Can a Challenge champ possibly beat out a professional athlete in a test of brains, brawn and will? We’ve finally got our answer.
On tonight’s Champs vs. Pros finale, the remaining 10 competitors were immediately whittled down to three teams of two, as CT, Lolo, Gus and Louise were sadly eliminated in one last qualifying game called “No Guts No Glory,” a test of strategy (but really just a test of eating gross stuff). That left Wes/Camila and Cara Maria/Darrell competing for the Champs in the finale against Lindsey/Kam, the Pros’ lone representatives (“That was not how that was supposed to go down,” Louise said after the Champs secured a huge advantage).
While Darrell said he had certain fears about going into the final against two proven professional athletes (Lindsey’s intense competitor’s stare was enough to knock him off balance, he admitted), he still had faith that he could pull out the victory.
“Ain’t nobody gonna beat me in no race,” Darrell said.
And, as Wes pointed out, Lindsey’s partner had a bit of a disadvantage if long-distance running ultimately became a deciding factor in the big race.
“No one the size of Kam has ever completed a final, let alone won one,” Wes said.
At the final race’s get-go, host Victor Cruz pointed out that each competitor would have to have to run the first leg of the race while sporting a heavy vest. Almost immediately, Kam’s handicap was realized, and he couldn’t keep up with his fellow competitors. Consequently, he fell back with Lindsey to third place.
Way out in front, Wes and Camila took an early lead, and after completing a series of staircase climbs with no trouble, they scaled a huge incline as if it were a standard part of their leisurely, nightly stroll. And while Cara Maria and Darrell couldn’t seem to budge out of second place, they stayed focused — at one point, Darrell hurled CM over his shoulders and carried her to a subsequent checkpoint.
For Darrell, who was competing on behalf of the March of Dimes, winning was the only option, especially with the memory of his son’s premature birth on his mind. He noted that his child had survived complications and grown into a healthy kid but that the first few hours in the hospital were horrifying.
And that resolve is precisely what fueled his and Cara Maria’s eventual passing of their fellow Champs team: After performing an army-crawl under a lowered canopy, Darrell tossed another weighted handicap over his shoulder and bounded toward the next checkpoint like the Road Runner.
Still, while the Pros seemed to be miles behind, the game’s final legs seemed to light a fire inside Lindsay and Kam, and once they completed the crawl, Lindsey followed Darrell’s lead, tossed one of the checkpoint’s hulking bags over her shoulders and sprinted onward so that an exhausted Kam could rest.
is-as-fast-as-you-can spaghetti supper.
“Damn, Lindsey,” was all Camila could say as she watched the seemingly docile snowboarder unleash her inner Hercules.
Finally, after climbing up a sky-scraping slide, barreling down into a mud pit and collecting a bag full of puzzle pieces, Lindsey and Kam overtook Wes and Camila, and turned the race into a buzzer-beater. In an instant, Kam went from slow and steady turtle to lightning-quick hare and barreled past Wes and Camila.
For all their efforts, though, neither Kam/Lindsey nor Wes/Camila could bridge the gap that separated their respective teams and first place, and after successfully memorizing Victor’s choice football play — “Trips Right Open A Left Pennsylvania Y Sluggo Wheel” — and reciting it back to the NFL star at the finish line, Darrell and Cara Maria were named the game’s ultimate winners and earned $100,000 for their respective charities (Cara Maria was playing on behalf of the ASPCA).
Both said the victory was especially significant, as the last time they were partners — way back on 2010’s Fresh Meat 2 — they were the first to be eliminated in Exile.
“It was a struggle at first, but my girl came through in the puzzles,” Darrell said.
And the Pros, who finished shortly thereafter, said they were proud of their performances in such a foreign type of contest — The Challenge, they noted, was a whole different ballgame.
“I feel great,” Lindsey said. “I’m really happy that we made it through, and it was a blast.”
“Lindsey was a great motivator and a great leader, and I’m happy that she’s taking $5,000 home for her charity,” Kam added, citing Lindsey’s previous win as team captain.
And though Wes and Camila took home the bronze, they were good sports and said they were surprised by their pleasant team dynamic.
“It was a great experience, and we did this for a great cause,” Camila said. “I’m really proud of us.”
So is Darrell MVP for pushing his team to stay out front, or could it be Cara for coming through as the Puzzle Master? Is Lindsey worthy of top honors for her moment of greatness with the weighted bag, or would she concede to Kam for his come-from-behind sprint? Or maybe Wes and Camila deserve special distinctions for their steady treks through the finale course.
What do you think: Who was the big-time Champs vs. Pros‘ MVP? Share your thoughts, and hang tight for more info on The Challenge XXX, premiering on July 18!