'Survivor' star pair take on challenge of 'Amazing Race'
Sunday, September 25, 2011
BY VIRGINIA ROHAN
Ethan Zohn and Jenna Morasca, winners at 'Survivor,' are taking on 'The Amazing Race.' 8 tonight, CBS
You get an inkling of what it will be like to watch Ethan Zohn and Jenna Morasca interacting as a couple on "The Amazing Race" just by asking if they plan to have a big viewing party at their Manhattan apartment tonight.
"We're going to have some friends over, but nothing too major," says Zohn.
"Oh, nothing too major?" Morasca says. "There's 35 people coming."
Zohn — who won "Survivor: Africa" in 2001, when he was an assistant soccer coach at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck — and Morasca, who won "Survivor: The Amazon" in 2003, are among the 11 teams competing in this 19th installment of the 10-year-old "Race." The cast also includes a pair of Olympic snowboarders, twin sisters, flight attendants, waitresses, an ex-NFL tight end (and his wife) and the youngest person to ever sail around the world alone (with his dad for this race).
"It's a great cast this season, a lot of seasoned pros," Morasca says.
Why did they want to do this?
"Well, we love torture," jokes Zohn, who was diagnosed in 2009 with a rare form of Hodgkin's lymphoma, had an autologous stem-cell transplant in early 2010 and is now in remission. "No, basically, what we've been through as a couple … having been through the whole cancer thing together, it's almost like a celebration. You know, it's like I'm healthy now. Here we go. Let's travel around the world … and it's for an awesome, Emmy-winning reality television show."
The couple — who were contestants on "Survivor: All Stars" in late 2003 — also knew that their high-pressure "Survivor" experiences would help them on "Race."
And, Morasca adds, "people haven't seen us interact at all together. On the original 'Survivors,' we were just individuals. And then the [All-Star] 'Survivor,' we were on different teams and we never interacted."
They have finished filming "Race," a global journey of almost 40,000 miles that begins in the foothills of Southern California and takes surviving teams through four continents and 20 cities to, among other destinations, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand, Malawi, Belgium and Denmark
Zohn and Morasca can't talk about any of that, of course. Nor can they explain the new penalty called the "Hazard," which, CBS says, "will impact one team's future … right from the starting line."
What we do know is that before they embarked on the race, Zohn taught Morasca how to drive a stick shift.
"Ethan's good at teaching me how to drive stick, but he's also a very bad driver," Morasca says, chuckling.
They also prepared for the show by going to the Warrior Fitness Boot Camp in New York City for hour-long sessions, three to four times a week. "It's run by these two ex-Marines who just put you through the mill with backpacks on," Zohn says.
Before they took off, Zohn suggested to People magazine that he might pop the question to his longtime girlfriend. Whether that transpired is yet another off-limits topic, but Morasca quips, "I'm not gonna wait forever, that's for sure."
Hear that, Ethan?
"This phone is breaking up," he jokes.
Zohn, 37, happily reports that he's feeling great. "I'm full of energy, full of life," he says. "I'm running the New York City Marathon again this year for my charity, Grassroot Soccer."
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