Amazing Race's Tammy and Victor: The Win Is for the Nerds — and Mom
The Amazing Race, Tammy and Victor
The power of attorneys reigned supreme on the season finale of The Amazing Race 14 as siblings/lawyers Tammy and Victor Jih claimed the $1 million. "It's been overwhelming. It's also bittersweet because we had a lot of fun sort of playing with the minds of our family and friends over how we did because we could lord the secret over them!" Victor tells TVGuide.com. See what else the pair has to say about their come-from-behind victory, whether they had an unfair advantage in China and what they plan to do with their new windfall.
Check out our interviews with runners-up Cara and Jaime here, third-place finishers and Margie and Luke here.
TVGuide.com: Is your family relieved you didn't bring shame to them on the China legs?
Tammy: [Laughs] They are very, very happy! Let's be honest, they would've been proud of us no matter the outcome, but they were extra-proud of us because of the outcome.
TVGuide.com: There's been a lot of talk that it was unfair you knew Mandarin in China, but producers couldn't have possibly known you would've made it that far.
Victor: Yeah, we almost were out in Leg 3! When we looked at the teams on Day 1, we were astonished at how competitive, articulate, athletic and tall they were. Everyone has their strengths and we didn't think anyone was a sure thing and we needed a task that was easier for us. The choreography task — none of us even touched it because we said we are not playing against Jaime and Cara, who are trained dancers. It just took us the entire Race before we got our task.
TVGuide.com: Do you think people forget that even though you could communicate with people in Mandarin, you were still at the mercy of the tasks? The dive/swim took you guys a while.
Victor: We dived for a really long time. And even getting to the foot-massage place, we talked to the taxi driver fine, but when we arrived, we were the last ones there. ... I was just proud because we were both born in the United States, lived in the United States our entire lives, and every day of our childhood was a fight with our mom, forcing us to speak Chinese. I went to kindergarten not knowing how to say "Can I go to the bathroom?" in English. I think it's great to vindicate all of her efforts and take advantage of it.
Tammy: She dealt with our temper tantrums all the time. We just wanted to speak English like everyone else and she forced us to speak Chinese at home and it paid off and it was wonderful that it paid off on Mother's Day [when the episode aired].
Victor: If only my mom forced my sister to practice cartwheels, carry a pig... [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: It seemed like you learned from your meltdown in Romania. How did you approach the Race differently?
Tammy: We learned we needed to put aside our issues and work together as teammates. Does that mean we didn't have issues? No. We saved it for after the leg or waiting in airports.
TVGuide.com: Did you think, being stuck behind the car on the highway and in third place, that you lost and Margie and Luke could've left the Roadblock already?
Victor: I was emotionally happy, like I'm happy for either if they win. Both of them are great competitors. I was preparing to be in third. Part of me thought there was a glimmer of hope. I just need there to be another task, I just need something nerdy and suitable for us because we're total nerds, and I need it to be really hard so that they get stuck on it. No one could've predicted for what happened at the Roadblock to happen — especially for Luke. He was born for The Amazing Race. It was tough watching it with him because it really should've been his task. We did not underestimate him at all. It took me about 20 or 30 minutes. Just physically moving them around took a long time. Luckily, I was thinking clearly.
Tammy: I think we both resigned ourselves to finishing third at that point, but Victor just breezed through that. He's really good under pressure and with problem-solving.
TVGuide.com: Were you certain you had it in the bag when you got into the cab?
Tammy: When we first got in, we were so shocked that we go from resigned to losing to going to thinking we might have a chance we might win. Victor did bring us back to reality by saying they're strong teams and anything could happen.
Victor: There was a hidden task that wasn't aired. We had to find this statue and it took us a little bit to find that, and it was a little bit of a drive to the golf course. We were cautiously optimistic.
TVGuide.com: You said Margie and Luke were tough competitors, so why didn't you U-Turn them?
Tammy: It's a nerdy answer, but I thought that even though Margie and Luke were stronger overall, I didn't think they had a competitive edge over us in any way. Jen and Kisha, I mean, look at them. They are Division I athletes. They are incredibly athletic. They outran us twice in the legs coming up to the U-Turn.
Victor: We talked about it the night before. Tammy very wisely said, "Let's not make it personal." Because we liked all the teams and we made it purely based on strategy.
TVGuide.com: What are you going to do with your $1 million?
Tammy: I'm going to pay off my law school loans! [Laughs] I might buy myself a treat here and there, but most of it is going to my student loans.
Victor: It's not a fun answer, but in this economy, we're lucky to be in the position we're in.
TVGuide.com: What's next for you? Back to work on more cases?
Victor: Oh, yeah, back to work. We got away, but I love my job and we're so grateful they let us do this. I think going away and doing something so crazy just makes you appreciate what you have on a daily basis and what we have is awesome.
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