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Gary Wojnar and Will Chiola‘s luck on The Amazing Race finally ran out in the fourth leg.
The team — which, as Gary noted, had just come off the “greatest comeback ever” in the previous leg of the race after being U-turned — were eliminated in Sunday night’s episode.
After flying to Dhaka, Bangladesh, the best friends and substitute teachers from Michigan got delayed after their taxi driver took them way out of the way — to a landfill. Gary, 52, and Will, 53, also were forced to backtrack when another taxi driver took them past the place where they were supposed to catch a riverboat to the pit stop where host Phil Keoghan was waiting for the teams.
During the challenge, Gary also struggled at the roadblock challenge requiring a team member to repair the side of a bus with putty and sandpaper. Also during the leg, the teams were forced to choose between pounding a metal stake into place or pounding clumps of cotton and sewing it into a mattress.
On Monday, the self-described “superfans” — who were seen constantly bickering on the show — talked with The Hollywood Reporter about their elimination, their friendship and whether they’d go back and do it all again.
The Hollywood Reporter: At what point did you know you were in last place?
Gary Wojnar: It was a race between us and Trey and Lexi at the end in the taxis. We did pass them up, but I didn’t see them pass us. We did believe we were in front of them.
Will Chiola: We weren’t sure. You never know if another team is ahead of you until you see the mat.
Gary: We were down, but we didn’t give up. I watch the show all the time, and I know that anything can happen. We just had hope that some other team made some mistakes.
THR: You definitely had some close finishes before your elimination, but it seemed like your luck just ran out.
Will: The first three episodes, someone was always behind us.
Gary: The taxicab driver took a shortcut through the backroads of Bangladesh, and it was actually very beautiful, but it took us way out of the way. He was really confident because of his experience.
Will: He did the best he could.
Gary: And I didn’t do [the repair] as quickly as I should have on the bus. But I thought we were going to pull it off again, even though we were last in the roadblock.
Will: You never know who is in front of or beyond you.
Gary: We said we would never, ever give up, and we never did.
Will: There were so many people [in Bangladesh] that we couldn’t see sometimes, but we kept going until we reached the pit stop.
Gary: Dhaka is a mass of humanity. The poverty is so intense there, and the people didn’t understand any other language, but they were smiling and laughing and giving us the thumbs-up. The people there were really friendly, and they tried to help us as much as possible. For instance, in the cab ride, the driver held up a cigarette to ask if he could smoke while he was driving. He thought enough of us to ask that; there are no-smoking laws in cabs there.
Will: They are not competing for $1 million; they’re just trying to make a living, and we appreciated them helping us out. It’s not their job to learn our language.
Gary: We wanted people to have a good opinion of how we treated them.
THR: How would you describe your experience on the show?
Gary: We had a hell of a lot of fun.
Will: It changed my life.
Gary: I would go back in a nanosecond.
THR: You seemed to bicker a lot on the show. Is that how your relationship normally is?
Gary: We’ve known each other for over 30 years, and that’s how we talk to each other. Sometimes people are taken aback, but that’s how we talk and how we understand each other.
Will: We’re immune to each other’s differences.
Gary: If you ever see an old married couple yelling at each other all the time, that’s us. We love each other, really.
Will: We were together 24/7 on The Race, but we actually got along better on The Race than in real life.
THR: How did you two meet?
Gary: In college.
THR: Were there any arguments after your elimination?
Gary: We discussed it completely: “Well, we should have done this or that.” We just remembered all the great things that happened, the highlights they don’t show on TV. We would never travel to Dhaku in the first place; there’s not much of a tourism industry there.
THR: Did you know that Rob and Kelley were the ones responsible for U-turning you before you saw it on TV?
Will: We were pretty sure it was Rob and Kelley, but we don’t blame them. We did the same them to them [but the team was already ahead, so the U-turn was rendered moot]. You have to look out for yourself.
Gary: We would have done the same thing.
Will: We did the same thing. It’s part of the game. It’s what you gotta do.
Gary: This opportunity to be an Amazing Race champion, it’s something that only 22 teams get to do a year. It’s the Olympics of reality TV.
THR: How hard was it to be the fourth team eliminated?
Will: It’s hard to grasp the fact that we’re no longer on the show. It’s still shocking to me.
Gary: I felt like I was punched in the stomach and all the air went out. I’m not complaining or whining. It was a race for myself and also a race for those who will never have the chance. It was a great experience.
THR: So you would do it again without hesitation?
Gary: Maybe you can start a campaign for us.
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