Exclusive: 'The Amazing Race' eliminees Michael Ward and Scott Strazzullo talk (Part 1)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 10/13/2014
The Amazing Race eliminated Michael Ward and Scott Strazzullo during Friday night's third broadcast of the CBS reality competition's 25th season.
The "Firefighters" from Boston, MA, became the third team eliminated from the around-the-world competition after they arrived at the Race's third Pit Stop at St. Ninian's Isle in Aberdeen, Scotland, in last place.
Michael and Scott struggled with a task in which they needed to corral sheep. They then drove a while to the wrong location as they were heading to the Pit Stop.
In an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Monday, Michael and Scott talked about their The Amazing Race experience. Below is the first half. Check back with us soon for the concluding portion of their interview.
Reality TV World: How far behind Tim Tsao and Te Jay McGrath did you two finally make it to the Pit Stop?
Michael Ward: I think we were probably less than a half-hour -- around that area somewhere. But that was after going 25 miles or so in the wrong direction and then heading back. It was 50 miles just to get back to where we started.
Reality TV World: Were you two banking on a non-elimination leg or did you not really think about that possibility going to the Pit Stop mat?
Scott Strazzullo: We hoped that it wouldn't even have to come to that. We really thought showing up -- because you lose people and you lose [track] of time sometimes -- you never know. We were hoping that though, that we were still in it and that wouldn't even be in consideration.
When we finally showed up and we counted all the vehicles, we knew that we were the last team. Of course, you know, in my gut I was hoping maybe, "Hey, maybe it will be a non-elimination leg," but unfortunately, it didn't work out that way.
Michael Ward: Yeah, [Phil Keoghan] always has his poker face on. So until we saw the cars, we didn't think we were last. Because we were seeing that other people went the wrong way too, and when we saw the cars, Phil likes to let you down before he lifts you up. So we kept our poker faces on too -- until he kicked us in the gut and gave us the bad news, you know?
Scott Strazzullo: (Laughs)
Michael Ward: But Phil's a great guy.
Scott Strazzullo: Oh yeah.
Michael Ward: Great people all across the board. Everyone was really dynamite to us. Like I said, we try to stay positive no matter what happens. Our whole goal is "team" -- being at each other's side and working together no matter what. We had some bad things go our way, but we had some good things go our way as well, and it just didn't work out that day.
We kept throwing some nonsense out, saying this stuff and that when our backs were to the wall. But it is true, with other teams breaking down around us -- and we saw teams breaking down around us, and I'm sure in future episodes there will be some issues with teammates.
Scott Strazzullo: Yep.
Michael Ward: Oh yeah. And we didn't have those problems. We built each other up, and you know, in adversity, you can either face it and overcome it, or you can let it control you. And we tried to overcome it and find the good in people and in events.
Reality TV World: Scott, your ankle injury looked really bad but you kind of played it off like it wasn't. Did you end up getting it checked, and if so, what exactly happened?
Scott Strazzullo: Yeah, I ended up going and getting it checked and X-rayed, and I'm still doing some physical therapy to better it. It's still weak, like I can't do the things I did, like hockey skate. I went skating to get ready for the Race and things like that. I haven't been able to skate or anything like that.
So it has been -- you know, it's funny, I played a lot of football in my life but I never got injured, and I got injured on a street corner in London in the middle of the night when there's no one around. Like Mike was saying, we were running around crazy when there's a lot of people to dodge, and then when it's quiet and we're moving along, boom.
But we really felt like we were going to take the lead. We came back from being four hours behind other teams and made it to sixth place. So we were really gunning to try to go as hard as we could. We put it all out there, you know, and unfortunately, it didn't work out to our advantage.
Michael Ward: We actually went around that mote, which was probably a mile. We did that twice. Our first one, I kind of did the breast-stroke from the front of the boat. We passed every single team and there were other teams that got caught, they couldn't get out of the current. We were flying through that; We did it a second time. We flew through the same people.
So you know, it takes you a couple episodes to understand things, but if we had flipped those cakes a little better, we probably would have come in second or third with everyone on that first plane.
Scott Strazzullo: Yeah, but I don't even think it was flipping the cakes. When it came down to it, it was just full speed ahead. We took a cab -- we jumped into a cab -- which they really didn't show -- and then we got out of it, and if we had stayed with the cab, we would've been there even quicker.
There's just a lot of things... But the whole thing is the tempo and we had to stay positive and keep our tempo up. And I know if we had kept the tempo up and moved along -- because we had to run to the train whether we knew we had to or not. We couldn't waste any time; We wanted to move forward. And that was our whole goal.
Reality TV World: If you two had stayed in the Race, Scott, how do you think your ankle would have held up? Do you think you'd have a shot to win the whole thing or did you foresee it as being a huge hindrance?
Scott Strazzullo: No, I'm used to pain. I didn't think the ankle was going to be a problem. I don't think the ankle would've eliminated us. I really, truly think it came down to bad directions. It was something we couldn't overcome.
I think even if we got in a foot race with some of those people, we still would have won. But that's how we do things. That's how we are in our fire truck. We stay positive and we push through things, you know?
I mean, everyone counted us out in the foot race with the blondes [Lisa Thomson and Michelle Thomson] and we beat them. It's what we do. I knew we would've succeeded if it was close quarters, but it was something that we just really couldn't get over -- that time that we lost.
Michael Ward: Scott rolled his foot two more times chasing those sheep. Yeah, you didn't see that. There were holes in that sheep pen, where the sheep dig their whatever. So that was two more times. It was much worse than you had seen on TV, but he was running through it. It definitely would've slowed us down.
It did have to make us change our tactics, because even when everyone came off the train running for the ferry and they were running like animals, we were the first to get the ferry!
And we were the first off it and we were the first team to the puffin as well. We were the first team, I think, with the Viking torches. I mean, there were a lot of things that we did good that day. It's just unfortunately the whole -- in the end, it wasn't enough to overcome bad directions.
Reality TV World: How long did the sheep task take you guys to complete? And I know you considered taking that four-hour time penalty, so once you decided to stick with it, how much longer were you there?
Scott Strazzullo: I said that out loud, but that was not going to be an option of ours. I said that out loud to kind of like, you know, because what we do is, we brainstorm out loud to each other. We weren't stopping, we were just figuring, "How are we going to do this? Can we switch tasks? What do you want to do? Do you want to try?"
We tried every option we could to keep motivated and keep thinking going forward. That wasn't something we were going to do. We were never going to quit on anything, and sometimes, you just say that in frustration. We'll say things like, "What do you want here? What do you want to do here?"
That's how we work together and we mean a lot to each other. Because when we're back at the firehouse and we have 200 people in the truck and we're trying to take care of somebody that is injured or something like that, we give each other suggestions. We're not ego-driven; We're team-driven. And we always try to be that way, you know?
Reality TV World: So how long do you think you worked at that sheep task for?
Scott Strazzullo: Gee, I don't know. We were there for a while, well over an hour.
Please check back with Reality TV World soon for the concluding portion of Michael and Scott's exclusive interview.