Salt Lake father-son team wins 'The Amazing Race'

Published: Monday, May 19 2014 2:50 p.m. MDT

In this Route Marker, Salt Lake father-son team Dave O'Leary, left, and Connor O'Leary, right must search the Neon Boneyard for the next clue on the season finale of the All-Star edition of "The Amazing Race" on Sunday, May 18.

Sonja Flemming, CBS Broadcasting

Winning “The Amazing Race: All-Stars” prize of $1 million and making history as the first child-parent team to win the reality competition is still sinking in for Salt Lake residents and cancer survivors Dave and Connor O’Leary.

The O'Learys arrived first at the "Pit Stop" mat during the show’s finale Sunday evening after a race leg that included performing an illusion act with magician David Copperfield and jumping from a helicopter.

Host Phil Keoghan was waiting for them along with the eight previously eliminated teams.

“It’s still pretty unbelievable to us,” said Dave O’Leary, 59, a real estate investor, during an interview with the Deseret News. Dave O’Leary is also the oldest person to win “The Amazing Race.”

“It’s pretty awesome,” said Connor O’Leary, 22, who is a professional cyclist and a University of Utah student.

Dave O’Leary is a prostate cancer survivor and Connor O’Leary had testicular cancer. Both are still cancer-free. 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.

This season of “The Amazing Race” included 11 returning teams racing around the world for $1 million as they followed clues in yellow and red envelopes, navigating transportation systems and completing challenges called "road blocks" and "detours" along the way.

“Any one of those teams could have been on the mat,” Dave O’Leary said. “We did some things right, and we made some mistakes.”

In their previous run on “The Amazing Race” in season 22, Dave O’Leary suffered a detached Achilles tendon running to the mat during the second leg. They ultimately withdrew during the fifth leg of the race. Dave had to have surgery and physical therapy.

His leg is “doing great,” Dave O’Leary said. They were careful during this race and, at times, Connor carried both of their bags.

During their previous race, they won a trip to Thailand and used that as their excuse for why they were gone during the filming of season 24.

“We had to be slightly deceptive,” Dave O’Leary said.

Season 24 took them through China, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Italy, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

One of their most memorable and enjoyable experiences was fishing in Sri Lanka, a country Connor said he would like to go back and visit.

“In Sri Lanka, one of the greatest things we did was get to climb out on those platforms out on the surf and fish,” Dave O’Leary said. “That was such a neat experience to be out on the platforms that have been there, they looked to have been there for decades, and have these guys out there who were really fishing” for their livelihood.

Connor O’Leary said the toughest leg was when they went to England and Wales, which included driving themselves to each location, kicking soccer penalty shots and shooting clay pigeons.

“We had been so lost all day and we were in last place most of the day,” Connor O’Leary said.

And it was a leg they ended up winning.

“I was in disbelief,” he said. “I thought there was going to be one more challenge.”

One of the more talked about events of the season was when the O’Learys were surprised by a U-turn from newlyweds Brendon Villegas, 33, and Rachel Reilly, 30, nicknamed "the Brenchels," forcing the O’Learys to do both detour challenges instead of one during the eighth leg of the race.

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