Nicolas and Donald were probably the most surprisingly effective team on this season of The Amazing Race. For multi-generational teams to succeed is rare, and not much was expected of 20-something Nicolas and his almost 70 year old grandpa Donald. However, Nic was up to the task of picking up whatever slack was necessary and Don more than held his own on a race that gives people 40 years his junior trouble. The duo was in the running for the million for much of the Race’s final leg, but a difficult and frustrating final road block ended up being their final nail in the coffin, and Nic and Don finished in a very respectable third place. We got the chance to speak with Nicolas and Donald earlier this week and discuss their time on the Race.
Below you will find both the written transcript and full mp3 audio of the interview.
Hey, this is Oscar Dahl from BuddyTV, and I’m here with Nicolas and Donald from The Amazing Race. Nick, Don, how are you guys doing?
Don: We’re good.
Nick: Great. Fantastic.
Let’s go back to the beginning here for a second. Were you guys both big fans of The Amazing Race? Whose decision was it to try out and how did you end up on the show?
Don: Go ahead, Nick.
Nick: I flipped to the show once when it was just getting started and that was pretty much all I had seen of it. Meanwhile my grandfather was watching a little bit more. In the back of my mind I had wanted to do it, but I wasn’t old enough at the time. I was 17, wow, seven years ago. I just had it in the back of my mind when I turned 21, I asked him, we went online and we saw the application was due in a week. We applied real quickly, and at the time I hadn’t seen more than five minutes of the show. Once we got picked I watched the entire season, but my grandfather had watched quite a bit more of the show than I had. He had favorite characters, I know he liked Mirna, and he knew the contest at the beginning a little bit better than I did.
Don: I’m a big fan of the reality shows, especially Survivor, so I knew all about the show. When Nick asked me to be a partner with him I said “Sure.” Of course you have to apply, and that’s a big deal, and I’m sure there’s thousands of people that apply.
Nick: He kind of blew me off like it was a big pipe dream and he said “Sure, whatever you say Nicky.”
Don: I didn’t think we would have a chance in hell.
Once you got on the show, how did it differ from your expectations going in? Physically, did you have any worries about how you would hold up, Don?
Don: Well, no I didn’t. I felt that I was in good condition and I knew that I would be able to hold up. The pressure of getting eliminated was a thing that, you know, you don’t want to get eliminated, and you certainly don’t want to get eliminated first. Once you get past the first, then you say well, I don’t want to get eliminated second. Once you get past that, and as you go along you start to build your confidence pretty well. But physically I didn’t feel I’d have a problem.
Nick: I knew Don was 69, but I never thought of him as being that old. He just seemed like who he was. I didn’t think that he would have a big physical limitation. I knew that he wouldn’t be as fast as some of the younger players, but I didn’t think that he would have a limitation that would restrict us and eliminate us based on his physical. Watching the show, the one season I watched I kind of got a glimpse of hey, they started it at 1:00pm and they ended at 1am. That’s not too much rest, and they just went four legs, but it doesn’t really sink in until you actually live it and you go three days without sleeping. That was much harder than I expected it to be.
Let’s talk about your tattoo for a second here. I love The Amazing Race, but one of my least favorite things is quick bunch ups at the beginning of a leg. Was it frustrating to go through the fast forward to get that tattoo and then have a really quick bunch up that put everyone on equal ground right away at the beginning of the next leg?
Nick: Well I think we had been on the receiving end of some of those bunch ups, on the good end. That was leg seven going into leg eight. You’ve got a feel for the race as you’ve progressed leg by leg, and by then we had a pretty good feel how things worked. We knew there’d be a bunch up, and that’s just the way it works. We’ve gotten on the good end of that, for example in Amsterdam we were in the back of the pack and then we all bunched up, and getting off that train and bingo, we were all together again, us and Lorena and Jason. That’s just how it works, and people ask “Oh, were you frustrated that TK and Rachel didn’t get eliminated?” Those are the rules of the game and you came to expect it.
Don: I felt a little put out by that. TK and Rachel are great people, but they came in last and they were able to survive, and the pinkies came in last and they got a reprieve, and we had to beat them a second time. So on those ends you say gee, we did better than those people, but it ended up it didn’t show. I felt bad about that, and I kind of wished that they actually would have been eliminated. Not because I dislike them, but I would have liked to have gone further if possible.
Was there anything throughout the race, watching from home, that CBS had edited out that you wish they would have shown of you guys?
Don: I don’t know if we can say anything, can we?
Nick: Watching at home, I was really worried before the show. Before going on the show and kind of during, like what are they going to make me out to be? I think anyone would have that fear. I felt like everyone, with maybe one or two exceptions, came off exactly how they were. My friends and family said this is the type of person you are, and Don as well. I’m happy with how that worked. A lot of things were changed around with how the race worked. Lithuania, there was a lot of editing there, things were taken away. We went from last to first place. We were in last place for about a half an hour coming out of the airport, and we were first place by over a half an hour when we got to that church. None of that was shown, but we had to drive to a small town, find a clue, drive back into the city, and that was a great moment for our team and that wasn’t shown. But overall, I felt like given the fact that they had 42 minutes to show four days of coverage, because the leg is four days, and eight teams, I think they did a good job.
One thing I didn’t think we really got a feel for as viewers was how your relationship progressed. Did it evolve a bunch? Did it change?
Don: I think it changed and we got closer together as we went. In the beginning, like Nick said, everything in the beginning, you’ve seen the show before, but when you’re on the show everything is magnified by ten. We did banter quite a bit in the beginning, we were kind of jockeying for position there. Each guy had what he wanted to do, and we realized as we went along that we had to work closer together if we were gonna make it to the final three.
Nick: I don’t think as far as today that our relationship is that much different because we were on the race. I felt like our relationship as far as the race progressed really very well from leg one. Just like Don was saying, we kind of not really sure what the rules were and how we were going to go about doing this. By about Africa or Lithuania we both had our roles down very well, and we followed each other really well and knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses. That was our biggest strength, I think. There was no fighting as far as who was gonna do what and who was gonna lead.
Alright. Nick, Don, I appreciate you guys stopping by, and we wish you luck in the future.
Don: Thanks very much.
-Interview Conducted by Oscar Dahl
(Image Courtesy of FOX)