AND it’s down to the wire between two couples – Ernie Halvorsen and Cindy Chiang and Jeremy Cline and Sandy Draghi – in the 19th season of The Amazing Race on Sony Entertainment Television.

This season has seen 11 teams travel across four continents, visit 20 cities and cover a distance of 58 000km.

What has proved interesting, though, are the new elements that have been added to the game: “hazard” was a penalty a team incurred for being the last to finish the starting-line task. For the first time ever, two teams were eliminated at the Pit Stop.

Also, the show added new destinations to the race this season with Denmark, Malawi, Belgium and Indonesia put on the map.

Having overcome many hurdles and challenges in this physically demanding reality show, which included bungee jumping, dancing in the street, planting 300 rice seedlings, building a coral nursery out of pipes, cleaning up elephant dung as well as washing an elephant, transporting bales of tobacco, canoe racing, churning fresh cream, learning a series of bodybuilding poses and test- driving a Ford Mustang, two couples have emerged victorious to vie for the big prize.

Chicago-based Halvorsen, 29, and Chiang, 30, are a project manager and brand manager, respectively.

On entering the race, he says: “I wanted to share this once-in-a lifetime experience with my fiancée. If we do win, we’ll have a nice footing to start our social business venture that will be intertwined with the needs that we see around the world.”

As for what Chiang brings to the table, she says: “Through my corporate job, I have been faced with challenging adversity, taking calculated risks and making quick, informed decisions. My job is also highly competitive and you must have a strong desire to win with solid performance. All of these skills are vital to winning. And I’m confident I can bring it to win it.”

From one go-getter team to another, Cline, 35, and Draghi, 33, are dating. He is a commercial real estate broker and she is a nurse.

He entered hoping that, by them working together, they will strengthen their bond and relation- ship. He says: “We don’t have any experience working together under pressure. I hope to build a closer relationship with Sandy and learn more about who we are. I think through the challenge and stress, we will be able to figure out if we can work well together as a team.”

Ambitious, dedicated and passionate, Draghi is hoping for the same. Although she does have one concern about her teammate.

She shares, “My biggest pet peeve about Jeremy is his thoroughness. He is very meticulous in all that he does. I’m more of a ‘just get over it’ type of person. I guess I need more patience.”

So many personal learning curves for each of them, but they haven’t taken their eye off the main goal – winning season 19 of The Amazing Race.

In the final race to the Pit Stop, the remaining teams fly from Panama City to Atlanta, where they have a baseball-related clue waiting to be deciphered before making their way to Turner Field, home to Major League Baseball’s Atlanta Braves .

Don’t miss this weekend’s nerve-wracking episode during which the winning team will be announced.

• The Amazing Race airs on Sony Entertainment Television (DStv channel 127) on Sunday at 7.40pm.


Tonight and Sony Entertainment Television have a fabulous hamper for The Amazing Race to give away to one lucky winner. Valued at R4 000, the prize comprises: a Sony Camera Cybershot – DSC W300, 4GB memory card, digital frame, USB and Sony bag.

To enter, simply answer this easy question: Where is the last Pit Stop for the finale of The Amazing Race?

The competition closes at noon tomorrow. E-mail your answer, as well as your contact details to: [email protected]

Please note: The subject box should read: The Amazing Race competition. The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. The winner will be contacted during the course of the week.