Interview: Amy & Daniel talk ‘The Amazing Race’

10.10.12 5 years ago


Teams have made it all the way to the end of “The Amazing Race” only to have their million dollar prize yanked from their hands by less-than-intrepid cab drivers, so maybe we shouldn’t feel too sorry for Amy Purdy and Daniel Gale.
After all, Amy & Daniel’s “Amazing Race” run lasted all of two episodes.
In the season premiere, the competitive snowboarder (and double amputee) and her boyfriend (the executive director of an adaptive action sports organization) had the a big advantage heading to the Pit Stop, but opted to help a rival team find a clue, only to have that team catch and pass them in the home stretch. 
That act of altruism — possibly misplaced in a race — failed to yield any Race Karma, when Sunday’s episode say Amy & Daniel take a disastrously ill-directed cab ride in Indonesia. As their driver repeatedly failed to find the location of the Detour, Amy & Daniel fell all the way from second to 10th and they were eliminated from the Race.
Yes, they lasted only two episodes, but it was hard not to feel sympathy for a pair that seemed strong, inspirational and generally good-natured. 
In this week’s “Amazing Race” exit interview, Amy & Daniel discuss their doomed cab ride, including their attempts to correct their course. They also talk about the thought process behind assisting Abbie & Ryan in the opening Leg.
Click through for the full interview…
HitFix: OK. Let’s just start with the cabbie in Indonesia. Do you have any sense of long you guys were driving around?
Amy Purdy: We really don’t know the exact time of it. But we were out there for a long time. All the teams had made it through the challenge and that challenge was really difficult for some of them and that entire time we were out looking for this location.
HitFix: What are the emotions like as you’re out there? At what point do you realize that this is taking presumably longer than it has any reason to?
Amy: The thing is, in that area, there are a lot of businesses with the name “Wijaya” and there are a lot of automobile shops. So there was a handful of Wijaya motors. There was Wijaya Tires and just Wijaya everything-you-can-think-of.
Daniel Gale: So after about 10…
Amy: Yeah, after we hit about 10 of them and thinking that each location was the one and realizing that people had no idea what we were talking about and running around with a camera behind us, we realized, “Oh my gosh. It’s like a needle in a haystack.”
Daniel: Plus, you’re in a place where the cabs don’t even have radios to call dispatch, there’s no smart phones. As you saw on the show, the lady said there’s not even Information to call. There’s nowhere that you can dial and ask for addresses. So you’re in a place where that stuff doesn’t exist and you’ve just gotta do the best that you can to figure out where you’re going.
HitFix: What didn’t we see in terms of what you guys were doing to try to set things right when you were lost?
Amy: They did a pretty good job.
Daniel: It was pretty accurate. We did go back to where the balloons were and we switched cabs there. You could tell we switched cabs. I know they showed at least once, maybe twice on the show. We got out out of the car, which you saw, to ask the lady to call information and she said that doesn’t exist. We got online for a minute at one point.
Amy: We were looking for a computer, so we went into a business and they said the same thing. Everyone would say, “This is Indonesia. We don’t have computers.” It’s not that they don’t exist there, but it’s not anything like in the US.
Daniel: It’s not common.
Amy: Yeah. You would assume all of the businesses would have computers, but they don’t. So we went in looking for a computer at one point and this really sweet lady said, “Oh, let me call my friend who has a computer.” So her friend looked it up and she wrote down a handful of addresses which were Wijaya Motors, so we went to those locations and they weren’t the correct places. So it was pretty accurate with showing just what we were up against, especially showing the lady who said, “This is Indonesia, we don’t really have Information like that here.” It’s not like there are phone books on every corner or anything. So for us, it was just kinda trial and error, just driving and looking for anything that sounded or looked like Wijaya Motors and also just asking everybody we possibly could and switching. We really exhausted our resources.
HitFix: As you’ve had the time to think back on it, what have you guys wished that you did instead? Or is this just one of those things that was out of your control and you just shrug your shoulders?
Daniel: Absolutely that’s the case. It’s just the stars weren’t aligned. We feel 100 percent confident that we really did do everything that we could that day. It just was really unfortunate.
Amy: Yeah, if you think about it, there were some other lost teams who couldn’t find the location either, but there were a lot of teams who went straight there. We worked harder than anybody to try to find the location. We went through the whole list of what to do next and it was definitely that thing, that when got to the mat, we both just felt like, “We just can’t believe it.” We wouldn’t have known what to do different in that situation?
HitFix: Does that sort of make it easier or harder to deal with? You could have gone out on a task or challenge that you guys just couldn’t do, but in this…
Amy: Well, I think at first it was a harder situation. I think being an athlete, we’re used to taking a lot of responsibility on ourselves for not accomplishing something, so I remember at first feeling like I would rather it had been something that I did, so that I could could kinda put the pieces together in my head and kinda learn from it. It really did feel so out of our hands that I think that’s where a lot of the tears and frustration came from with me, was just feeling like, “This is so out of our hands.” But now… I’m just grateful… My biggest fear, just having prosthetic legs, I obviously knew how capable I was going into the Race, but I’m relying on mechanics and on equipment and there can be mechanical failures at any time. So my biggest fear going into the Race was that my legs, at some point, something might go wrong and they might take me out of the Race. So I’m actually so grateful that my legs felt amazing. I absolutely could have continued to run the entire Race. I think it is maybe a little bit easier now knowing that we did all that we could do that that’s just part of the game.
HitFix: Following up on that, Amy… A lot of the first two Legs was you talking about all of the things you were confident you could do with your prosthetic legs without any difficulty. Were there any tasks that you were concerned about that might have potentially caused problems?
Amy: It was just, like I said, having mechanical legs, I’ve got bolts… There are pieces. Who knows? At any time, something could have broke. But we were prepared. Our backpacks were pretty much just full of leg equipment in case something went wrong or I needed to switch something out. We had all of that on us, so we were pretty much prepared for any mechanical failures that could happen.
Daniel: But nothing went wrong at all.
Amy: Yeah, nothing went wrong, so that’s part of why I was so shattered at that Pit Stop. I felt like I could run this entire Race without a problem with my legs. My legs were feeling so good and I just thought, “I’m running  this Race like everybody else is and I wanna just keep going.”
HitFix: And then the other thing that I assume everybody has been talking to you about… How did people in your lives react to the premiere and to your giving Abbie and Ryan the assistance on the first Leg?
Amy: You know, it was really interesting. We didn’t know how people would respond, but we had an outpouring of support when we looked up information online to see what people were talking about in different forums on the “Amazing Race” Facebook page. There were, I would say the majority of people were so supportive of our decision. I think what’s interesting is that it created this conversation amongst people that seems to have gone just a little bit deeper. People were starting to talk about moral and ethical [choices], how it affected them as people, what happened there. It actually has been quite an interesting conversation.
HitFix: In that moment, did you guys have any hesitation?
Daniel: We definitely did.
Amy: We hesitated quite a bit.
Daniel: When they ran up, I think what I told them was that they were warm and then we continued to get information from the young man who had the cell phone and it took a couple minutes before we gave them the information. But we did and it’s not something that we regret. It was something that kinda knocked us in the head and we realized that we were in this game and we were running in “The Amazing Race.” It’s not that we weren’t aware of that from the beginning or that weren’t competitive, but I think it took kinda that knock for us to really realize, “Wow, we’re in this and we’ve gotta work extra hard.” And we took that attitude into the second Leg. So it wasn’t something that was regrettable. It was something that…
Amy: We learned from.
Daniel: And we were ready to take that into the rest of the Race and really win the thing.
HitFix: If a similar circumstance had come up in the second Leg, what would you guys have done?
Amy: Yeah, that’s the thing. The thing is, if you had asked us, “Are you guys going to help the other teams find clues?” Our answer would have been, “Absolutely not.” But, in that moment, they caught us at a time where our guard was down. Hours go by running this Race and Daniel and I are competitive snowboarders and we’re extremely competitive. We do these bordercross races that are about 60 seconds long at the most, so when our heads are in the game, we’re in 100 percent. I think that’s why we executed the challenges efficiently, but after hours and hours of just kinda riding around trying to find locations…
Daniel: You’re meet who we really are and that’s a couple of giving people. We run an organization, a non-profit. And when you get to the root of us, that’s what we are. So that’s really why it’s not regrettable. It’s because we are, like we said in the episode, that’s just who we are, so that can’t be something that’s regrettable.
Amy: But it’s one of those things… The Race is just a learning experience. You take what you learned from the day before and you apply it the next day. So, of course, now that we were aware that these situations may arise, we needed to be really on our toes and have our guard up a lot more. We certainly went into the next Leg knowing that we would handle that situation a little bit differently than we did. You just don’t know until you kinda make the mistake. “OK. We can’t do that again.” You just have no idea what different situations are going to arise.
HitFix: Did Abbie and Ryan seem properly grateful? 
Amy: Yeah, I think so. Of course. Gosh. They got the chance to win two million dollars. They were insanely grateful. 
Daniel: The thing about those two is that they’re extremely competitive. If we had continued on, I think it would have been neck-and-neck and it would have given us a great boost of energy to continue to be as competitive as they were. They made the Race interesting in that.
Amy: They kept me on my toes, that’s for sure. That’s not a bad thing. You certainly want another team that you can be really neck-and-neck with and that made it a lot of fun for us.
HitFix: You guys weren’t out there for long, but give me your favorite part of the Race experience that maybe we didn’t see on TV…
Daniel: The very first day, getting off of that bus and running onto that bridge and then rappelling down, was just an unbelievable experience and an incredible way to start an amazing Race. I think it was just mind-blowing at the overwhelmingly large proportion of this program. I think, for me, that really cemented it and making you realize what you’re involved in and that was just an incredible experience to start the Race.
Amy: I think for me, the most amazing part… There are so many amazing parts, obviously. It’s like we’ve met amazing people who we never would have met before. They pick such interesting and unique teams and those would have been people we probably never would have met before and they’re amazing. But so many aspects are amazing. Of course going and seeing different parts of the world. Also, not knowing what’s coming next was extremely exciting. But I was just blown away by the production of it. There’s so much behind-the-scenes that’s so amazing. It’s not a controlled environment at all, yet they’re able to creative this amazing event and Race for us, so I was blown away by all that went into it.
This season’s “Amazing Race” exit interviews:

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