Exclusive: 'The Amazing Race' blind-date couple Bergen Olson and Kurt Jordan Belcher talk (Part 1)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/07/2015
The Amazing Race eliminated blind-dating couple Bergen Olson and Kurt Jordan Belcher during the 26th season's fifth episode Friday night on CBS.
Bergen, a 23-year-old human resources project manager from Sunnyvale, CA, and Kurt, a 24-year-old pageant consultant from Butler, KY, were ousted from the race around the world after they finished the fifth leg in last place. They were the first blind-dating couple to be eliminated from this season.
Bergen and Kurt's downfall was the fact neither of them knew how to drive a stick shift in a leg where they were required to drive themselves to every destination.
In an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Monday, Bergen and Kurt talked about their The Amazing Race experience. Below is the first half. Check back with us soon for the concluding portion.
Reality TV World: You both left the show feeling very different emotions -- like Bergen, you seemed pretty pissed off, while Kurt thought everything was fine. Do you guys have any type of relationship now? Did you at least become friends after the show?
Kurt Jordan Belcher: Me and Bergen, I wouldn't call ourselves "best friends." We can both agree on that. I think we both are just going to have a mutual respect for one another that we were selected to be partners and we did race Season 26 of The Amazing Race. And I think that's that!
Bergen Olson: We were both put into an extreme situation and, we did, we raced around the world together. And, you know, even though we both didn't get what we wanted from the adventure, I think we both have an appreciation for each other -- not saying we're best friends or anything -- but we are civil and cordial to each other.
Reality TV World: Kurt, after watching the last episode, did you have any idea how frustrated or upset Bergen was with you while racing? Was that kind of news to you?
Kurt Jordan Belcher: No, I knew Bergen was upset. I think, you know, we're just two different types of people on how we handle things. I remained pretty calm with it. I knew from the start line, I asked Bergen, "Can you drive a stick shift?" And we both kind of figured out that was going to be an issue at some point if that came.
So, once we got to the car, I wasn't surprised. And I knew Bergen was getting upset and what not, and he was trying, but I just remained more calm. I kind of looked at it as, "Hey, I'm in Germany right now. We've been to a couple other countries. We won the last episode. If we get eliminated, we get eliminated. If we continue on, then let's continue on in the Race."
Reality TV World: The major storyline with you two was that Bergen thought Kurt gave up on the Race upon discovering there was no love connection. Kurt, could you talk about that a little bit? Is that true? Did you only go on the Race to find love -- not for the adventure or money?
Kurt Jordan Belcher: Well, here's the thing. To say that I quit because I didn't find love is irrelevant, because we knew at the starting line we were not a match. We were not at all a match. We asked for something specific and we were given the complete opposite.
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So, if I wanted to quit on the Race because I didn't find love, I would've quit right on the starting line and said, "I don't want to do this." But you know, it was what it was. But I was like, "Alright, let's race on." I think that it kind of appears I did because I talked about love a lot, but hey, I've never had a relationship.
I don't know the feeling of having somebody love you in that sort of way, and I'm sitting there online and I get a phone call, "You want to go on The Amazing Race? It's going to be a blind date. You might fall in love." And I was just like, "Yeah, sign me up. I want to do it."
Reality TV World: Bergen, how much did competing and winning really mean to you compared to finding love on the show?
Bergen Olson: So, as a huge fan of the Race, you know, the first season came out when I was 10 and I remember sitting in the living room with my family and watching the show religiously. I mean, every single season. And so, getting that call to go on The Amazing Race when I hadn't applied or hadn't even put in an application was so overwhelming, you know?
And then they mentioned, "Okay, it's a blind date." And then they mentioned, "Since it's a blind-date aspect, you could fall in love. You could get in a relationship," and that was like an added bonus for me.
So I knew that coming on the Race, that was a possibility, but as you know, in reality TV, things don't always happen. Look at The Bachelor. Look at The Bachelorette, where they go through the whole season and then they propose and then they break up after a month or two months, you know?
So I know reality and I'm a realist. Coming into it, I was focused on the Race. I am a very, very competitive person, and I think Kurt can back me up on that. He probably got really annoyed with me throughout the Race, but I am really competitive person and I know what I want and I get what I want by working hard.
And the added pressure of the blind-date aspect was just an added bonus. So, like Kurt said, at the starting line, we were like, "Okay, we know this isn't going to work out."
And I do specifically remember Kurt coming over and the first thing that we said on the starting line -- our first words -- were, "You know how to drive a stick shift?" And we both kind of looked at each other and were like, "Oh, this is going to be our Kryptonite."
Reality TV World: So it sounds like you didn't learn how to drive a stick shift because you assumed your partner on the Race would know how?
Kurt Jordan Belcher: Yeah, I mean, we were looking for real, masculine men. So of course we thought he'd be able to in a race around the world. That's sexy.
Reality TV World: When host Phil Keoghan approached you guys, where were you and why were you just sitting there? Did you just get off the train?
Kurt Jordan Belcher: Yeah, we were heading to the beer crates, right Bergen?
Bergen Olson: Yeah the "Stack" Detour.
Kurt Jordan Belcher: We were going to continue the Race... but we missed the train. Was that it, Bergen?
Bergen Olson: Yeah, we made our way back to the train station but we saw that a train wasn't going to come for another -- I want to say, like, 30 to 45 minutes or whatever. And so, we walked around the village trying to find a taxi.
But (laughs) it was vacant. I mean, there was no one in that town. And then that's when it clicked with me, like, "Oh, no wonder you need a car for this leg of the Race, because you literally can't get around without a car."
And so, we went back to the train station and we got on it, but then we missed our stop. And so, when we got off at the train station, we were sitting there waiting for the next train, and it was getting dark. And so, we were told to stop racing.
And at that point, that's kind of when we knew, like, "Yup, they are coming to eliminate us. We can't even go finish this leg." So, yeah, reality hit home pretty quick... So we were en route to the "Stack" Detour and we weren't allowed to continue.
Reality TV World: Did you have any hope the leg might be a non-elimination?
Kurt Jordan Belcher: I was confident that that was not going to happen.
Bergen Olson: Yeah, same here. As a fan of the show, you don't see two non-elims [close to one another]. So I wasn't hopeful. And even if it was a non-elim, we would've been hours and hours and hours behind for the penalties of not using the car.
Reality TV World: Any idea how far behind Michael Dombrowski and Rochelle Nevedal you were?
Kurt Jordan Belcher: We were waiting at Winter Wonderland, waiting out our penalty, and I think we had like 45 minutes left in the penalty and Mike and Rochelle still hadn't gotten there.
And so, we hid next to the polar bear and when they backed up, we were in the Winter Wonderland. They were so confused, like, "What are you guys doing?!" So when they left, we probably only had, like, 30 minutes left to wait. So we weren't that far behind at all.
Check back with Reality TV World soon for the concluding portion of Bergen and Kurt's exclusive interview.