Amazing Race's Jeremy and Sandy: We Knew We Couldn't Catch Up
Jeremy and Sandy
After getting a comfortable lead in The Amazing Race finale, Jeremy Cline and Sandy Draghi promptly lost it when they erroneously went to the furniture store The Dump in Atlanta on a local's suggestion instead of the Margaret Mitchell House and Museum, aka The Dump. "We honestly didn't question it," Jeremy tells TVGuide.com "We thought it was right and it wasn't until we got there that we realized we screwed up." Though they managed to correct themselves, the dating couple say they knew they had no chance to pass Ernie and Cindy for the win.
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I hear you guys were pretty far behind.
Jeremy: We're estimating 45 minutes, but if you ask Cindy, it's probably two hours. [Laughs]
Was that all from going to the furniture store?
Jeremy: Yeah. We asked the wrong people for directions and they were pretty adamant about it being this place. We felt good about it and you never really know. They said it was a former furniture store, so we figured it was a warehouse — something where we had to recreate part of the Race through memorization like we've seen in past seasons.
Did you ask anyone else?
Sandy: Yeah, we took their word for it. They knew right away. It was a quick answer. They were locals, were familiar with the city. They figured we were on The Amazing Race and said, "Oh yeah, it's this place." Just like the previous legs, if someone gives you a quick response that seems pretty confident, you go with it and we did. We had a lead and we felt really good on our way there. We got stuck in traffic, but we thought everyone else would be stuck in traffic. But when we got there, we knew right away it was the wrong spot.
How long were you there?
Sandy: Not long. Long enough for us to run through it one time and look like idiots. [Laughs] They put you in the craziest places, so we had to do a quick run-through. Then we found someone with a phone. It wasn't easy Googling it. It took Jeremy some time to do it. If you Google "The Dump" in Atlanta, the first result is that warehouse.
Jeremy: Yeah, you had to specifically put in "The Dump" and in quotations "former residence" to get the Margaret Mitchell House.
Did you not think to call 411 or a tourism board?
Sandy: No, we didn't. Our taxi driver didn't have a smart phone. Ernie and Cindy told us later that they memorized phone numbers, but we didn't think about that. We really didn't. You're back in the United States, people speak English, you ask and they had an answer. We asked locals the entire Race and it worked for us. For the first time and the time that mattered most, we got wrong information and it cost us $1 million. We should've double-checked, but we didn't.
How far away from the Margaret Mitchell House was the store?
Sandy: Probably 20 miles. And we hit traffic.
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Where were your heads at at that point?
Sandy: On the way [to the store], our heads were in a good place because we knew we had a lead and it was pretty much the opposite on the way back!
Jeremy: We had a 20-minute lead after the flight simulator and just figured everyone would be in traffic as well. You hop on the freeway and there was major traffic. They shut down one of the highways to do roadwork. ... Everything was jam-packed. And then we were going to the house from a different direction after going to the store. The only way to get there was the highway.
You seem to have done the Roadblock and the map task quickly.
Sandy: Yeah, we did those really quickly. I made that one mistake, skipping Indonesia. But it was quick. We didn't have to retrace it; all we had to do was slide the carabiner down and we were done. We blew through that. Jeremy moved fast across that map.
Jeremy: That was fun. I'm not scared of heights, so it was cool swinging around that board.
You went to a hotel to find out about Turner Field. Did you learn your lesson from The Dump fiasco?
Jeremy: [Laughs] Yes, we did. We actually went to the same hotel as Ernie and Cindy. It didn't look like it, but we did. We walked in there with that same piece of paper and they said, "Go to Turner Field." We were like, "Oh, so someone was here?" They said, "Yeah, like 45 minutes ago." So we knew [we weren't in first].
Did you think you had a chance of passing them at that point?
Jeremy: No. We were pretty far off. They had done the map by the time we got there. I really don't think it was that close as they made it look.
Sandy: Yeah, the last two tasks — the typewriter and the map — were pretty easy, so we knew they would blow through those. They would have to make some huge mistake in order for us to pass them. We knew after the Margaret Mitchell House that we were done.
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How tough was it knowing you blew a lead?
Jeremy: It was pretty tough. ... Our goal was to not get eliminated the first round. Everything after that was "beat one team" and we ended up beating one team at the end! [Laughs] It was a little disappointing because we thought we had it. We were way out in front after the first task. You could kind of smell victory right then. We just made a huge mistake that took us out of it. But we never gave up and ended up getting second. It's something to be proud of. As the years go by, I think we'll be proud of that. We're getting so much more out of the Race than what we would've with just the cash — friendships, our relationship and memories for a lifetime.
You guys fought early on, but pulled it together mid-Race and were improving your placement each leg. What changed in your dynamic?
Jeremy: Yeah, exactly. I think we'd get "most improved team"!
Sandy: We don't have the years together like some other teams for him to know my strengths and weaknesses and for me to know his strengths and weaknesses. Some of these teams have been together for decades and for Jeremy and me, it took us a few legs to figure out our stride and figure out how to communicate with one another in a positive, constructive way. Once we hit our stride, it was a little too late. If we had that same knowledge from the beginning, we probably would've won a few other [legs]. But needless to say, that was our prize. Our communication skills have improved so much and we've learned a great deal about one another.
What are you up to now?
Jeremy: Back to work!
Sandy: Yeah, back to our normal lives. We've had two garage sales since we've been back. [Laughs] We're trying to simplify our life. We have too much. We both ran the New York City Marathon for [Ethan's charity] Grassroot Soccer and we're trying to give back. ... In Africa, [seeing] the sunset and the people and the culture and just the smiles on those children's faces were just things that I would never forget. Just how happy and fulfilled everyone is there with so little really put my life in perspective. ... Jeremy and I are very fortunate. We have great careers and great families and we have so much more than some people would see in their lifetime, so we're definitely trying to give back and slow down. Slow down our life and take in the beauty of everything.