Tammy and Victor conquered all comers on their way to a victory on The Amazing Race.  The siblings, both lawyers, weren’t the strongest, they weren’t the fastest, but they proved that they were the best.  Front-runners throughout the race, Victor sealed the deal in last night’s final Road Block, showing off his intelligence on the way to the finish line.  Earlier today we had the privilege of speaking with Tammy and Victor about their time on the race, how they ended up winning and how big an advantage their knowledge of Mandarin was during the two legs in China.

Below you will find the full mp3 audio of the interview, as well as a written transcript.

Hey, this is Oscar Dahl from BuddyTV, and I’m here with Tammy and Victor, the winners of The Amazing Race 14.  Tammy, Victor, how are you two doing this morning?

Tammy: We’re doing fantastic

Victor: I think we should give ourselves a little cheer.

T: Yay!! (laughs)

Was it tough for the last few months not being able to tell anybody that you won?

V: It was tough at the beginning, but then it sort of became this sadistic fun game, tormenting our family and friends, knowing we won the race.  

T: For me the hardest part was before leaving and not telling people that we were on the race.  We had to lie about where we were going and Victor and I did not cross-check our stories and told different stories to people.  I said that I went to Australia.  

Last night, how long did that surfboard challenge actually take and how far ahead of Jaime and Cara did you finish?

V: It’s hard to have a really good accurate sense of time.  I think when we got to the surfboard challenge, they were there for about a half hour, I think it took me about half an hour to complete the task and then we crossed the mat, we made it to the mat about 30-45 minutes before Jaime and Cara did.

T: It’s just hard to have an accurate sense of time, because adrenaline is pumping.  I’m not looking at my watch, I’m looking at the task and of course once we crossed the finish line, you’re definitely not looking at the watch.  

In the clips from last night, it seemed like you were pretty confident that you had it.

V: Well, you have to take it in context.  On the cab ride to the road block, we were prepared to lose, but actually feeling pretty good about it.  If Luke and Margie or Jaime and Cara won, we felt pretty good about that.  And then there was a glimmer of hope, and when we saw there was hope and we left the road block first it started to sink in, “You know, I think we just won.”  It was pretty amazing.

At the beginning of the season, it seemed like you guys had a little trouble getting along at points…

V: Just a little?  (laughs)

…and staying on the same page.  Was that a product of editing, that you two got better as the season went along, or is that actually how it went down?  

T: I think Victor and I got better at competing with each other as a team as the race went along.  Does that mean we stopped fighting?  Hell no.  Every night we would bicker at each other.  We’re brother and sister, that’s what we’re designed to do.  But as the race progressed we learned that if we want to win, we need to really respect each other.  I need to respect Victor for what he’s good at and put up with things that I might find annoying and he had to do the same for me and we both learned to push and pull a little bit.  We don’t need to fight about every little thing. I don’t need to be right about everything and I think Victor learned that he didn’t need to be right about everything. As the race progressed we became better teammates.

V: Especially on the Romania leg, for me, it was important to realize that the responsibilities for doing well on the race did not rest solely on my shoulders and I know that it was painful for Tammy to see me feel that weight on myself.  I’m nine years older than Tammy so I’ve always been used to feeling that responsibility, so it really brought home the fact that I have to trust my sister whether I like it or not.  It’s a team that wins The Amazing Race.  The other thing that helped us was that we were not on the same page at the beginning of the race. Tammy was enjoying the race.  Her focus was on not coming in last.

T: Yeah, I was always so excited every time we got in and we weren’t the last team to arrive and Victor was like “We want to push to be first.”  I wanted to win each leg, Tammy didn’t want to lose any of the legs, and it became a source of tension, because I was like “If you could’ve run a little bit faster we could have been in first.” And I think Romania forced us to come to common ground on that and I’m thankful we were able to sort that out early.

Some people have said that maybe spending two legs in China was an unfair advantage in your favor.  Do you guys have any thoughts on that?  

V: I definitely am fully happy that we had two legs there, in terms of language in China.  I think the great thing about the race, the great way they design the race – different people have different strengths and different weaknesses.  I thought the beautiful thing about the China leg is you got to see Margie and Luke at their best with their swimming.  None of us could touch them.  I certainly think you could say it was unfair to Jen and Kisha, but you could see Jen and Kisha and their speed and athleticism in Gualin and we’d never be able to touch them on that.  Even Jaime and Cara doing choreography, there is no way that any of us could compete against two trained dancers in that task, and I felt we just had a little nerdy language advantage on one of the tasks as well. I thought it was great that we were horrible on certain parts of it and were good on certain parts of it, and we were just going to claim the advantage where we could get it.  

T: I think that the race just has so many different abilities, we were really lucky that we ended up spending so much time in China because we were coming down to the wire, only a couple of teams left, and for Victor and I to be able to communicate with the locals, chat while we’re in a long light, it helped us calm down a little bit.  If anything, I think that’s what gave us an advantage. 

At what point during the race did you guys look around and think “You know what, we can probably win this thing?”

T: I never thought it until we left the last Road Block.  I hoped against all hope that it would happen, but it’s just so hard to comprehend that we could be so lucky or that we could be victorious against ten other teams that are just so incredibly talented, capable and competitive.

V: I always thought we had a shot to be one of the contenders to win it.  I didn’t think …when we showed up day one and saw all the other teams, we were like “These people are huge.”  And they’re all tall, and they’re all athletic. It was nothing like season 13, why couldn’t we have been on season 13?  I always felt we could do it, I was no way thinking that we had it in the bag.

Was there anything edited out over the course of the season that you wish they had shown?

T: There were a couple things that were edited out, because I felt a big part of the race for me was all the downtime we just spent with the racers and all the funny sleeping experiences we had.  We’re traveling and we spend a lot of time sleeping on airport floors and one time in China we slept on the top of a mountaintop, that was incredible.  It was a funny experience and I felt that everyone really bonded during that and things like that I wish they had aired.

V: I actually wish they had aired a little bit more of the near disasters or the near fiascos that ended up working out.  There were so many strangers who helped us out that unfortunately people will never see. Even in that final leg, the travel agent accidentally gave us first class tickets.

T: We almost went the way of Azaria and Hendekea in the final leg.

V: We almost freaked out and in Tokyo, these great people from Hawaii in fact, basically said “You know what?  Let us give you our credit card and make long distance calls as long as you want to sort this out.”

T: And they gave us money to eat and the kindness of strangers we experienced during this race was incredible.

V: Even in the Beijing airport we ran into this random person who let us use their cell phone to make international calls and we found this person sleeping on the floor who basically pulled out his wallet and gave us the little bit of money that he had.  We were able to survive all of those things, but to me it’s amazing how strangers were willing to help other strangers.

-Interview Conducted by Oscar Dahl

Oscar Dahl

Senior Writer, BuddyTV