It was a historic Hollywood ending on the finale of the Amazing Race 17 as the final three teams raced back to Los Angeles and doctors Nat and Kat took home the million dollar prize!
“It’s a hard race for any team to win- all female or not,” Nat tells Hollywoodlife.com.
The final leg of the race was a close one. Jill and Thomas lead the pack from South Korea back to the states, determined to not let one of the all female teams win. “We’re gonna keep that streak of no all-female teams winning. I could care less about history,” he said. Ouch! QVC hosts Brook and Claire, who started this leg in last place were also hungry for the prize but instead of getting frustrated, they showed their enthusiasm by busting out their best “Brook and Claire flair” yet- leopard shorts!
“Knew we were going to run around the world so we thought why not do it in crazy style,” says Brook.
Teams made their way to the Port of Long Beach where they took an elevator to the top of one of the dock’s cranes and then had to plummet 150 feet down to the water on a bungee swing! This challenge was especially hard for Nat who we learned in a previous episode has a crippling fear of heights. But she took the fall like a pro and her determination helped secure them a good lead.
“There was no way I was letting Kat down,” she says. “That’s just our type A personalities. It was like her and the sheep’s head challenge (Kat, a vegetarian for over 20 years was forced to eat the meat of a sheep’s head on the Norway leg of the race). Nobody wimped out! We go through it together!”
From one adventure to the next, the teams were then picked up via helicopter and flown to Pasadena, the site of the Rose Bowl. Jill and Thomas thought this was there chance to pull ahead.
“When we saw the Rose Bowl we assumed the challenge was going to be physical and have something to do with sports,” says Jill. “I knew Thomas was going to do awesome.”
Unfortunately this wasn’t exactly the football challenge the couple had in mind. After volunteering to do the challenge, Thomas quickly learned his task was to decorate a float with flowers…..not tackle anyone on the field! Brook of course was a natural at this challenge and jumped for joy at the sight of the Rose Bowl Queen and her crown!
Once all the flowers were in place, teams had to solve a riddle to find their next spot which turned out to be the pivotal moment in this leg. Nat and Kat jumped into a cab with an extremely helpful driver who let them use his cell phone. Brook and Claire stopped into a hotel to use the internet to figure out where they were going but Jill and Thomas couldn’t catch a break!
Their cab driver barely spoke English and was absolutely no help to the couple “We are in the United States and have the biggest language of the whole race,” exclaimed Thomas! Oh the irony! They tried to ask the cabbie for a computer, but the driver kept pointing to his GPS system confused. When they did finally convince him to let them use his phone, it died while they were stuck in traffic on the highway.
“We knew going in there was going to be lots of things we can’t control,” says Thomas. “In this leg of the race, every challenge was started and finished in almost the same amount making it nearly impossible for teams to get ahead of each other. It made the transportation between the challenges the real race and unfortunately that day just wasn’t out day.”
With their riddle solved, the girls head to Quixote Studios and meet TV Legend Bob Eubanks who instructs them to play a memory based game show about the greeters from each pit stop.
“This challenge was actually really easy for us because we had wrote down everything we experienced and we always noticed the greeters’ clothes!” said Claire. “So liking fashion really helped us!”
With all the tasks of the complete it was a race to the finish line and Nat and Kat had a commanding lead! Greeted by all the eliminated teams from the season, the doctors checked into their finale pit stop and made Amazing Race history as the first female team to ever come in first! Seriously, how is it that in 17 seasons there hasn’t been winning female team?
“It’s because Kat and I were busy training,” boats Nat!
A huge part of their success had to come from their medical background. They were always so cool under pressure and always had their eye on the prize.
“As physicians we are trained to work under stressful situations and you have to remain clam and focused, so we may not have come across as animated as other teams but we wanted it just as bad,” says Kat.
The win was especially important to Nat, who lives with type 1 diabetes.
“This race is one of the hardest things a person with type 1 diabetes could do and we won,” says Nat! “It shows you can be as active as you want to and takes away the excuses and limitations.”
Brook and Claire were equally as proud to call themselves the runners-up and thrilled that the two all female teams went one and two!
“”Brook and I really wanted to see the girls in the top two sports, so we really aligned ourselves with Nat and Kat and looked out for each other,” said Claire.”The producer kept having to remind us we were in competition because we all got along so well and were so supportive or one another.”
Jill and Thomas were of course disappointed they fell back to third, but throughout the season they were arguably one of the strongest teams, winning four legs and making it to the finals.
“Its an experience the two of us will never forget and I’m really proud of how we did overall,” said Thomas.
Since the season wrapped Brook and Claire aspire to host their own travel show, Jill and Thomas say they are stronger than ever and Nat and Kat say plan to use their million dollar prize to donate to charity and of course pay off those medical school student loans! And if you’re sad the season has come to an end, you won’t have to wait too long. The Amazing Race 18: Unfinished Business premieres February 20 and will feature past teams from four different seasons including daddy daughter duo Gary and Mallory from this season! Can’t wait!