Father-son cancer survivors and Salt Lake City natives Dave and Connor O'Leary had a respectable third place finish in Bora Bora in the season premiere of "The Amazing Race" and challenged the front-runners in the second espisode that aired Sunday.
Other than the two penalty-delayed teams of newlyweds Max and Katie Bichler and country singers Caroline Cutbirth and Jennifer Kuhle, the other eight teams were corralled together by a common early-morning water taxi departure in this second episode of the season.
Team Utah used this time to discuss their agreement from the previous leg with double express pass winners John Erck and Jessica Hoel, surfers who are dating , which stipulated that the father-son duo would get the second express pass at a point in the future. Erck and Hoel admitted they wanted to see the other teams' reactions and that “this is a race, not an honesty competition,” thus leaving their agreement with the O'Learys in limbo.
At the Detour, teams were given two options: “Pick a Pearl,” which involved diving for and shucking oysters in search of two red pearls, and “Take a Trunk,” in which teams wore underwater diving suits and were required to set up a place setting — even napkins! — while underwater.
Team Utah was first to receive information for this Detour, but left in such haste that they failed to grab the necessary supplies to complete the chosen task, the pearl dive. This resulted in Dave and Connor O'Leary being passed by numerous teams as they were forced to retrace their steps in order to complete the task. However, despite the initial setbacks, Connor O'Leary was so effective in the water that the team left the Detour in fourth place, after YouTube hosts Joey Graceffa and Meghan Camarena dubbed Team YouTube, Jessica Hoel and John Erck, and professional hockey players and brothers Anthony and Bates Battaglia. (Incidentally, Anthony Battaglia played for the Utah Grizzlies in 2005.)
After a jet ski ride to Motu Tapu, “the most photographed island in the South Pacific,” the roadblock consisted of a traditional Polynesian game — walking on stilts and kicking a coconut 30 yards. Team YouTube, first to leave the Detour, struggled to find their groove, while the hockey brothers and Team Utah surged ahead, placing first and second on the leg, respectively, and leaving Dave and Connor O'Leary in prime condition to continue staying ahead of other teams. The Battaglia brothers also won a trip to London.
However, as he ran to the Pit stop, Dave let out a cry of pain, claiming he had ruptured his Achilles tendon. Teasers for next week’s episode show that his worst fears have been realized and this is indeed the case. It will be interesting to see how this will affect their chances going forward.
In the end, doctors and twin brothers Jamil and Idres Abdur-Rahman were eliminated because of Jamil’s fear of swimming and subsequent inability to finish the diving task, which resulted in the penalty-delayed teams from the last leg passing the brothers and securing a spot in the next leg.
Next week, the teams are off to New Zealand. And Dave’s untimely injury will impact their race, and it's a matter of how. In 21 seasons of "The Amazing Race," few teams have been able to overcome physical challenges of such magnitude, so at first glance the prognosis is grim, but then again, during the “Race,” crazier and more unpredictable things have happened.
History of Hockey
Anthony Battaglia, a professional hockey player who is running the race with his brother, Bates, shares with Dave O'Leary about playing hockey, including a season with the Utah Grizzlies.
Dave and Connor O'Leary at the Pit stop finish line with some troubling developments.
Geoff Openshaw is the host of the podcast This Week in Mormons, which is published weekly at thisweekinmormons.com. Email: me@geoffopenshaw Twitter: GeoffOpenshaw