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'The Bachelor Winter Games' recap: Eight people go home and Ben Higgins breaks down crying, plus a kissing competition!


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 02/21/2018 

The Bachelor Winter Games saw Ben Higgins, Clare Crawley, Michael Garofola, Yuki Kimura, Tiffany Scanlon, and Christian Rauch quit the show, as well as Josiah Graham and Ally Thompson getting eliminated during Tuesday night's penultimate episode on ABC.

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Ben, Clare, Michael, Yuki from Japan, Christian from Germany, and Tiffany from Australia all chose to leave The Hermitage Club in Vermont because they had failed to find romance or their perfect match as other couples were beginning to get serious.

"The Bachelor worked for me. I fell in love, and I came here because I truly want to feel those feelings again. But I know I'm not ready to enter into anything here," Ben said in his final words.

"I 100 percent want a relationship. I know I desire love more than I ever have before. But it's time for me to recover outside of this and get some privacy, some time for myself. I think there's potential for actual love here, 100 percent, it just wasn't for me."

RELATED LINK: 'THE BACHELOR WINTER GAMES' SPOILERS: WHO WINS? WHO COUPLES UP?? ARE THEY STILL TOGETHER???

Once Clare decided to leave because she wasn't hitting it off with Christian, she revealed she's not afraid of being alone if the alternative is being with the wrong person.

"It's just crazy to think I had, not one, but two guys notice me, and I think [Benoit Beausejour-Savard] was maybe the right guy. But I always end up feeling not worthy of it, like I wasn't good enough. Way too many times right? But I believe in love and I believe I'm not giving up," Clare explained. "I'll never give up, and that's the best I can do."

Josiah and Ally from New Zealand, on the other hand, were ousted from the Winter Games after they finished a kissing competition in last place.

Although Josiah checked most of Ally's boxes on paper, she said they were "missing a spark" and she just "couldn't force" an intimate connection. Ally wished she wasn't scared going into The Bachelor Winter Games and had been "more open to love." 
 
The Bachelor Winter Games broadcast began with Luke Pell insisting his relationship with Nastassia Yaramchuk from Sweden was one of the strongest left in the house -- if not the strongest.

Luke said Australia's Courtney Dober and New Zealand's Lily McManus seemed natural together, and while Bibiana Julian and New Zealand's Jordan Mauger also looked comfortable and happy together.

At this point, Luke thought Dean Unglert and Lesley Murphy were surprised by the intensity of their connection, and Ashley Iaconetti and Canada's Kevin Wendt were "hot and heavy" as well.

RELATED LINK: 'THE BACHELOR WINTER GAMES' SPOILERS: WHO GOT ENGAGED ON 'WORLD TELLS ALL' REUNION SPECIAL?

It then became time for another winter-themed challenge in which the male and female winners of the event would each receive a Date Card.

The event was downhill skiing, weaving around gates along the way. Clare, Lily and Lesley were the only women with skiing experience, and in the end, Lesley won. Ironically, Dean also won for the guys after a pretty tight race, so this couple planned to give one Date Card to another blossoming romance.

After weighing out their options and realizing several couples were hoping for the chance to receive a date, Dean and Lesley gave their extra Date Card to Ashley and Kevin.

This was the happiest Ashley had ever been on The Bachelor franchise. Over dinner that night with Kevin, Ashley talked about how men were often turned off by the fact she's a virgin because they felt a lot of pressure or viewed her as having baggage.

Kevin, however, respected her decision to wait for the right person at the right time.

Kevin made it known that sex in a relationship is one of the most important things to him, but he said a decent guy would make sure Ashley felt good about the way she was losing her virginity. For once on this show, Ashley finally felt like she had gotten lucky with a man, who reciprocated her feelings.

After dinner, the couple made some pottery together, and Ashley loved the way Kevin wrapped her in his arms and cuddled up to her. She couldn't stop smiling and joked about how Kevin knew what he was doing.

"If things continue the way they're going, I could definitely see myself falling in love with Kevin," Ashley noted, before they shared a big kiss.

Meanwhile, Clare and Christian finally enjoyed a little date in the resort's Jacuzzi, but there was clearly something off between them, and it wasn't just the language barrier. Christian had yet to make a move on Clare, and she was simply waiting for him to show interest in her, pursue her, and maybe just plant a kiss on her.

As for Dean and Lesley's relationship, Josiah pointed out that Dean had many women at his disposal and so he wasn't sure things would work out. Similarly, Clare was suspicious of Dean, who didn't have a great track of record of being open and honest with women.

During Dean and Lesley's date, Lesley admitted she initially viewed him as a little bit of a player. Dean explained that on Bachelor in Paradise, he didn't ping pong between women "for kicks"; instead, he was legitimately torn between two women and acted inappropriately as a result.

Lesley didn't know if it was smart to invest her time in Dean, but she was ready to take a risk for him.

Back at The Hermitage Club, Tiffany realized that many couples existed and she wasn't in one, so she opted to leave the show on her own terms. Ben was having a hard time finding and accepting love as well, so he considered also walking out.

Ben confessed to his pal Ashley that going on a date sounded like "a chore" to him and "not fun."

Ashley wanted to know how much Ben was clinging on to his past with Lauren vs. just truly not being ready to date. Ben said he dreamed of being a good husband and dad, but he wasn't in a place where he was excited about dating.

"To be honest, I'm still emotionally dealing with the loss of that relationship," Ben told the cameras of Lauren, adding that he was confused and needed to figure out how to move on.

Ben then sat down with The Bachelor Winter Games host Chris Harrison to admit being on this show brought up "a lot of weird memories" for him.

"My fear is not entering a relationship. My fear is not pursuing somebody. My fear is that if I was to be broken again, I'm not full enough right now to recover from that," Ben told Chris.

"No one realizes how real [my relationship with Lauren was. They say, 'Did you really love her? Did you really care?' When something that's so real to you seems so small to everyone else -- not just friends and family, but millions of people -- it breaks you every day, and that sucks. As much as I've moved on, and I have, it still hurts, even months past [the split]."

Ben said it was time to take steps forward, and when he finds the right person, he'll fully be ready for a committed relationship. Ben was encouraged by the couples that formed on Winter Games, but he needed to be alone, so he announced to the group that he was leaving and apologized for being confused.

On his heels, Michael left the show, followed by Yuki, whom the entire cast loved and adored. Yuki gushed about how she loved everyone and had made such great friends. She hoped to eventually find a boyfriend in Japan and make babies with him.

Meanwhile, Jordan could see himself falling in love with Bibiana, but Clare had no idea how Christian felt about her.

Chris Harrison then decided to put the couples to the test. He told them they would compete in a kissing competition that night in front of three judges -- The Bachelorette's JoJo Fletcher and Rachel Lindsay as well as the current The Bachelor star Arie Luyendyk Jr.

Chris thought a kiss would show whether emotional and physical chemistry existed, and it might separate the serious couples from the weak ones.

Chris announced that two couples would be leaving that night, and Ally began to worry about her romance with Josiah because they weren't as far along as the other couples.

Before the competition commenced, Clare and Christian decided to leave. Christian didn't feel comfortable kissing Clare for the first time in a competitive environment, and Clare was tired of choosing men who had no problem walking away from her.

Christian cried that Clare could've been "the one" but he just handled the dating situation poorly.

The kissing competition proved to be entertaining. Dean and Lesley performed a dance before they kissed -- and there was some biting of the lip action -- but Jordan and Bibiana took a soft and sensual approach.

Rachel thought Dean and Lesley had the worst kiss because it appeared "so forced," and then Arie joked that Bibiana had certainly never kissed him like that.

But Ally got so nervous before it was her time to shine that she puked in the bathroom!

Josiah was a trooper and helped the bachelorette, before the couple kissed in front of the judges. (And yes, Ally brushed her teeth beforehand).

Bibiana joked that Ally's body "totally rejected Josiah" and she should have interpreted that as a bad sign, but Ally really appreciated the effort Josiah was putting into their relationship. Josiah said going home at this point would "crush" him.

Ashley and Kevin ended up winning the competition because JoJo said their makeout session was "buttery," and Rachel pointed out it was "simply sexy."

At the Rose Ceremony, Chris announced the couples would receive roses in the order of best kiss to the worst kiss of the night. 

Roses then went to Kevin and Ashley, Luke and Stassi, Courtney and Lily, Jordan and Bibiana, and finally Dean and Lesley, who were shocked their well-rehearsed kiss didn't win over the crowd. Ally and Josiah were therefore eliminated.

Stassi believed she and Luke had the strongest "mental attraction" and she was willing to make their relationship work long distance after the show.

Courtney and Lily agreed their romance was getting better every single day, and the bachelor admitted he had never felt for someone like that before in his life. Lily said there was potential for love to bloom between them.

And Jordan noted that he felt strong enough for Bibiana to continue their relationship in the real world, and she was fully onboard with the idea.

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