S.L. father-son team makes the final 3 on 'Amazing Race'
The final three teams in the CBS television show “The Amazing Race: All-Star Edition” include Salt Lake father-son team Dave and Connor O’Leary, who won the 11th leg of the race during Sunday’s episode.
Reading clues carefully and driving from place to place in England proved to be key for the duo in this leg of the race.
This season of “The Amazing Race” includes returning teams racing around the world for $1 million by following clues in yellow and red envelopes, navigating transportation and completing challenges called Road Blocks and Detours along the way to get the next clues.
Teams started the leg in Seville, Spain, and because the O’Learys, who are both cancer survivors, won the 10th leg of the race that took teams to and through Seville, Spain, they were the first to open their clue and leave Plaza de Espana.
Their clue told them to make their way to Liverpool, England, first by train to Madrid, then by plane to London and then to drive one of the Ford Focus cars to Liverpool where they had to find Anfield Stadium, home to the soccer team Liverpool FC.
Dave O’Leary, 59, a real estate investor, and his son, 22-year-old Connor O’Leary, who is a professional cyclist and a University of Utah student, had about a half-hour lead on the other teams, and all teams were on the same train and flight into England.
“It’s unbelievable to be in the top four,” said Dave O’Leary, who is a prostate cancer survivor. 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. “I feel like I’m running with a bunch of young bulls.”
Two of the remaining four teams, country singers Caroline Cutbirth, 30, and Jennifer Wayne, 31, and the Afghanimals, cousins Leo Temory, 27, and Jamal Zadran, 26, made the final four when they competed previously, on Season 22 and Season 23, respectively, and both had been eliminated before making the final three.
Temory and Zadran were the first to make it to Anfield Stadium where teams had to get four penalty shots past professional goalies.
Zadran injured his knee during a challenge in the last leg. He had a brace on it and was able to run, but it bothered him as he kicked his shots.
“We’re so excited. We both love soccer. Soccer is one of the biggest sports in Afghanistan,” Temory said. “Liverpool is one of the greatest teams they have, and knowing we are going onto the actual field and score some goals on a goalie — like, wow, another dream come true.”
Cutbirth and Wayne were second to arrive and were followed by newlyweds Brendon Villegas, 33, and Rachel Reilly, 30, nicknamed the Brenchels. The O’Learys were the last to arrive — just as the Brenchels were leaving.
“Being the last ones to the stadium did not invoke a lot of confidence on our part,” Dave O’Leary said. “They could have my grandkids guarding the goal and I couldn’t hit it.”
Both struggled with the challenge.
“How uncoordinated could I be?” asked Connor O’Leary. And his dad got in two shots before he did: “It humbled me to have my dad beat me.”
From there, teams went to Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, known as the stream in the sky, in Wales, and at the Road Block challenge, one of the team members had to work with an instructor to learn and memorize a verse of Welsh poetry during the 15-minute ride on the aqueduct and then recite it to a linguist.