October 08, 2012 12:12pm PT by Kimberly Nordyke
'The Amazing Race': Amy and Daniel on Their 'Heartbreaking' Elimination, Lost Taxi Drivers
Just blame it all on the taxi driver.
Amy Purdy and Daniel Gale were the second team to be eliminated in season 21 of The Amazing Race -- but it wasn't entirely their fault.The Summit County, Colo.-based duo -- who were described as "dating on and off" on the CBS reality show -- came in 10th place on Sunday night's episode, which called for the teams to travel to Indonesia. There, their challenges included making balloon animals for groups of kids and choosing between transporting large block of ice to a market or stacking fish for sale.
Amy, 32, and Daniel, 36 -- a motivational speaker/snowboarder/double amputee and an executive director, respectively -- came in second in leg one of the race and were among the teams at the front of the pack in leg two until their taxi driver couldn't find Wijaya Motors, one of the locations where they were supposed to get their next clue, putting them way behind the rest of the competitors.
The day after their elimination episode aired, Amy and Daniel talked to The Hollywood Reporter about their "heartbreaking" elimination, taxi drivers who don't know where they are going and their current relationship status.
The Hollywood Reporter: What was going through your mind when you reached the mat where host Phil Keoghan was waiting for the teams? Did you know you were in last place?
Amy: We still had hopes at that point that it was not an elimination leg, and when he said we were eliminated, it was heartbreaking because we were just feeling so good and so strong and we had so much more in us. It was hard not to be disappointed.
Daniel: It was definitely heartbreaking.
THR: Do you blame your loss on the taxi drivers?
Amy: I really want to say that the taxi drivers were so nice and felt so bad about the situations. They knew we were in a hunt for something really important, and when they couldn't get us there in the end they felt so bad.
Daniel: Over there, you don't have smartphones at your fingertips; there's not an Internet cafe at every corner. Taxi drivers don't even have radios in their cars to call dispatched and get directions. We asked someone for information, but [that doesn't exist]. In that situations, we did the best that we could.
THR: Did you think about changing taxis earlier?
Amy: We ended up changing cabs about three times, and we thought we were almost there right off the bat. Every cab driver said, "Yes, I know where I'm going," so you can only wait for so long before you gotta jump in [another] cab. And there were so many motorcycles and so many motor shops and auto stores everywhere, at first we thought we were in the right location, and then we would go another location and thought that was it, and then we went back to the start, and every time we switched we'd think this cab driver knew more than the last. But Wijaya is a very common name in Asia.
Daniel: I think it's also a neighborhood.
Amy: [It seemed like] every business had Wijaya in its name.
THR: In last week's episode, you were seen helping a fellow team, Abbie and Ryan, by telling them where to find the final clue. That led to your coming in second during that leg, behind them. Looking back, would you have done the same thing?
Daniel: I definitely feel no regrets for making that decision, although it did knock us in the head and show us that we needed to be more competitive as the race went on. You could tell from the second episode that our heads were in it in a different way. For us, it was game on. But [in the first leg], it was the end of a very long trip, and at the end of that leg, and so we were a bit worn down. At the same time, when Abbie and Ryan came up and asked us where [the clue] was, our true personalities were revealed and we were being giving and supportive and that's something we do in our everyday lives and in our nonprofit organization [Adaptive Action Sports]. It broke us down to the true essence of who we are.
Amy: We certainly went in with a strategy and we were there to win, but when you're in the moment, sometimes strategy goes out the window and we were going off instinct. At that moment, our instinct was to help people. We did it without even a thought. We also knew we were ahead, but we didn't know we were in first, and we didn't know how long the leg was.
THR: You were doing really well until the taxi incident. Do you think the other teams saw you as a threat?
Amy: They told us that at times. But you see me being a double leg amputee, you can't help but size each other up, who is athletic, who is witty, who is smart. I'm sure right off the bat people saw my two prosthetics and thought, "I can outrun her." But what ended up happing a lot of the time is that we were at the head of the pack. Daniel and I were so efficient at challenges and making decisions and getting from point A to point B. A handful of the other teams told us, "You're too fast to keep up with." That was pretty cool. Even though we got eliminated so early on, I took away a lot more confidence; we were thrown into a situation against people who have legs and are really athletic and held our own.
THR: On screen, it identified you as "dating on and off." Are you dating now?
Daniel: We are dating and have been for as long as we met. Amy's a professional speaker, so one of her jobs is to travel and speak, and there was a short time where we ended up having to live in separate locations mostly because of work and at that point we were separated by distance. But now we're on and a happy couple.
THR: How long have you been together?
Amy: We met in 2002 so we've been together 10 or 11 years, and we have such an exciting, adventurous life. A lot of times people ask why we aren't married yet, but we've allowed each other to grow and find out who we are. When it's time to settle, we will decide to do that.
THR: Who are you rooting for to win The Amazing Race?
Amy: Honestly, we love all the teams. We ended up becoming friends with everybody, and we appreciated who each team is and what they brought to the race.