The Amazing Race Winners Tyler And Laura On Blind Dating All Over The World
May 18, 2015 – 4:21 PM –
By Josh Wigler
Is it possible to fall in love on a 35,000 mile race around the world? That’s the question that The Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan and his team wondered as they crafted season 26′s big twist: Six pre-established dating couples, like Jonathan Knight and Harley Rodriguez, would race against five brand-new blind dates, introduced on the starting line for the very first time.
For Laura Pierson and Tyler Adams, the blind-dating racers otherwise known as Team SoCal, the answer appears to be yes — in a manner of speaking. As they crossed the finish line and became the latest winners of The Amazing Race on the May 15 season finale, Tyler and Laura declared their undying love… for the world. As for each other? A lifelong friendship. Not a bad consolation prize.
Here’s what Laura and Tyler had to say about winning The Amazing Race, the pressure of participating in such an intense adventure with a complete stranger, their favorite moments, their greatest hardships, and what we can expect from their relationship moving forward.
On winning The Amazing Race:
“It’s been amazing yet insanely overwhelming,” says Laura. “I don’t know how else to describe it. Coming back from Dallas and having this huge secret you can’t share with anybody was very difficult, especially because I’m very close with all my friends and family. It’s amazing that we were able to have them there at our finale party and we were able to finally talk about this incredible opportunity that we had.”
“It was absolutely fantastic,” says Tyler. “We had a blast in New York City, I had a ton of family and friends there, I had a buddy who was supposed to run the Brooklyn half marathon on Saturday morning that ended up partying with me until 2, and woke up and still ran it on two hours of sleep. It was awesome.”
On the season’s blind date twist:
“We all took a big risk and leap of faith to sign up and show up on day one knowing that we weren’t going to know our partners until Phil said, ‘Ready, set, go!’ But once we met and the race began, we felt we were in a good place,” says Tyler. “We both knew the race, we were both big fans of the show, we had little strategies devised about how we were going to approach it, and we took it one challenge at a time. I definitely don’t think we would’ve guessed that three blind date teams would make it to the finals, but we were confident that we would do well.”
“We just worked really well together from the first challenge with the Tough Mudder,” says Laura. “We could see that Tyler stopped, he came back, he made sure I could get through it. Some of the other blind dating teams didn’t do that. I think that’s why we ended third in the first challenge. We had this great teamwork that we already had right off the bat.”
On the advantages of racing with a stranger:
“Obviously you’re on good behavior in the beginning, so you’re trying to do a good job, but you’re also doing a lot of this for yourself,” says Laura. “It’s not like you’re with a boyfriend and you feel you have to perform very strongly for him. You’re doing it for yourself, which makes you do a better job than you think you can do, instead of turning to your boyfriend to say, ‘Help me with this!’ You turn within yourself. And you don’t argue. Knowing someone’s strengths and weaknesses can sometimes be a big disadvantage.”
“We went in without any preconceived expectations of one another, so you keep an open mind,” says Tyler. “Luckily we both got paired up with people who approach life similarly. We weren’t going to be yelling at someone we didn’t know. We kind of surprised each other each step of the way with how well we were able to perform.”
On the disadvantages of racing with a stranger:
“I was really nervous because we weren’t going to be able to figure out a strategy beforehand,” says Laura. “What challenges should I do? What should he do? What are his strengths? What are his weaknesses? What makes him tick? Those were all things that would be difficult to figure out. If we’re doing a Roadblock, should I cheer him on, or is that going to bother him? From the start you just have to feel it out. You don’t want to step on toes and be annoying. There’s some stuff you have to figure out very, very quickly. This was an amazing social experiment.”
“What do you do to get this person jacked up and ready to race and excited, or not afraid to do something that maybe will test their limits? I remember in Africa, we thought we were about to go skydiving,” says Tyler, “and Laura was getting nervous. I’m sitting there trying to pump her up. At that point we had known each other a little while and figured it out. But it took a learning curve, for sure.”
“It’s crazy to think that at that point we only knew each for two weeks,” says Laura.
On how the season would have worked out if they were paired with some of the other blind date contestants:
“Oh, God, I’m sorry, I have to say Jeff,” says Laura. “It wouldn’t have worked. I think he’s a nice guy but I don’t think we would’ve clicked as well. Jelani has become one of my dearest friends but I don’t know how well we would have done, because we would be too busy laughing and not concentrating on the race. And I adore Blair, he’s a wonderful person… but there’s something about Tyler where he just gets it. We’re similar. I knew we would kick butt.”
“Do I need to answer this one?” laughs Tyler. “All right, I think I would have struggled if I was paired up with Hayley. She and Blair obviously had some miscommunication. It seemed like he had a rough go at it, trying to figure out her motivators. Laura and I were able to connect. Blair’s an extremely patient and nice guy. If he wasn’t able to figure out how to get that relationship going, I’m not too confident that I could have.”
On their favorite moments from the race:
“Driving a monster truck was by far my favorite thing,” says Tyler. “We just had an awesome day. So many incredible things. Honestly, we didn’t even know we were in first place until we were in that mud and almost about to leave. It was the most incredible feeling.”
“I absolutely loved being in Namibia,” says Laura. “I don’t think it’s easy at all to travel there. It was an incredible experience. Camping outside under the stars… I love camping, I camp all over the United States, but camping in Africa was a completely amazing and incredible experience.”
On their plans for the New Zealand and South Korea vacations they won on the race:
“We played a really good game of rock paper scissors, and I lost, but Tyler’s still nice enough to let me take the trip that I want,” says Laura. “I’m going to take New Zealand, and Tyler’s going to take South Korea — even though I think South Korea is going to be really awesome, and now I’m wondering if I want to switch back!”
“I did some research, and there’s this mud festival in July,” says Tyler. “It’s like the largest mud fight in the world. That’s when I’m going to South Korea.”
On the future of Team SoCal:
“We’re still falling in love with the world,” says Laura.
“We’re definitely still friends,” adds Tyler. “This is an experience we’ll never forget and only the two of us will ever be able to share. It’s awesome.”http://parade.com/398206/joshwigler/the-amazing-race-winners-tyler-and-laura-on-blind-dating-all-over-the-world/#addthis