Interview: Dave & Connor discuss their ‘Amazing Race: All-Stars’ win

Whether you love them or wish they'd stop talking about Dave's age, his Achilles and the evils of Brendon & Rachel, you can't deny that Dave & Connor were deserving winners for this “Amazing Race: All-Stars” season.

After having to self-eliminate from their first season after Dave's injury, the father-son team won a whopping six Legs — they'll be taking tropical vacations together for years to come — and never really faced any serious jeopardy. Did they do anything impressive in that Final Leg to win? Not really. But they got to Phil Keoghan first and that's all that matters.

In the process, they became the first parent-child team to win “The Amazing Race” and Dave, as he mentioned so frequently, became the oldest individual winner. 

In their exit interview, which finally concludes my spring reality exit interviews, Dave & Connor discuss their comfortable “Amazing Race” triumph, Dave talks about his age and they explain why Brendon & Rachel ticked them off so much.

Click through for the fill Q&A…

HitFix: Congratulations, you guys. Dave. What was going through your mind on that skydive and did you know that you were in first at that point?

Dave: Well after I jumped out of the helicopter I knew I was in first. The pyrotechnics were going off and I thought, “Man, we”re gonna win a million dollars.” I was scared to death and I was thrilled to death at the same time.

HitFix: Well were you able to enjoy the experience or were you just trying to get to the ground as fast as humanly possible to get to get to Phil?

Dave: No, I enjoyed it. I mean it was really cold, you know. That was an unusually cold, I think they kind of had record colds in Las Vegas while we were there. Jumping out it felt like we were in the middle of Alaska in a blizzard. But it was unbelievable. To do that at night, to be able to see the Las Vegas skyline with all the lights. And then to be zooming in on this Raceway, it was all illuminated. I mean it was a once in a lifetime experience. I”ll never, never be able to replicate anything like that. It was so neat.

HitFix: And Connor, how hard was it to watch from the Pit Stop area and not knowing who was coming down there?

Connor: It was crazy because we really had no idea who was gonna drop first. And it took until they were maybe 50 feet up to realize, “Oh my gosh, that”s my dad and we just won a million dollars.” So I was on pins and needles that entire time.

HitFix: And could you guys hear the other teams waiting at the Final Mat and could you sort of get a sense of who they seemed to be rooting for?

Connor: Yeah, we could see and hear the other teams screaming and we could hear somebody say, “Oh, it”s Dave.” And then somebody said, “No, I think it”s Caroline.” And so it was… Yeah, we had no idea. It was crazy.

HitFix: Okay, now you guys ended up winning six Legs and you never finished lower than fourth a single time. Leaving aside whether you were surprised to win this season, were you guys surprised how easy it was?

Dave: It wasn”t easy. [They laugh.]

Connor: No. It wasn”t easy. I think it was a combination of, you know, we were smart, but at the same time we got so lucky so many times.

HitFix: Well, okay, let me change the word there. “Easy” was probably the wrong word. Were you guys surprised by how much you dominated? How about that?

Dave: Yes.

Connor: I think we were very surprised how many Legs we won. You know, from the outset our goal was, “Okay, don”t get eliminated first” and ultimately our goal was to get Top 3. And so when we got Top 3 we were ecstatic and we kind of realized from there, “Hey, you know what? We can win this thing.”

Dave: Yeah, well I wasn”t ever sure we could win the thing. Fom the outset I mean we really did have a goal and that was we don”t want to go out in the first or second Leg. We really wanted to be able to stay in it. And after that we said, “Gee, we have to make it as far or further than we did the first time we were in the Race,” which was the beginning of the fifth leg. So when we got there, I kind of did start thinking, “Hey, maybe we can make it to the Final 3.” And I”m honestly just dumbfounded and shocked that we not only made it to the Final 3 but that we won.

HitFix: Well okay, I think it was Connor who said that he felt like you guys got lucky a number of times or that there was sort of close scrapes. Was there any time that you guys actually felt you were in legitimate jeopardy out there?

Connor: One of the probably the times that I thought, “This is it for us” was in Wales. We were in last place. We had been extremely lost driving.. We were frustrated and I thought, “Okay, well this is it, you know. We”re going out fourth.” So I was fairly convinced at the end of winning that leg was unreal.

Dave: I felt the same thing. When we were in the soccer stadium we were in last place. Neither of us could kick a soccer ball for the life of us. And I think I said the words, “We're sunk” and I really felt we were. I thought, “At this point the other teams were gonna be so far ahead of us there won”t be any catching up.”

HitFix: Connor, I have to ask about that. Did you never even play soccer in high school gym or something? [They both laugh.]

Connor: To be honest I think the last time I kicked a soccer ball was when I was in little league when I was probably seven. I was the star. I was the star.

HitFix: Huh, okay. 

Dave: It didn”t last, did it?

HitFix: Well now let”s talk a little bit about a couple of the sort of achievements this season. Why do you think it took “Amazing Race” 24 seasons to have a parent-child team win and why were you guys the team that was able to sort of break that curse or jinx or whatever. 

Dave: I don”t know, because if you look back there were a lot of really great parent-child teams and I think specifically, Gary & Mallory, who really not only could have, but probably should have, won the season they ran had they not had a lousy cab driver – I think it was in Florida. And so golly, to be the one to have won and be the first one is pretty amazing. I”m not sure how we broke the curse or the jinx but I”m sure glad we did.

Connor:  Like I said, I think obviously there”s some luck that goes into it. But at the same time, my dad and I are real close and we know each other really well. We know our strengths and weaknesses and we knew when we got to a Roadblock what challenge would suit which person and so I think that really played into the win. And to know that I have these strengths and my dad, okay, he”s great at navigating. He”s great at directions. I think just the combination of everything really, really helped us out.

HitFix: Talking quickly about sort of the division of Roadblocks. I know that at some point there was a Race requirement that the teams had to split the roadblocks. I assume that was no longer the case because Connor, you did eight and Dave did five I think?

Connor: There”s still in the requirement and we knew it from the outset and so that was definitely part of our strategy. And we just played it perfect. I mean it worked out to where I did the max I could do and my dad did the ones that he could do.

Dave: And you know we played by the rules. There have been people I”ve noticed on Twitter saying, “Oh they did it just before you shared the Roadblocks.” I think maybe we just played it smarter than some of the other teams, because they could have done the same thing. They just chose not to.

HitFix: Okay. It”s just one of those things where the show doesn”t specifically – they didn”t say specifically on the show what the rule was this season. And so a lot of people, I think, were just sort of curious as to what the rule was.

Connor: Yeah, definitely.

HitFix: Okay, so now continuing on with sort of the achievements this season. Dave, what does being the oldest rRce winner say about you in particular?

Dave: For me it feels great. And, you know, I did comment on my age a number of times because I felt older than everybody else. If you get to the last five teams, I have kids older than everyone else that I was racing against. And so it does kind of make you feel your age. But certainly I know a lot of people my age who are much more fit and capable than I am and they could easily have won “The Amazing Race” as well. So I think it should hopefully give hope to people that are in their sixties that, “Hey, you can do this just as well as he can. And probably better.”

HitFix: Dave, as you say you made multiple references to your age almost in every episode it seemed like. How much of that was sort of strategy to get other teams to underestimate you as well?

Dave: I don”t know that it was strategy. When I was getting hit by those bulls in Spain, it hurt. And believe me I felt my age. And when I said, “I”m old” and those guys, those rugby players, were nailing you. I thought, “Golly, I don”t know if I”m gonna survive this.” But I did. We”d get a little time to rest and he”d sleep and I”d stretch, just because I wanted to be able to move the next day. I said to someone before me and Advil became best friends.

HitFix: But there were also cases where sort of other teams were running by you and you would say something like, “Okay, go ahead, run by the 60-year-old man.” I mean that, to me, seemed like it was sort of game play on your part. Was it not?

Dave: Yeah, I said that once when Jessica & John were running by us. It was said kind of tongue-in-cheek frankly. We knew we weren”t gonna be eliminated that Leg. We really didn”t care if we were on the mat next or not. And I knew I was gonna be running on sand and that”s how I busted my Achilles in Bora Bora and I said to Connor, “You know, I”m not gonna push it here. I”m just gonna take it slow.”

HitFix: Okay. Let”s talk a bit about U-Turn-Gate as it were. In the end Rachel and Brendon used the U-Turn on what ultimately turned out to be the strongest team in the Race. And they used it and they won the leg by using it. So in your mind now, a couple months later, what did they do wrong in that circumstance?

Connor:  I mean from the outset I don”t think we ever thought they did anything wrong. I think they didn”t play as smart as they could have. I mean which, to each their own. I mean for us our whole idea on the U-Turn Board was, “If we don”t have to U-Turn somebody, we are not going to simply from a strategic standpoint, because we don”t know if that team”s gonna make it to the next Leg and then we could have created a bunch more enemies for ourselves,” which ultimately is what happened with Brendon & Rachel. And so, you know, that”s kind of our stand on it.

Dave: But, they did what they thought they needed to do. I think Brendon made the comment that, “Come on Rachel, don”t you want to win cars?” And which ended up not being the case. So yeah, I mean we were surprised that they didn”t U-Turn the Cowboys. Candidly I still think the cowboys were the strongest team on the Race and if it weren”t for some bad luck and some bad directions maybe on their part they easily, as well as any other team, could have been standing on the mat. So that”s probably what was most surprising to me. And I”m a business guy. I think logically and I didn”t think that made logical sense.

HitFix: But how much of your annoyance was based on it being Brendon & Rachel and preexisting tensions and preconceptions with them. Like if another one of the teams had been in the exact same situation and done the exact same thing to you, would you have responded in the exact same way or was it those two?

Connor: Probably not to be completely honest. I mean we had seen Brendon & Rachel on prior seasons of “The Amazing Race” and so, to be honest, we kinda had the stereotype in our head of what they were like and which I”m not saying is right. But, you know, the stereotypes to be honest kind of turned out to be fairly accurate. And so they weren”t our favorite team from the outset and somebody that we didn”t really get along with even before the U-Turn.

HitFix: I know how long Achilles rehab can take. Dave, when you guys got the call to return what percentage would you say that you were at physically and did you have any concerns about your ability to perform out there.

Dave: Yeah, I was probably seven months into my recovery in what was a year. And, you know, I was concerned that, you know, I needed to make sure that in the interim period I did everything I could to try and rehab it and have it as strong as possible. And the Race was concerned about it. I mean they didn”t, certainly want to see someone injured again, so they were great about it. But they did require a lot of letters from doctors and physical therapists saying, “Hey, he”s able to do it and he should be able to do it.” But, you know, it was always in the back of my mind, I mean, running up those Spanish Steps I thought, “Golly, should I really be doing this?”

HitFix: And was there pain I guess would be the simplest way of asking?

Dave: There still is pain.

Connor: After that first Leg in Guangzhou, we did a lot of running and I was pretty worried. I said, “Man what did we get ourselves into?” I mean, I was sore and I could tell that my dad was really sore. So I was a little apprehensive. That was when I kind of realized, “Okay, I need to start taking the bulk of the weight if we”re gonna get through this thing.”

HitFix: And just the last question for Connor. You seemed to do a lot of very random Roadblocks this season. You were sewing, you were in the magic box, you were doing all sorts of very strange things. What was the most fun moment for you of these random things you were doing?

Connor: The random things I was doing, well I can tell you it was not sewing. Let”s see. The's tough. Probably It was the last challenge with David Copperfield, because it”s such a neat thing to be able to meet David Copperfield and to perform an illusion with him was pretty awesome.

HitFix: And Dave, of those tasks was there anything that you were particularly proud of Connor”s ability to do?

Dave: You know, I really was proud of his ability to memorize that poem in Wales. We thought that was a physical challenge and then once Connor did it, we thought it was going to be canoeing or kayaking or something on that stream. And it was memorization. That was supposed to be my challenge, but we didn”t have enough information to make the call and so Connor ended up doing it and so I was incredibly proud of his ability to do that.

This season”s “Amazing Race: All-Stars” exit interviews:
Caroline & Jennifer
Brendon & Rachel
Leo & Jamal
Jet & Cord
Flight Time & Big Easy
John & Jessica
Margie & Luke
Joey & Meghan
Mark & Mallory
Natalie & Nadiya