Poker players Maria Ho, 26, and Tiffany Michelle, 25, ran out of luck on Sunday's Amazing Race when they were forced to withdraw after failing to summon enough strength for either Detour. After bailing on a carnival test-your-strength bell-ringing device, they headed to the golf field before switching back, and then switching back again to golf — before calling it a day. "We are tough girls and like to win, but at that point, we realized we had nothing more that we could physically give," Tiffany tells TVGuide.com. How much time did they spend attempting both tasks? Find out below — and whether they really thought gay brothers Sam and Dan were straight.
TVGuide.com: How long were you guys trying to do both Detours — twice — before deciding to quit?
Tiffany: It was over three hours. Toward the end, it was so hard because we had no idea where the other teams were. We had only seen Meghan and Cheyne leaving and Matt and Gary on the golf field, but we had a good feeling that nobody else was taking three hours to do either of the challenges. It felt like days, but in reality it was three hours that we put our hearts and souls out there on that field.
Tiffany: Technically, we didn't want to quit. ... If you can't complete a Detour, it's a 24-hour penalty. We weren't sitting there saying, "We're done!" We were saying, "We'll take the penalty because we can't finish this," but we knew there was no way to come back from that. Quitting was not what was in our heads. ... We were at the point where we had tried so hard on both sides that we just couldn't do it. That mallet at the carnival bell was over 40 pounds and if you [multiply] that by 70 attempts, our bodies were physically weak. When we got to the golfing challenge, the winds had picked up so terribly. Maria: The ball would come back toward us because the wind was so bad [at the golf field]. That's another thing — they can't predict weather elements when they test a challenge. Sometimes it comes down to Mother Nature!TVGuide.com: Some viewers think the leg was poorly designed since both Detours were physical. Did you think it was unfair? And why was the bell outside? Why couldn't you just dance?
Maria: We don't know [why the bell was there.] But no other female still in the race attempted the carnival bell. Also, they didn't show this, but it took a couple tries for all the males that did it. Normally, [there's one physical Detour] and the other is a little less physically demanding and usually involves something more mental or something more gender-neutral. The dance was supposed to be the gender-neutral one, but adding that element of the carnival bell made it a very physical task. Even though there's a certain technique to hitting those bells, it still requires a certain amount of physical strength. I can attest to Tiffany being one of the two strongest females in the whole race and she came close, but for her to not be able to do that goes to show that it might've been something that was impossible for most women.
Maria: We feel like if maybe we had stayed at the carnival bell a little bit longer the first time instead of going to the golf thing, we might've been able to do it. When Tiffany was getting close to ringing the bell, that was actually on our second try back. So it leads us to believe that we would've gotten it eventually if we stayed. We like to think that because we don't like to think something's impossible. But at the end of the day, we were just happy to have gotten that far with each other.TVGuide.com: I thought it was ironic Sam helped you with the bell count at the Roadblock by telling you the number, but you were done in by a bell in the end.
Tiffany: [Laughs] We didn't think of that, but that's true! I actually had 61 as my first count. I had gone up and down a couple times. When he said 62, I was like, "Wait a second." We were getting deep into the race and so at some point you have to start cutting each other off, so I had this weird feeling he wasn't telling me the truth and my number was close enough, so my first attempt, I went with 61. When I had to start again, I went with 62 and he wasn't lying!
Tiffany: They told us later it was because we had a map and they didn't! Every time you see something, there's always something else going on behind the scenes. We know from poker you have to be nice to everyone. You don't want to stand out and have someone hate you, but sometimes there are things you do on the race that have ulterior motives even though they look nice at the time. Maria: I think a lot of people have been discounting how beneficial having an alliance is on the race versus Survivor or something. But what they're forgetting is, in The Amazing Race, you just have to avoid being last. Whenever you're in a situation where you can make sure to keep close in distance to someone else and you guys are helping each other out, four heads are better than two. There was a reason why we both made it this far.TVGuide.com: Did you honestly not know they were gay?
Tiffany: [Laughs] This is a funny thing. We've seen seasons past, so we had a feeling they were the hot, token gay guys, just looking around, seeing the other teams. They tried to downplay it, like we tried to downplay that we were poker players. They talked to some of their ex-girlfriends because they have dated women before. ... We really fell in love with who they were, but it's not like we were planning on having their children! You could hear the lovefest [in our confessionals], so people thought we didn't know they were gay, but it was a very platonic love. They actually told us they were gay in Vietnam before they told all the other teams [in the airport on Sunday's episode]. They came out to us early on, so we knew our initial instincts were correct.