Dating couple Meghan & Cheyne won a hotly contested battle against runners-up brothers Sam & Dan and third place married couple Brian & Ericka to claim the one million dollar prize and become the winners of THE AMAZING RACE.
REUNION IN PRAGUE
Departing the Pit Stop in first place at 11:10am, dating couple Meghan & Cheyne discovered they had to fly almost 6,000 miles to the final destination city of Las Vegas, Nevada. When they landed, they had to travel to the Graceland Wedding Chapel to get their next clue from the King.
Arriving at a nearby travel agency, Meghan & Cheyne found a British Airways flight leaving at 6:40pm, the earliest available. Guessing that everyone would be on the same flight, the dating couple went to the airport and waited to see who would be joining them in the final three. Once brothers Sam & Dan surfaced at the airport, they didn't know whether the Globetrotters or Brian & Ericka would be the third team to show up.
Pulling up to the airport, Brian said to Ericka "It's going to be funny to see their faces when we walk in." Indeed, when the married couple walked through the door, Meghan & Cheyne let out a huge cheer and ran over to hug and congratulate them. Being that this was the first time that Sam & Dan saw Brian & Ericka since stealing their taxi, the brothers apologized profusely to them, saying, "We know you hate us." Brian later remarked, "I forgive them, but I'm not gonna forget what happened. I still think it was a dirty move."
VIVA LAS VEGAS
Landing in Las Vegas, the three teams bolted out of the airport and into taxis with the stakes higher than ever. While the taxis jostled for position on the crowded roads of the city, all three teams arrived at the Graceland Wedding Chapel within moments of each other. Running into the chapel, the teams heard the familiar voice of Elvis as an impersonator sang "Amazing Grace" to a couple about to be married. Not content to simply watch the King, the racers joined in singing the song in a rare moment of camaraderie. Once Elvis finished the tune, he handed the teams their clue instructing them to travel to the Mandalay Bay Hotel.
Because of a taxi driver who knew a faster route, married couple Brian & Ericka arrived at Mandalay Bay in first place to find the final Roadblock of the race. In it, one team member had to perform a terrifying, face-first rappel 600 feet down the side of the building. When they reached the bottom, they would receive their next clue.
With Brian's crippling fear of heights still an issue, Ericka decided to take the plunge down the side of Mandalay Bay. As she put on the gear high atop the hotel, Ericka said, "Today I am fearless. There's nothing that's going to stop me from doing everything that I possibly can to get to this finish line first." Once Ericka put her legs over the side, she grabbed onto the rope and turned around to face the pavement that lay 600 feet below her. Starting the walk down the side of the building, Ericka whooped and hollered, later saying, "It's exciting for me to disprove some of the stereotypes about a Miss America and what she would and would not do." As husband Brian cheered below, Ericka continued her descent keeping her lead on a nervous Cheyne, who was being prepped with his gear at the top. Finally reaching the bottom of the building, Ericka reunited with Brian and the pair discovered that they had to travel to the Mirage Hotel.
Having to scale the side of the immense Mandalay Bay affected second place Cheyne and third place Sam in entirely different ways. Cheyne refused to open his eyes the entire way down, as he slowly inched his way towards Meghan's voice cheering him on from below. Meanwhile, Sam relished the opportunity to rappel down the building, joking, "Step aside Tom Cruise. Step aside." Sam picked up his speed and gained ground on the timid Cheyne, as he adeptly scaled the building, shouting, "Look at my little legs going." A relieved Cheyne reached solid ground ahead of Sam and both teams raced to the Mirage in hopes of catching up to Brian & Ericka.
ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE
Pulling up to the Mirage Hotel in first place, married couple Brian & Ericka ripped open their clue instructing them to become a part of Cirque du Soleil's Love show. Using bungee cords, one team member had to launch their partner high enough in the air to retrieve a bouquet of flowers suspended high above the stage. When they grabbed the entire bouquet, they would hand it to the flower child to receive their next clue.
Stepping onto the fully decorated stage of Love, an excited Brian & Ericka hoped to finish the task fast to keep their miniscule lead on the other teams. By the time Ericka was fully strapped into the gear for Brian to launch her, Meghan & Cheyne arrived at the theater. Ericka's face turned to a scowl upon seeing the dating couple and urged Brian to pull her down and release her for a chance to grab the bouquet. Brian & Ericka's first attempts didn't result in success as Ericka missed snatching the flowers by a significant amount. Brian tried pulling Ericka down and at an angle to launch her towards the bouquet, but this technique didn't work either. After a near miss of touching the flowers, Ericka told herself, "Take a deep damn breath and stop freaking out."
After Meghan got suited up, she and Cheyne joined Brian & Ericka on the stage, as both women tried to grab the bouquet of flowers when their partners propelled them upward from below. In one attempt, Ericka actually touched the flowers, but couldn't get high enough to grab them. Frustrated with not being able to reach the bouquet, Ericka insisted that Brian switch positions with her because he was taller. After Meghan snatched her bouquet, Ericka screamed at Brian to get her down even though it would take time to make the change. Ericka told her husband, "Don't get me pissed off. I want to switch." As Brian got geared up, dating couple Meghan & Cheyne opened their clue instructing them to find the most famous casino in Monaco. They had to figure out that the casino they were looking for was the Monte Carlo.
With brothers Sam & Dan grabbing the bouquet on their second attempt, Ericka frustration morphed into panic and anger. Making matters worse, Ericka's idea of having Brian harnessed failed when she couldn't summon the power to launch him upwards. Ericka began to cry as she once again switched places with Brian in the harness, and let out a near primal scream as continued to miss reaching the bouquet. Ericka shouted, "I can't stand losing this lead Brian! And it's gone!" After calming herself down, Ericka took one more stab at it, ordering Brian, "Push my butt." Her command worked like a charm as Ericka finally floated high enough to grab the bouquet and earn their next clue. Brian knew that Monaco's famous casino was the Monte Carlo, and the married couple hoped that they weren't too far behind to catch up.
Now in the familiar position of first place, Meghan & Cheyne tried to figure out which hotel they needed to find. One taxi driver told them the Venetian, but when sticking their heads out the window of their taxi to ask more people, people told the dating couple the Bellagio. Their confused taxi driver took them to the Venetian where the frantic couple entered the hotel and asked the concierge who told them they needed to go to the Monte Carlo. Back in the taxi, a worried Meghan said, "We just lost some time."
IT ALL ADDS UP
Brothers Sam & Dan, who called the concierge of Mandalay Bay for information, arrived at the correct hotel, Monte Carlo, in first place. Opening their clue, the brothers learned they would have to count out one million dollars in poker chips. Teams had to choose a poker table covered in chips of various denominations. From a sea of 8,400 chips teams had to count out exactly one million dollars. When they thought they had finished, the dealer would verify their count and if they were correct hand them a special chip and their next clue.
Running to a poker table, Sam & Dan began collecting the $1000 red chips as fast as possible, saying, "This is going to take forever!" The brothers quickly amassed $100,000 of red chips and appeared to be working well in tandem for once. However, their usual bickering began to rear its head as the pressure ratcheted up with the arrival of Brian & Ericka and a few minutes later, last place Meghan & Cheyne. The brothers butted heads on the best way to count and stack the chips and Sam felt that Dan's flustered state didn't help any. Sam made his brother switch jobs to gather the chips while he assumed the more stressful job of counting and stacking them.
Arriving at the Monte Carlo poker room in last place, Meghan & Cheyne had a lot of ground to make up on Sam & Dan and Brian & Ericka who had already counted hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of chips. The dating couple didn't flinch or panic, simply picking out the large denominations and stacking them as quickly and efficiently as possible. Cheyne warned Meghan. "We gotta do it right the first time." The pair gained on the other two teams, with their incredible speed and agility at picking the chips out of the massive pile on the table. Meghan encouraged Cheyne, saying, "As fast as your fingers can go. Just stack like you've never stacked before."
Before long, an incredibly tight three-way race developed as the teams neared their goal of one million dollars in chips. Within moments of each other, the three teams all submitted their counts to their dealers for verification. The tension mounted as the three teams waited for the results. While Brian & Ericka and Sam & Dan both got rejected on their submissions, Meghan & Cheyne got approval from their dealer along with the special chip and clue. Opening their clue, the dating couple discovered that they had to race to the MGM Grand Hotel and find the High Roller Suite where Mr. Las Vegas would tell them the location of the finish line.
As Sam & Dan corrected their mistake at the poker table to earn their clue, Meghan & Cheyne arrived at the MGM Grand and took an elevator up to the High Roller Suite. The dating couple gushed as they saw that Mr. Las Vegas, Wayne Newton, was sitting there, and even hugged the Las Vegas icon. Cheyne joked, "I would love to hang out, but we gotta go." Wayne simply told the dating couple that the finish line was at his house, but offered no help in how to find it.
As Meghan & Cheyne rode back down their elevator, brothers Sam & Dan took one up to the High Roller Suite, only minutes behind the dating couple. However, in the suite, the brothers turned a bright shade of red when they couldn't remember Wayne Newton's name. Sam said, "I'm so embarrassed right now." The brothers got the information from Wayne to find his house and returned to their taxi in hopes of catching up to Meghan & Cheyne.
While Brian & Ericka continued to count chips, Meghan & Cheyne and Sam & Dan raced to Wayne Newton's house with one million dollars at stake. The dating couple still held a lead on the brothers, but their taxi couldn't find the correct entrance to his house. Wasting valuable time, Meghan & Cheyne exited the taxi to find a locked gate, and then hurried back to their cab to continue their search on the other side of the massive estate. Meghan began to panic as Sam & Dan closed in on the entrance to the house. Either team could walk away with the one million dollar prize.
In the front of Wayne Newton's house, Phil stood waiting with the eliminated teams, who began clapping and cheering, as dating couple Meghan & Cheyne appeared from the distance and ran onto the mat to claim first place and one million dollars. A stunned Meghan said, "This is not real! I can't even feel my body." Cheyne later said, "I'm unbelievably proud of Meghan. Every single step of the way she really gave it her all. She's an amazingly strong and intelligent woman and I'm so happy she's mine."
Claiming second place, brothers Sam & Dan said, "We wanted to share our story. We wanted to not let our family down just by being who we were. We just wanted to come out and do this race and finish this race and that's what we did." On their frequent fighting, Sam commented, "That's what brothers are. We bicker. We pick at each other, but we know it's not gonna matter. At the end of the day we're still brothers. We still love each other."
After a tough leg, married couple Brian & Ericka finished in third place, but kept their sense of humor and positive attitude in tact. On what her family would think of Brian now, Ericka began to tear up, saying, "I hope that they fully accept him as who he is. I think it's really important that people just step back and evaluate the character of a person as opposed to...what's on the exterior. It means nothing in comparison to who that person really is. This was just a part of our journey and I'm just really grateful I had him to do it with and I'm really glad that I have him in my life to learn from."
To sum the experience up, newly crowned winner Cheyne remarked, "The whole experience in itself was life changing. The money is not even as important as what we got to do together. It was the perfect race. It could not have been any better."
1512 ROUTE MARKERS
Roadblock: A Roadblock is a task that only one person can perform. In this Roadblock, one team member had to perform a terrifying face-first rappel 600 feet down the side of the building. When they reached the bottom, they would receive their next clue.
Performed Roadblock: SAM, ERICKA, CHEYNE
Order of Finish
1. Meghan & Cheyne
2. Sam & Dan
3. Brian & Ericka