Hockey playing Battaglia brothers win 'The Amazing Race' grand prize of $1 million

Published: Monday, May 6 2013 2:20 p.m. MDT

George Washington’s Mount Vernon, Va., home was the last Pit Stop and finish line for “The Amazing Race.”

Season 22’s final three teams — hockey players and brothers Bates and Anthony Battaglia, newlyweds Max and Katie Bichler and roller derby moms Mona Egender and Beth Bandimere — flew from Ireland via London’s Heathrow airport to Washington, D.C., where they went to the Lincoln Memorial and had other challenges around the city, not the least of which was navigating traffic and taxis.

And in the end, it was the Battaglia brothers who were first to the last Pit Stop, winning $1 million in Sunday's finale.

Anthony Battaglia played for the Utah Grizzlies in 2005.

They traveled through five continents, 10 countries and went more than 30,000 miles.

“You made it around the world with your false teeth,” host Phil Keoghan teased 33-year-old Anthony Battagila. “They didn’t fall into your mouth and you didn’t choke.”

The Bichlers were second and Engender and Bandimere were third, all three teams completing all 12 legs of the race.

Salt Lake father/son team Dave and Connor O’Leary were at the finish line with the other seven eliminated teams — with Dave on crutches and his foot in a medical boot. The O'Learys are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Holladay 25th Ward, Salt Lake Holladay South Stake.

The O'Learys, both cancer survivors, withdrew from the race in Hanoi, Vietnam, during the fifth leg of the race so Dave O’Leary could have surgery for a leg injury.

O’Leary injured his leg, including a detached Achilles tendon, at the end of the second leg of the Race when they were in Bora Bora, French Polynesia. He had an ultrasound on it the following morning during a layover in Tahiti, and with a medical boot and crutches, they continued to run the race to New Zealand and then to Bali, Indonesia, winning both of those legs of the race.

After consulting with an orthopedic surgeon back in Utah, they decided to withdraw from the race in Vietnam, and flew back to the states for surgery.

“I was so disappointed to go out the way we did," 58-year-old Dave O’Leary, who is a prostate cancer survivor, said during the finale. “We had a such a fabulous experience.”

He had stitches out two days before the finale and is expecting to make a full recovery.

“Coming back is bittersweet. It’s good. It’s fun to see the other teams, but at the same time, it’s hard to see, you know, what could have been. But that’s life,” said 21-year-old Connor O’Leary, who is a testicular cancer survivor. “We’re happy for Bates and Anthony.”

Keoghan tweeted: “Who knows what might have happened if #DaveConner didn’t have an injury … what could have been? #AmazingRace

It took a few minutes for the Battagila brothers’ win to sink in as they stood on the mat.

“I can’t remember the last time I felt like this,” 36-year-old Bates Battagila told Keoghan. “It hasn’t come from hockey in a long time. … It’s pretty amazing.”

The two-hour season finale that aired Sunday, May 5, started with four teams, including country singers Caroline Cutbirth and Jennifer Kuhle.

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