'The Amazing Race Canada' Season 4: Anthony and Brandon sound off on costly misplay
In The Amazing Race Canada, it’s called an “expert fail” – when someone craps out on a challenge in their wheelhouse.
Think Olympic gold medal hockey player Natalie Spooner repeatedly missing a net target in Season 2, or former pro soccer player Nic La Monaca stinking out the joint at “blind soccer” in Season 3.
The first episode of Season 4 Tuesday saw the two biggest and strongest players – Windsor Buffalo Wild Wings servers Anthony Limbombe and Brandon Campeau – back away from an upper-body-strength challenge involving monkey bars at the bottom of the Jasper SkyTram. Eventually they were eliminated.
They took a four-hour penalty and skipped the Roadblock after Campeau’s hands slipped on his first attempt and he fell hundreds of feet on a bungee.
The smallest team – fitness instructors Kelly Xu and Kate Pan – also opted for the penalty, reasoning that they didn’t have the strength for it.
“We WERE the most physical team in the race,” Campeau said in an interview Wednesday, the day after he and Limbombe watched their elimination at the home of fellow racers Kristen McKenzie and Steph LeClair.
“I really wanted to nail it on my first attempt, but I just didn’t have the upper body strength to do it. So after falling, we contemplated taking penalties and calculated that we would have had enough time to do the rest of the race based on how many teams were still left at the tram.
“We killed it the rest of the race, got to the Pit Stop and it was looking good for a couple of hours. But slowly and surely all the teams ended up showing up. I felt real guilty for watching us lose and then seeing how easy the second attempt was for all the teams.”
(On further attempts, contestants began to figure out that using their feet as well as their hands made it easier. Bad weather gave some teams a break as well, releasing them from having to finish the challenge with only a minor time penalty.)
Could Limbombe, a former college basketball player and the bigger of the two, have completed the SkyTram challenge?
“Obviously, after you get eliminated, you play with different possibilities,” Limbombe said. “Everyone would. Of course I thought, ‘What would have happened with me?’ But at the end of the day there’s nothing we could do about that.”
“I think Anthony could have done it on his first attempt,” Campeau said.
Discovering that they were effectively in a race with the diminutive “Kate and Kelly” (who at one point let their raft get away from them on the Athabasca River) Limbombe and Campeau liked their chances. Indeed, the episode was edited to make it sound like they were trash-talking the young women.
“All we were saying was if it came down to a footrace, we thought we’d beat them because we are the more physical team, we’re athletic guys,” Limbombe said.
“At that point,” Campeau added, “now that it’s two teams that have penalties, the rest of the race doesn’t matter as long as you get to the mat before them.
“We knew we would smash ‘em in the footrace, but we weren’t talking smack about them.”
Campeau did admit, though that when Xu and Pan lost their raft, “it sure did look like (they were going to lose).”
Watching the show with fellow players who were there and already knew the outcome was a relief for Limbombe and Campeau, whose other option was to watch it at their workplace.
“Apparently, everyone was cheering us on,” Campeau said. “We were told there was a large crowd at the dining room that clapped and cheered and drank shots every time they saw us on TV.
“But being there for the disappointment – that would have been awkward.”
Though they didn’t have a long time to assess the competition, Limbombe and Campeau figured early on two favourites. One of them – Big Brother Canada alumni and argumentative “exes” Jillian MacLaughlin and Emmett Blois – actually won the first leg of the race.
“We knew from first impressions that Jillian and Emmett would be a tough team to beat,” Limbombe said. “And (former U.S. softball collegians) Steph and Kristen would be tough to beat just because they looked physically dominant.”
But as we discovered, looks aren’t everything.