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The amazing Linz kids
By Eileen Connelly, OSU

ST. FRANCIS DE SALES DEANERY — The Linz siblings of Anderson Township, who emerged as the winners of the CBS series "The Amazing Race" on Dec. 13 can credit a Catholic school background with their knowledge of geography.

Nick, 25, Alex, 23, Megan, 21, and Tommy, 20, were the first team to cross the finish line near Niagara Falls, netting a $1 million prize.

The Linzes were on a family trip to Cancun during the Christmas holidays in 2004 when they were approached by a CBS casting director and asked to audition for the show.

Traci Van Dorselaer 
"The Amazing Race" winners pose with Brother of the Poor of St. Francis Ed Kesler, assistant principal at IHM. Pictured with him from left are Nick, Megan, Tommy and Alex Linz.
"We’d always joked that we’d never do reality TV, but the ‘Amazing Race’ was different," recalled Megan, a 2003 graduate of St. Ursula Academy and now a student at Miami University. "It seemed so real and so fun."
This season of "The Amazing Race" was the show’s first "family edition" with 10 four-person teams. The families raced from New York City to New Orleans and on to South America. They then drove from Arizona through Utah to Wyoming and Montana before flying to Montreal. From there, it was another drive to Toronto and a thrilling finale at Niagara Falls.

From the start of the race, said Alex, a 2000 graduate of St. Xavier High School who currently works as an emergency department technician at Mercy Hospital Anderson, "we didn’t really have a strategy, because we didn’t really see it as a competition. It more of an opportunity to have fun, to have an adventure. We couldn’t strategize because you never knew what you were going to be asked to do next."

"We did decide that we were going to try not to fight and to keep the bickering at minimum," added his sister. "We just wanted to play the game the best we could and do it for the experience, not the prize. The most important thing is that we were ourselves the entire time. We never had to change who we are. We stuck to the values our parents taught us."

While Megan is close to her brothers and is a self-admitted tomboy, she said it was hard being the only girl on the team. "I can run with the boys for sure, but I can still be sensitive."

Both she and her brother say the experience opened their eyes to different cultures, taught them patience and the importance of teamwork. "It also reinforced what I already knew — that I have a great family," Alex said.

Since the show’s finale, the Linz siblings have been busy with interviews and public appearances, including a visit Immaculate Heart of Mary School, where they all attended grade school. They received an enthusiastic welcome from the faculty and students as they recounted some of their experiences.

Alex credited the education they received and the values they learned at IHM with helping them to win the competition. "Our teachers at IHM always taught us to use teamwork," he said. "They always encouraged us and were role models. I owe the person that I am today to them."

"I was fortunate enough to have taught all the Linz children," said Brother of St. Francis of the Poor Ed Kesler, assistant principal at IHM. "While here, they all displayed the team spirit and quick thinking that was evident during the ‘Amazing Race’ challenge. We are so proud of the entire Linz family. What a blessing it is as a Catholic educator to see such strong character and deep faith revealed by your students in such a public way."

That character was demonstrated when the LInz siblings announced on national television that their prize money would be shared with their family.

Half will go to their parents, Tom and Terri Linz, and the rest will be split seven ways among the four race participants and their three brothers who did not appear on the show.

"The money doesn’t equate to what our parents have done for us," Alex explained, "and we wanted our siblings to know that we wish they could have been there."


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