It’s been a disappointing couple of weeks for female fans of The Amazing Race Canada. First, our favourite female correctional officers, Shar and Susan, were eliminated in Chile. Then in the latest episode, Newfoundland and Labrador police officer team Dana Hayward and Amanda Johnston were also eliminated in Argentina, when they arrived at the pit stop mere seconds after fellow officers Brian and Cynthia.
And it was all thanks to a blindfolded soccer challenge, which put them way behind the rest of the pack, a twist from which they never recovered. They shouldn’t feel too badly, though — former soccer pro Nic couldn’t score based on the directions from his partner Sabrina, and they were nearly eliminated after opting to take the two-hour time penalty.
Meanwhile, father-daughter duo Neil and Kristin ruled the night when they managed to tango their way to a first-place finish, landing them gas for six months and a trip to Beijing. To get the skinny on soccer, Argentina and jet-setting around the world, we caught up with Dana and Amanda to find out what went wrong.
How is Jon’s poker face? Did you know it was coming?
Dana: I don’t know, he’s got a pretty good poker face. When we saw him we were just praying that it was a non-elimination round. Just looking into his eyes, hoping and hoping that we would get to see another round.
Have you played soccer since the race?
Dana: No, we haven’t. I play soccer — I played for the last four years! But in that situation it really doesn’t apply. I don’t play soccer blindfolded. It was all communication skills. And even still, our communication skills are good, and with our career we do have to have them. But at that point in time, we were just so physically and mentally exhausted. It definitely was a factor.
After the elimination, what was the first thing you guys did?
Amanda: We had some downtime, we got to relax and just enjoy not running around all stressed out and screaming “Taxi!” We definitely took full advantage of the spa and got massages. It was needed.
What’s the reaction been like back home so far?
Dana: It’s been so overwhelming. Newfoundland is famous for coming together and supporting their own. But it’s been unreal, the support we’re getting from our province and from the police force as well. It’s been nothing but positive and we thank everyone for that.
What was your proudest moment from the Race?
Amanda: When we got to the top of that mountain. We worked really hard that leg. We started out in the last place because we got lost in the taxi, but we managed to work our way up to fourth place. So unfortunately the cab dropped us off at the bottom, saying that was our location when in fact the location was at the top. So we ran. I don’t regret running that mountain, and I’m glad he dropped us off at the bottom. It just showed us that we could do anything. We felt invincible when we got to the top. It was disheartening when the taxis passed us, but knowing that we were still in the race, we just felt so accomplished and proud of each other. We pulled through and kept going.
What about your not-so-proudest moment?
Amanda: Probably the soccer challenge! But being blindfolded, you feel so helpless. I know Dana was up there trying to direct me and I’m trying to listen, I don’t want to lose the ball. So I just felt bad because I almost felt like I was letting her down.
Dana: Definitely at the restaurant and the last challenge there. At that point we were both really physically and mentally exhausted, and I feel like if they would have told us the word in English I wouldn’t have been able to retain it. We were running on very little sleep. We had no food in our bodies, no water and we were so exhausted.
What did you learn about each other?
Amanda: Dana’s a tough girl, and she’s one of those girls that won’t quit or give up on anything even when times get rough. Doing the Race with her just made me realize that more and more. She’s a hard worker and she’s going to keep going and she’s not going to quit no matter what.
Dana: We have learned a lot about each other. We were close before the race but our friendship has grown a lot more since then. We have so much to be proud of, being the first Newfoundland & Labradorians is definitely an honour. It was very sad, obviously, to see the episode Wednesday night and there are a lot of people who are really hurt by it, but at the end of the day it’s an honour to be able to have this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Anything you’d do differently?
Amanda: We would have eaten along the way! That’s one thing we’re telling other teams for future seasons, make sure you eat and drink water. Your body needs food. We just could not run, our brains were not working.
Dana: Food is energy! You need it for those challenges.
Who do you want to win?
Amanda: We’re cheering for Brent and Sean. We got along with everyone, but we just feel like it’s in the cards.
You’re still in the race for Fuel Your Team fan prize race, so why should people vote for you?
Amanda: Dana is going to move back to the island later this year, and I’m in Labrador City, complete opposite end of the province. And as you know, Newfoundland/Labrador is a big province. If we won the Fuel Your Team, we would have free gas and be able to drive back and forth and visit each other.