It wasn’t a great night for twin sisters Rita and Yvette Yakibonge on The Amazing Race Canada. Even though they whipped through a Christmas-themed Speed Bump after coming in last during last week’s non-elimination leg, they were tripped up by a U-Turn thanks to racers Jillian and Emmett, who saw them as a threat.
Determined to do the race on their terms until the bitter end, the sisters used all the body strength they could muster, to power through an unusually high number of physical challenges, coming in just behind Ashley and Joel.
Unfortunately, this time they were eliminated, but they still left with proud smiles. We caught up with the sisters to chat about that heartbreaking U-Turn, playing their game and the inspiration they take from their mom.
In your own words, what went wrong?
Rita: From the very beginning when we did the Coast Guard challenge, we took a hit when we didn’t retrieve the right body out of the water. That set us back quite a bit. If we had done it right the first time I think we probably would have finished ahead.
Yvette: It was a combination of everything. It was being delayed at the very beginning, having to do a Speed Bump, the U-Turn. All of it, everything.
How frustrating was it to be U-turned?
Rita: It was extremely frustrating. You’re exhausted, thinking that you’re making headway and moving along, and then you see your face on that board. It was extremely hard to take it, for sure. But we did the best with it and did what we could.
Have you seen Jillian and Emmett since?
Yvette: No we haven’t. [Laughs.]
Is that on purpose? Are you cool with the situation? What can you say?
Yvette: It is what it is. It’s a game and it happens. To be honest we didn’t really understand the reasoning behind it, but hey.
Rita: There are no hard feelings. We were honest with how we played our game, and we tried to do it while being who we are. If other people choose to play the way they do it’s totally up to them. There are no hard feelings whatsoever.
What about your muscles, how sore were you after everything?
Yvette: I could not move. I’d never been that sore in my whole life. Ever. I took a muscle relaxant at one point — it was terrible.
You guys kept mentioning your mom; what’s so inspiring about her?
Rita: Honestly our mom is super mom. She’s super woman, she did everything for us growing up. She honestly is such a good role model. She worked really hard. Everything we have we owe to her. She’s been there for us through it all.
Yvette: It wasn’t easy for her obviously, raising six girls by herself. On top of that going back to school, working… just everything.
Rita: I still, to this day, don’t know how she did it. Hats OFF, for sure.
Did she give you any advice before doing this?
Yvette: Just to be super patient with each other, believe that we can do. That’s what it was.
Rita: Have fun, too. She reminded us this was such a great opportunity and experience.
Other than the physical stuff what was the hardest part of doing this?
Rita: Mentally you have to be really strong too, it’s not just about the physical. But because it’s so … it’s a long process and there’s a lot that you have to do. The mental aspect of it, you have to be really strong at that as well.
Yvette: A lot of the time you’re running on very little sleep. You’re exhausted. Even food-wise you don’t really have a lot of time. It’s just a lot.
What’s Jon Montgomery like when the cameras are off?
Yvette: Jon is awesome, he’s hilarious. He’s so funny.
Rita: What you see on TV is exactly who he is. He’s really funny.
Any advice for the other teams going forward?
Yvette: Just give it your all, that’s all you can do. Take everything one step at a time, one challenge at a time. It’s always the way to go.
Anything to add or any projects you’re working on?
Rita: We are working on quite a few things now, we’re starting our own jewelry line next year hopefully. So that’s in the works! It’s very exciting.