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TAR 22: David & Connor O'Leary "Father/Son Cancer Survivors"

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Amazing Race's Dave and Connor: It Was a Lousy Way to Leave
Mar 18, 2013 04:01 PM ET
by Joyce Eng

Dave and Connor were running — or hobbling — on borrowed time on The Amazing Race after Dave tore his Achilles' tendon on Leg 2. The father-and-son cancer survivors/cyclists finally decided to throw in the towel on Sunday — but not before winning two legs. "We didn't expect to do as well as we did, but it was just time," Dave tells "I needed surgery and we wouldn't have  lasted much longer." But could they have gone another leg? And what was their one selfish act? Find out below.

Why did you decide to withdraw now? Was it just your doctor's advice or were you hurting?
Dave: Yeah, it was mostly my orthopedic surgeon. We actually got word in Bali that ideally there was a seven-day window to have surgery, but no more than 14. We were right in that timeframe and it just felt like that was the time. It was more important than going on to another leg. We kind of decided the morning we were leaving for Vietnam that we would quit. We decided to go to Vietnam because selfishly we were anxious to see Vietnam! [Laughs] We wanted to go out on the mat and that was the only way we could do it.

So there was no rule that you had to fly to Vietnam? You just wanted to go there.
Connor: Nope, no rule at all. Luckily, we were able to do that.

Are you sure you couldn't have run another leg? You were cruising on those crutches, Dave.
Dave: [Laughs] I was probably faster on the crutches than I was on two legs. I don't know. It's close. We were having fun, but unfortunately, we took my boot off one night in an airport and my leg really looked bad. Then we got in contact with a doctor who gave us that timeframe. They had seen the test results from Tahiti and said I really needed to have surgery. I didn't want to jeopardize the rest of my life.

How close were you to quitting after the second leg?
Dave: We saw a doctor in Bora Bora and he confirmed that a tendon was torn. He called it a hemotoma, but it turned out to be a torn calf muscle. We were heartbroken. I'm a big boob anyway, but I just bawled my eyes out lying on a table on the beach, thinking it was all over. We stayed that night in Bora Bora, got to Tahiti the next morning, got the sonogram done that confirmed the calf muscle was torn and the Achilles' was torn. Our translator there actually said that I didn't need surgery and then came back later and said, "Oh, I'm sorry, I misunderstood. The doctor said you have to have surgery and you should go home to do it." But they put me in the boot and the boot was great. I felt fine in the boot, so we figured, "Hey, let's keep going."

Was that a quick decision or did you discuss it a lot?
Dave: We had discussions all the time. At that point, we had an Express Pass and we said, "Why not finish the leg and try to win the leg and then we'll make the decision?" We were lucky enough to win the leg and Phil tells us that we're still racing! [Laughs] What do you do? You keep racing! We didn't see that as a way to leave in the middle of a double-leg. We didn't think it could go on much longer. It had already been a few days, so we said, "Heck, let's just keep doing and see what we can do."

Jessica and John were hesitant to keep their word to the deal and give you the Express Pass. Do you think they would've given it to you if you weren't injured?
Connor: It didn't hurt that we were hurt. I think they saw that as a great opportunity. They knew that we wouldn't last long and it made them look good. It would've made them look terrible if they didn't give it to us. I think they were kind of forced to in a way.

What do you think about them not using theirs last week?
Connor: Oh, man! I don't even know what to say about that. [Laughs] Watching it, it was just like, "C'mon! Pull the Express Pass! Pull the Express Pass!"
Dave: Especially when he saw Chuck down at the surfboards. You'd think he'd say, "Hey, I'm just gonna use this." It's really crazy because you prepare so well for the Race and think you're going to read your clues word for word. We made so many stupid mistakes. But you get out there and your adrenaline's going so fast and you forget everything.

Connor, some fans are upset that you peeked at Winnie's surfboard last week after rejecting her deal to show you her board if you let her win the leg. What was your reasoning behind rejecting her offer?
Connor: Second place doesn't do us any good in our situation. If we were healthy, that's a different story. We wanted to win the leg. If I had said yes, I wasn't going to jump in front of her, but I figured we still had a chance to get first if she was having trouble [finding Phil] and if I could find the board before she found Phil. Then I looked up and when she had her surfboard out in front of me, I looked at it. I don't think that's any different than when you're doing tasks next to each other and look at each other's work. ... Once I saw it, I was like, "Yes, that's it! That's the priest." ... If I hadn't seen her, I probably would've recognized it eventually.

Dave: Unfortunately, we made two trips to see [the priest] because we forgot our snorkeling gear. ... We were surprised Winnie didn't follow Connor to the Pit Stop.

Me too. Why didn't she?
Connor: I don't know. She took off and went in a totally different direction. Then I saw Phil and booked it up to him. I lucked out.

Dave, did you exacerbate your injury by running those two legs?
Dave: Not at all. The boot was really solid and I didn't feel like I was doing any damage. It was really the correspondence with the orthopedic surgeon who gave us the timeframe that said now's the time we should pull out.
Connor: It was a bummer, but it was fun. We made the most of it: two first places and great prizes. We showed people that you can win on one leg.

Why did you tell Pam and Winnie, and Max and Katie that you were pulling out?
Connor: We just figured we're leaving and we'll let these two teams know since we were all there.
Dave: They elected not to tell anyone else that we were gone, which was smart of them. We kind of hoped that someone would U-Turn us and waste their U-Turn.

Did you know that you had the highest average placement at that point?
Connor: We did. We were in the top three. We should've had three wins, but the Achilles' took it down to two. We were right up there. You never know what's going to happen, but we felt like we had a good shot. It's definitely heartbreaking.

You're a shoo-in for the next Unfinished Business. You have a legitimate case to be on.
Connor: If they do one, let's hope so!
Dave: Please let someone else know that. [Laughs] We would love to go back. It was such a lousy way to leave.

How's your leg now, Dave?
Dave: It's coming. It's a long recovery. They say a year, but I was lucky that my orthopedic surgeon was aggressive on my therapy and I was able to get back on my bike with a boot on in a couple of weeks. I'm a lot slower and I won't be able to run for a couple more months, but I'm back being active. I rode 50 miles on Saturday and 30 miles this morning. I'm continuing physical therapy on the Achilles'. Right now, it's more the calf muscle than the Achilles'.

So you can be back on the Race in a year.
Dave: I can be racing in two more months. If I can run, I can race!

The Amazing Race: David and Connor O’Leary, “We knew we couldn’t win”
by Reg Seeton

This week on The Amazing Race, father and son cancer survivors David and Connor O’Leary were forced to leave the competition in Vietnam due to injury.

Although David suffered a torn Achilles tendon during the second leg of The Amazing Race in Bora Bora, the 58-year old investment properties businessman continued to run the race with his son until he absolutely had to have surgery. It was an impressive showing for David and Connor who actually won a leg this season with Dave on crutches.

Unfortunately, when the race touched down in Vietnam this week, both David and Connor made the tough decision to leave The Amazing Race in order to capitalize on a seven day window for Dave to have surgery.

The next day, David and Connor gave The Deadbolt an exclusive update on the injury and how they felt about their time on The Amazing Race.

THE DEADBOLT: Dave, how’s your leg doing now?
DAVID O’LEARY: It’s coming. I came home and immediately had surgery. I went through physical therapy and I’m now recovering. Fortunately I went back on a bike and another sixty days I’ll be able to run again. I feel like I’m making progress and hopefully I’ll make a complete recovery.

THE DEADBOLT: Since you’re both cancer survivors, how important was it to push through the pain?
DAVID: It was important. We hated to leave. If we hadn’t heard from a doctor that there was a window in which I had to have surgery, we would’ve tried to stick it out a couple more legs. I mean, we knew we couldn’t win the race. We weren’t naive enough to believe that was a possibility. We were having so much fun that it was really a bummer to leave regardless of having an injury.

THE DEADBOLT: From the time the injury happened to the actual diagnosis, how did you both arrive at the decision to keep going? Did you go back and forth on it?
DAVID: We did. I got the first diagnosis in Bora Bora that the tendon was torn. It was really kind of gone. You could stick your finger up and go all the way to the ankle bone. At that point, I kind of thought we were done.

We went to Tahiti the next day and had a scan and they put me in the boot. Once they put me in the boot, I felt great. I thought, “Boy, I can keep going. If we can keep up on crutches, we ought to try and do the next leg.” So, we did.

We thought we’d quit after New Zealand because we kind of knew we couldn’t win. When we won that leg and the race kept going, we were like, “Hey, I guess we’re going on to Bali.”

THE DEADBOLT: Connor, what was your thought process after the injury occurred?
CONNOR O’LEARY: Honestly, I thought the plug was going to be pulled in Bora Bora after we saw the doctor and the extent of the injury. The one thing my mom said to me was to take care of my dad. So, I had to take care of him and do what I had to do.

I thought we were going to pull the plug but we got the boot on him and he kept chugging along. So, it was a fun four legs.

THE DEADBOLT: Did you guys think you’d be eliminated first, or did you know you’d probably have to make the decision yourselves?
CONNOR: You know, we wanted to go and win a few legs and see what we could do. I think it was our original intent to go until we were out. But once we got that news from the doctor, we realized it was serious and he had to get surgery. We didn’t want to make the injury worse than it was by prolonging the surgery.

DAVID: When we got the Express Pass, we felt that we had a real advantage to win one leg, which proved to be true. After that, it was kind of all bets were off.

THE DEADBOLT: Dave, how do you feel now knowing you were at the top of the pack for most of the race?
DAVID: I still feel terrible, believe me. I guess if you’re going to go out, you want to go out on top. But it felt so awful to have to leave. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done just because you have this experience with your son. Connor and I are best friends, we’ve done a lot together. But what are the odds you’re ever going to be able to do The Amazing Race? It was really a hard decision to leave.

THE DEADBOLT: Do you guys regret staying in the race as long as you did?
CONNOR: No, not at all. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. Unfortunately, it was cut a little short. We definitely don’t regret staying in as long as we did.

DAVID: We kind of regret not doing the leg in Vietnam after seeing it last night. We didn’t know how long it would be since you don’t know what’s coming. But the fact that it was a one day leg it looks like, we probably should have tried to do it. But hindsight is 20/20, especially when you don’t know what’s coming.

THE DEADBOLT: Since you both had such a one-of-a-kind experience with the injury, was it still great to run the race even though you had to leave?
CONNOR: Oh yeah, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. My dad got hurt, it was a bummer we had to leave, but it was one of the most fun things I’ve ever done in my life.

DAVID: I feel the same way. Certainly I didn’t relish blowing my Achilles and my calf muscle. [laughs] Last night I was so depressed watching the show knowing we had to leave and we didn’t get to go on to the next places they’re going to. But while we were there, we had a great time.

THE DEADBOLT: Well, I’m glad it all worked out and you’re doing well. I hope to see you guys in the future.
DAVID: We hope so, too.


Exclusive: David O'Leary and Connor O'Leary talk 'The Amazing Race' (Part 1)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/19/2013

David O'Leary and Connor O'Leary were eliminated from The Amazing Race during Sunday night's fifth broadcast of the CBS reality competition's 22nd season.

The "Father and Son" team were forced to withdraw from The Amazing Race due to injury and formally eliminated from the around-the-world competition by host Phil Keoghan after they went directly to the Race's fourth Pit Stop at the Vietnam National Museum of History without having completed any of the leg's tasks along the way.

Dave and Connor's decision to withdraw from the Race ultimately prevented the elimination of "Married Couple" Chuck McCall and Wynona McCall, who subsequently finished the fourth leg in last place.

In an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Monday, Dave and Connor talked about their The Amazing Race experience and the injury that got in their way. Below is the first half of their interview. Check back with Reality TV World on Wednesday for the concluding portion.

Reality TV World: Dave, how is your ankle doing now? Did you end up getting the surgery you mentioned during last night's episode?
David O'Leary: I did. I came home and literally the day I got home at 10 o'clock at night. I had surgery midday the next day.

Reality TV World: During last night's broadcast, you said you needed the surgery in seven days. Was it seven days from that very moment?
David O'Leary: Well, there was an email from an orthopedic surgeon and he said, ideally, he would have it within seven and no longer than 14. And we were kind of past seven, and so, that's really what made our decision.

So I came home, had the surgery and have been recovering and doing well! I'm able to ride a bike again. I can't run yet but I'm sure that will come in the next 60 days. I feel like I'll make a complete recovery.

Reality TV World: We saw you two flying into Vietnam and then making your way to the Pit Stop mat, where you were greeted by Phil Keoghan and formally eliminated due to Dave's injury. Could you explain why you two went to the Pit Stop and were eliminated in that manner? I was wondering why you didn't just take yourselves out of the Race in Bali and leave immediately or why Phil couldn't just announce your disqualification at some point in the episode?
David O'Leary: Well when you have the chance to go to Vietnam, you go to Vietnam. I mean, honestly, we decided that -- we got the email from the orthopedic surgeon right as we were leaving Bali. So we were already -- we didn't have that information before then, and we really kind of decided as we were driving to the travel agency that we were going to leave.

And we thought, "Well, the only way we can really leave and kind of leave on our terms would be to go to Vietnam, be able to go onto the mat and tell Phil that we were leaving and then make our way home." And we were already kind of past the first time frame but within the second one, so we said, "That's what we're going to do!"

Reality TV World: So just to clarify, did you really go immediately to the Pit Stop after landing in Vietnam or did you stop anywhere in between?
David O'Leary: No, we were on the same flight with [Winnie Sung and Pamela Chien] and with [Max Bichler and Katie Bichler]. But rather than going where they were going, we went to another hotel. So we spent the night in Vietnam, and after watching the show last night, we didn't know how long that leg was going to be.

If it had been another three-day leg, we wouldn't have been able to do it and get home in time to have the surgery. Seeing that it was a one-day leg, we kind of kicked ourselves for not doing it, because after watching it last night, we felt like we could have.

Reality TV World: Yeah, if surgery wasn't an issue -- if you didn't need it as soon as you did, Dave -- do you think you could have kept going in the Race maybe even beyond last night's leg since you feel now you were capable of completing it or do you think it would've been impossible to continue regardless?
David O'Leary: Well you never know what's coming and we knew that Connor could do certain things that I wouldn't be able to do, and Connor only had so many more things that he could do.

He had kind of been carrying me for two legs already, so it was really disappointing to leave. We really struggled with the decision but felt like long-term, my health was going to be more important than another leg of The Amazing Race at the time.

Reality TV World: Absolutely. Dave, when you hurt your ankle running to a previous Pit Stop in a foot race against Bates Battaglia and Anthony Battaglia, you said right off the bat you thought you had ruptured your Achilles tendon and it turned out you were right on the money. How did you know what had happened to you? Have you torn your Achilles tendon before or something?
David O'Leary: No, I haven't. But I've torn my ACL in my knee before, you know, popped my ACL. And it was the same feeling. I took a step and I felt a real distinct pop and I took one more step and there was a second pop, which turned out to be my calf muscle. And so, it was not just my Achilles but my calf muscle got sheared as well.

And so, I mean, I knew it was not something minor. I knew it wasn't a sprain or a strain. I mean, it was distinct enough that I had no question that I had a pretty serious injury, and it turned out to be the case.

Reality TV World: Although you were injured Dave, you two managed to still win two legs this season. Did your success surprise you considering the circumstances? How much of a role do you think luck played in those victories versus skill and strategy?
David O'Leary: Well, I think luck plays a role in everyone's win of a leg in The Amazing Race, but we made some good decisions -- some of which they didn't show. When we were in New Zealand, everyone drove to a parking lot and we elected not to do that. We drove up on the bridge, got the clue that they obviously didn't know was there and made it back to be the first people on the jugboats.

When we finished that -- when we finished and met Phil on the mat in New Zealand, we went immediately to a different travel agency that booked us on the first flight out, which gave us an advantage going into Bali. So we made some good choices.

Connor O'Leary: Yeah, I think luck plays a part. But at the same time, we were consistently in the Top 3 for four legs, and half that time, we won two legs. So I think we showed that, you know, we were a strong team. And I think we played a fairly smart -- yeah, it's disappointing to leave, but...

David O'Leary: We definitely made some stupid mistakes obviously [too]. (Laughs)

Reality TV World: During last night's episode, Pam and Winnie knew you two were going to get eliminated in the leg, but they chose to keep that a secret from most of the teams -- allowing them to potentially think you guys were Racing behind them. They were hoping that mindset would slow some teams down. What was your reaction when you saw that? Did you think their strategy was impressive and fair or a little bit cruel in some ways?
Connor O'Leary: I thought it was smart! I mean, I think it's a game and yeah, I think they kind of used it to their advantage -- which I don't see any problem with. I think it was smart of them to do.

David O'Leary: We kind of hoped someone would U-Turn us!

Reality TV World: Jessica Hoel and John Erck have been highly criticized for getting eliminated with an Express Pass in their possession. Many fans have been calling the move idiotic and John cocky because of it. What was your initial reaction when you found out what had happened to the team and what are your own thoughts on it?
Connor O'Leary: You know, yes, it's definitely a shock. And yeah, watching it, you're just screaming, "Use your Express Pass! Use the Express Pass!" -- especially when John was doing the surfboards with Chuck and he knew that most likely he was the last team. Yeah, I mean, maybe arrogance got the best of him there. But everything is moving so fast that when you're in the moment, you can make mistakes like that.

Reality TV World: Max was shown last night making fun of Jessica and John because of it, and Joey Graceffa and Meghan Camarena were shown getting pretty angry over it because they thought it was rude. Do you agree with Joey and Meghan in that maybe Max should've kept his thoughts to himself?
Connor O'Leary: To each their own. That's just kind of Max's personality, and they didn't necessarily click on the show. So yeah, I can see both angles, honestly.

David O'Leary: And really, what team hasn't made a mistake? Their mistake was a big one and it cost them. It cost them the Race, but every team has made a mistake so far, and we made some big ones. I mean, we made one of the stupidest ones.

We missed our snorkeling gear on that second leg, and if we hadn't done that, I think we would've won that leg pretty handily and probably not had the issue with my Achilles. So, we made some stupid mistakes. Everyone did.

Reality TV World: Looking back on that problem you guys encountered with forgetting your snorkeling gear, how much time do you think you guys wasted going back to retrieve it?
Connor O'Leary: Fifteen minutes at least!

David O'Leary: We had to motor all the way back. We had to run up the hill again where the priest was, come back down -- I mean it was -- and you know, we made the stupid mistake of reading our information and we saw "boat" and "bag" in the same sentence.

We're going so fast that we just missed the obvious, and you say you'll never do that, and then you get on The Amazing Race and all of a sudden, everything you think about or planned to never do, you do.

Above is the first half of Dave and Connor's exclusive interview with Reality TV World. Check back with us on Wednesday for the concluding portion.

Thank god they're gone, I couldn't have survived through anymore crying :res: Boring team

Here's a neat article about "good" reality TV shows. TAR is named as one of them, along with America's Got Talent and The Biggest Loser. :wohoo:

I posted it here because it discusses Dave & Connor's experiences on the Race. Here is the relevant portion:

--- Quote ---'The Amazing Race'

Another popular reality TV show that has built a family audience is “The Amazing Race.”

Salt Lake City natives Dave and Connor O’Leary competed as a father-and-son team in the most recent season.

In 2007, Dave O’Leary was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Luckily, the cancer was found early enough to cure through surgery. However, it was still a very painful and trying process.

Three years later, Connor O’Leary was diagnosed with testicular cancer and had to go through months of chemotherapy. He nearly died from blood clots developing in his lungs and in his heart.

Connor O'Leary has been in remission for the past two and half years. He had always wanted to try out for “The Amazing Race,” and after his experience with his own cancer as well as his father’s, he was determined to make an audition video.

“We went into the garage and sat on some stools and had one of his friends with a video camera shoot a short video,” Dave O’Leary said. “That was honestly the last I thought of it, but then I got an email when I was in Europe saying the producers were trying to reach us, and the rest is history.”

“The Amazing Race” focuses on values such as teamwork, culture and courage.

The O’Learys attribute much of their success to their ability to work as a team.

“The people who have the most problems in the race are typically the ones who don’t get along well as a team,” Dave O’Leary said. “I learned that even in times of adversity, if you’ve got a strong teammate and you’re willing to work together, you can make progress.”

The O’Learys did face adversity when Dave ruptured his Achilles tendon.

Although he was in a lot of pain, the father and his son continued on for two more legs of the race, winning each.

Eventually the time came for Dave O’Leary to have surgery and the two left the show without regrets.

“To be able to show people from our standpoint that we’ve both had cancer and were still able to do this was pretty amazing for us,” Dave O’Leary said.

“The Amazing Race” highlights various cultures across the world.

The O’Learys experienced the heat of the race in Bali, Indonesia. The sights were incredible, the challenges were unique, but most of all Dave O’Leary enjoyed meeting the Indonesian people.

“We saw a number of people who have far less than we do but that are incredibly happy,” he said. “They’re doing good things, they love each other and their families. That was inspiring to me.”

O’Leary was also inspired by the people involved with “The Amazing Race,” including the other contestants and the producers.

“There were these twin OBGYN doctors from Chicago who were terrified of water, yet they overcame it and went into these diving bells,” Dave O’Leary said. “I thought that was so incredible.”

The O’Leary's lives have been enriched even more since their experience on “The Amazing Race.”

“It’s life changing to see the world,” Dave O’Leary said. “It’s a big place and I’m anxious to continue seeing more and getting out of my comfort zone.”
--- End quote ---

Source: Deseret News


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