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Dave and Connor O’Leary‘s time on The Amazing Race didn’t end the way they thought it would.
The father-son team — both cancer survivors — chose to withdraw from the competition in Sunday night’s episode after the elder O’Leary tore his Achilles tendon in a previous leg of the race. Despite his injury, the duo still managed to finish the legs at the front of the pack, but under the advice of a doctor, the O’Learys decided it was best that Dave get home to have surgery before irreparable damage was done.
On Monday, they talked with The Hollywood Reporter about their “heartbreaking” end and whether Dave has fully healed.
The Hollywood Reporter: What happened after you left show?
Dave O’Leary: I came home and had surgery on my Achilles and started rehab. It’s been a process. It was an ugly surgery.
THR: How are you doing today?
Dave: It’s doing pretty well. It’s a long recovery process. I didn’t realize how long. They say it will be a year until I’m fully recovered. I’ve been able to get on a bike, but it’ll be a couple months until I’m able to run again. I’m staying active.
THR: How hard was it to be forced to withdraw from competition?
Dave: It was really heartbreaking. I’m an emotional guy anyway, so it was hard to leave.
THR: Connor, you seemed to take it pretty well and were very supportive of your father throughout the competition.
Connor O’Leary: Yeah, we have a pretty close bond.
THR: You said in the episode that a doctor suggested you leave. Can you explain what happened?
Dave: We were leaving Bali, and I got an email from an orthopedic surgeon who took tests in Tahiti. He said ideally I should have surgery within seven days and no longer than 14 days. Connor and I decided at that point; it was past seven days already and we wanted to be within 14. Frankly, we weren’t sure how long the next leg would be. I really decided that being healthy was more important than that leg of the race. So we flew back home.
THR: Despite your injury, you were still front-runners, which was pretty impressive. Could you have kept going?
Connor: We were in the top three in every leg we did, and even on the crutches, we were still pretty proficient in getting things done. It was a bummer to pull out, but we had to get his leg taken care of.
THR: Would you compete again if asked?
Connor: Oh, in a heartbeat.
Dave: I wish we could be on the next season.
The Amazing Race airs at 8 p.m. Sundays on CBS.
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