Amazing Race's Rachel and Dave: It Was a Relief to Win After Our Mistake
Rachel, Dave and Phil Keoghan
Dave and Rachel Brown made history on The Amazing Race 20, claiming the $1 million for a franchise record eighth victory on Sunday's finale — but not before making some other dubious history. The married Army couple accidentally skipped a second Roadblock and arrived at the finish line, where they became the first team ever to be turned back by Phil Keoghan for not completing the final course. They managed to recover and officially win the Race. "Can we say we won it twice? I said on the show last night, we had eight and a half wins since we went there once," Dave tells TVGuide.com. "It was such a great feeling when we got back the second time knowing we did it correctly and realizing that we were still first." See what else they have to say about their win, what they're gonna do with the money, and their U-Turn drama with Art and JJ.
Who won The Amazing Race?
Congratulations! How does it feel to win after almost losing it?
Rachel: [Laughs] Thank you! It was just a relief, I think. A huge relief! We definitely didn't want to be the first ones to lose from a screwup like that.
How did you miss the Roadblock? Did the cab drop you off and you didn't look to see if it was the right place?
Rachel: Well, the cab dropped us off at a couple of spots. We kept getting out and people were saying "Oh, it's that way." It was really a dirt path, so we found a route marker, but it was the wrong route marker, obviously, because it was for the final challenge. So we just stumbled into it because they were only about three-quarters of a mile apart. So imagine our surprise when Phil told us we had to go back.
They didn't really show your reaction. What went through your mind when he told you?
Dave: Actually, my initial reaction, having completed the first Roadblock — the shaved ice one — that was a 45-minute helicopter ride afterward from [one island to another]. I was under the impression that I had done something wrong there and there was no way obviously that we could recover from that. At that point, it probably would've been a three-hour cab drive and we wouldn't have had the money to cover it. We were both quite taken for a couple of minutes until we refocused our energy and we figured out there was another Roadblock.
Rachel: At first, I thought Phil was kidding, so I was laughing. I think they showed some of that. I was like, "Aw, very funny, Phil!" But he wasn't laughing back!
Dave: We've seen the show in the past and there was no way Phil was gonna joke about whether or not you just won The Amazing Race. For as much time and effort that they put into the production aspect, I knew that we had done something absolutely catastrophic.
Rachel: And we had no idea where the other teams were. We figured Brendon and Rachel were right on our tail, which is kind of funny because we didn't see them. Even when we were paddling the first time, we thought, "Are we first or second?" We had no idea because we didn't see them.
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Did you think about how you could be the first team to get turned back and lose?
Rachel: I think we were so determined that we didn't try to think about it. We were just like, "OK, we have to complete the task and keep moving forward."
Dave: Yeah, we worked our way up the path. As you saw, there was a woman outside [who] directed us and we ran down and Rachel killed the challenge. She crushed it!
Rachel: It took me two times [to slide down the hill].
Dave: Yeah, just two! That was not editing.
Rachel: The first time was so painful. It felt like all the skin was ripped off my back because I was going down on my bare back on the grass when I wiped out. So the second time, I was just so determined not to wipe out because it hurt so bad the first time.
Did you think you were first after that? Did Art and JJ indicate if they had seen Brendon and Rachel?
Dave: We were under the impression that Art and JJ were in the lead when we arrived. [When we were done], we drove the ATVs to the paddleboards and I would say for the first quarter-mile, we thought we were in first place. Then I glanced over and I saw fresh ATV tracks and I go, "Wait a minute! Maybe Art and JJ aren't telling us something. Maybe Brendon and Rachel are out in front." The last portion when we were paddling across, you heard us say to each other, "Hey, I'm proud of you," without realizing that we were the first team. But what was definitely reassuring after completing the Roadblock was knowing where the finish line was.
And you also have the record for most leg wins. Eight out of 12 is pretty tough to beat.
Rachel: Yeah! It hasn't been broken in 20 seasons, so hopefully we'll have it for a while.
I talked to Phil last week and he called you, Rachel, his season MVP.
Rachel: We saw that! That was awesome! Thanks, Phil!
And he told you, Dave, to give her more props in Tanzania and a lot of fans think you're too hard on her. You guys also fought frequently. Do you think you're too hard on her?
Dave: I think, as any married couple would, we had the tendency to bicker. The Race is basically a microcosm of life. It's an over-amplified version of life. You're competing in a variety of challenges and just traveling around the world can be very difficult for some couples. We obviously did something right. Rachel did absolutely phenomenal at all aspects of it. I was very supportive of Rachel. Maybe it wasn't shown as frequently, but every challenge we would complete, I motivated her — whether it was positive reinforcement or negative reinforcement — to do absolutely the best we could. And it worked out pretty well for us.
Rachel: Yeah, we fought, but that's not an accurate representation of what we're like.
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Let's talk about the U-Turn fiasco. How shocked were you that Art and JJ were so hung up on it?
Rachel: We were completely surprised! We had no idea they would act that way. We talked about U-Turning Brendon and Rachel in Germany, so that was a bunch of legs before the U-Turn leg. By the time we got to the U-Turn leg, we knew [Nary and Jamie] were so far behind that it did not make sense to use the U-Turn. We just did not want to create enemies for no reason.
Dave: Even in discussing it in Germany, it had to have been a logical use of the U-Turn, like if we were second to last and it was a last resort. If we had done it, it would've been a completely emotional decision and there's no need in creating unnecessary work on other teams and creating enemies.
And you accidentally created a new enemy.
Rachel: [Laughs] Exactly! We thought they'd get it, but they obviously didn't.
Did they talk to you at all the rest of the Race?
Rachel: Art did. Art was nice. Every time at the airport, he was nice and would come and say hi. But JJ was a complete baby! [Laughs] He refused to talk to us. ... All the teams made up after the wrap. We all talk and we're all friends.
Do you guys ever think about Leg 3 in Paraguay when you became the first team to not complete a single task and stay in?
Rachel: Oh my God! Yeah, a lot of firsts for us this season! Oh, that was a terrible leg. I never want to see watermelons again!
Did you think you could get eliminated or were you confident that you were far enough ahead that you would be safe with the two-hour penalty?
Dave: Once I put that bottle on my head, I knew it was a completely terrible decision on both our parts. She obviously can dance; she crushed the Bollywood dance. She should've completed that water dance one, but we were physically and mentally exhausted from the watermelons. During the cab ride, the smog and the heat took their toll on Rachel and she actually vomited in the back of the cab in between my legs into a bag. So when we arrived, she was out of it and there was no way in hell she could've competed, so I did it. And obviously my head is not conducive to retaining a bottle, that's for damn sure. [Laughs]
So you purposely broke all 20 bottles?
Dave: Oh yeah! I knew we had a pretty decent cushion, thankfully due to the use of the Express Pass. It was a two-hour penalty for not completing it versus a four-hour penalty for not attempting it or quitting. I think there was only 20 minutes remaining when the next team arrived.
Rachel: We were just happy to stay in it at that point.
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Dave, is "complete and utter failure" your favorite phrase? You say that a lot.
Dave: [Laughs] No, it's not! For some Racers — whether it was Marcus and the football analogies that he used — these are the personalities that are created based on who you truly are in real life, but it's an over-exaggeration of who you are at times. That was one instance.
Rachel: It was better than [Vanessa and Ralph's] "cheese and crackers!" [Laughs]
What are you up to now? What are you gonna do with the money?
Dave: Right now, we're sitting in a hotel room that's in complete disarray from last night's festivities. [Laughs] Bopper's down the hall. We had a pretty eventful evening.
Rachel: We got an hour and half of sleep.
Dave: We've talked about [the money] and just having the financial freedom and stability and not having a mortgage. We'll probably invest money at some point and probably establish our family.