran: No, we knew we were in last place when we checked in. Where we parked our car, we saw the other three Ford Focuses. We knew we were the last team.
Reality TV World: Could you talk about your knee injury a little bit? Did you get that checked out during or after the Race and how bad was it?
Jamal Zadran: It was a minor meniscus tear. I had a lot of swelling in there. I'm going to physical therapy, in fact, today. I've been going twice a week. I had to wear a brace for the longest time and I still can't squat down or bend my knee all the way back.
And it happened on the running with the bulls [task], but [the episode] didn't show the exact scene when I got tackled from two different directions and then my knee went sideways. So, it was pain that I never felt before my whole life even with the amount of sports that I've played. So it's really, really tough.
Reality TV World: So did you kind of downplay the pain you were in while racing? Because obviously viewers had no idea it was that bad.
Jamal Zadran: Yeah, our medics were saying, "Oh, it's nothing! It's nothing." But I knew the pain was becoming more, and when we had to do the soccer challenge, any time I would plant or pivot off my left knee, it was just kind of a shock or a jolt down my whole leg.
It was something that I never felt before, you know, so that in the game, you can't quit. You can't, you know, have any kind of excuses. So we just knew we had to finish one way or the other. So it was hard to put any kind of pressure on that left leg.
Reality TV World: I'm pretty sure it's safe to say getting lost was your downfall in this leg. Let's start with the drive from Anfield Stadium to the aqueduct. You stopped at a gas station and asked multiple people for directions and then you followed Brendon Villegas and Rachel Reilly but they seemed to fake you out and send you in the wrong direction. Did anything else happen?
Jamal Zadran: We thought we were going in the right direction because we got directions from the gas station, saying that, you know, you have to exit on that exit that we took. So it wasn't so much of them trying to trick us out.
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We thought we were going the right way. We thought they were going wrong, when in fact, they were going the right way. So if we would've followed them, we probably would have -- they were probably five minutes ahead of us, so we would've gotten to the aqueduct at the same time.
But I think the biggest navigation with our sense of misdirection was after the aqueduct to the Roadblock challenge. We should've just waited for [David O'Leary] and [Connor O'Leary]. They were about 10 minutes behind us, and we should've just followed them to the Detour.
Because when you're that late in the game and you have two teams, you know, the last two teams at the bottom, it's always good to have a sight of another team than to just go on by yourselves.
And the reason why we did go on by ourselves is because we were so confident in our sense of directions that in past legs, people were following us. We weren't asking for directions. We just had that natural sense of getting from Point A to Point B. So we didn't want people to follow us.
Reality TV World: How long do you think you got lost driving around at that point? Any idea on that?
Jamal Zadran: It was at least a good 45-50 minutes. Any time we asked somebody, they didn't know. And when someone stopped to point out directions, once we got to the next point, we would still question ourselves, "Is this the right way?" So we'd ask somebody else and they'd say, "No."
So we lost 15 minutes there and then 15 minutes to go back, which is 30 minutes. So it was just playing catch-up right after that, and we knew we were in trouble. Once, you know, 15 minutes here, 15 minutes there, we were like, "I hope other teams are making this same mistake, but chances are, they probably aren't."
Reality TV World: You both found your navigation skills to be a strength, so it was fairly unusual you got lost. Why do you think those skills failed you in this leg? Do you think you were just overly stressed or lacked focus because you feared getting eliminated at the same fourth-place point as last season?
Jamal Zadran: I think as we were driving to -- I think it was called Bolesworth Estate -- it was basically someone's home in the middle of Wales, and asking random locals, "Do you know where this home is?" They were like, "No, we've never heard of it."
So it kind of threw us off and the best thing that we should've done, we should've gone in somewhere and just printed out directions -- mapquest, something, but we were so confident that we were like, "Okay, we'll get in. We're good with people giving us directions and we'll memorize this just like we did in Italy and Spain and anywhere else, Switzerland." That really bit us in the butt.
Reality TV World: Since you did finish in fourth place again, although you guys appeared to be in good spirits at the end of the episode, how frustrating was that really? It's like bad karma or something.
Jamal Zadran: I mean, we knew we were last. We thought we saw Brendon and Rachel at the last Detour but it wasn't them. We were finishing the clay shooting, which we got done pretty quick -- we were pretty good at it -- we said, "You know what? We're not going to give up. You never know if a team has a penalty or they got lost like we got lost. Let's just finish strong."
But then our dreams shattered once we saw three other white Ford Focuses at the castle. We knew, like, "Okay, this is it," you know?
Reality TV World: How long after the third-place team do you think you arrived at the Pit Stop?
Jamal Zadran: They were about 30 minutes, I believe -- 30 or 25 minutes ahead of us at check-in time.
Reality TV World: What did you find difficult about the Welch poetry Roadblock task and any idea how long it took you to complete that?
Jamal Zadran: The poetry task was pretty tough. I mean, it was really tough and I was emphasizing more on the enunciation, the pronunciation, of the words rather than just getting it done.
Because when I saw it on TV last night, I was like, "Oh wow, they weren't even trying as hard at pronouncing it, but they still got it." But then there's the pressure of, "Okay, last season, Leo messed up at the Roadblock, and now, this is your turn. Is this going to happen again? Deja vu?"
So that was playing a sense of stress in my brain. I felt like, "I cannot mess up. I cannot mess up." I was like, "We're not going to have two years back to back with failing at the Roadblock and then getting eliminated." So that was extra pressure, and then the fact it was really cold and rainy.
But once Brendon got it done and then it was [Caroline Cutbirth], it was like a domino effect. And I got it done, and then Caroline and [Jennifer Wayne] were about four minutes ahead of us. And then Dave and Connor were about two, three minutes behind us. So everyone was pretty close to each other once we left the Roadblock.
Above is the first half of Jamal's exclusive interview with Reality TV World. Check back with us soon for the concluding portion and also for Leo's answers to the questions.