The Amazing Race

The Amazing Race is a reality game show normally broadcast in one-hour episodes in which teams of two or four race around the world in competition with other teams. The CBS program has been on-air since 2001 and is currently in between seasons. It is produced by Jerry Bruckheimer for CBS and Touchstone Television (technically making it partially a Disney show) and hosted by New Zealander Phil Keoghan. It was created by Bertram van Munster.

The race utilizes progressive elimination similar to Survivor; the last team to arrive at a designated checkpoint leaves the game. The race resembles a treasure hunt in amateur rally racing. The race starts in a US city. Teams must then follow clues and instructions and make their way to checkpoints in places around the world, eventually racing back to the finish line in the US.

For three consecutive years, (2003 to 2005), The Amazing Race was awarded the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality/Competition Program. It has defeated competitors including CBS' Survivor (which was the first reality show to win an Emmy), Fox's American Idol, and NBC's The Apprentice.

The ninth season will begin airing on February 28, 2006.

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

Teams

Kris and Jon (Season 6) in Sri Lanka

Each of the eleven teams (twelve in Seasons 3 and 4, ten in Season 8) on The Amazing Race is composed of two individuals who have some type of relationship to each other. Season 8 of the race featured teams of four, but Season 9 will return to the two-person team format. The teams represent a wide demographic of different ages, races, sexual orientations, and personal relationships. Past team relationships include: long-time married couples, siblings (including twins), parent/child, friends (roommates, fraternity brothers, platonic friends, high school friends, lifelong friends etc), romantic partners (both heterosexual and homosexual), and couples who are separated or formerly dating. All contestants are at least 21 years of age, except for Season 8, which featured some children and teenagers.

Originally, the race required team members to have a pre-existing relationship and to have known one another for at least three years. In addition, racers from different teams could not have previous acquaintances with one another. However, producers have shown more leniency and changed these rules in recent installments of the race. For example, Kris and Jon from Season 6 were long-distance daters for only a year. Several contestants from Season 5 had previously competed against one another in the beauty pageant circuit. (Nicole actually beat Christie for the title of Miss Texas USA in 2003.[1])

Teammates must race the entire race together; they cannot split up or continue on without each other. If one teammate becomes injured and is unable to finish the race, the team must forfeit (for example, Marshall and Lance during Season 5). Both teammates must also arrive at each Pit Stop together in order to clock in. The various relationship dynamics between the team members under the stress of competition is one focus of the show.

The Race

Money

Colin and Christie (Season 5) receive money for a leg in Kenya and Tanzania

At the beginning of each leg of the race, each team receives an allowance of cash with their first clue. This money is usually given in U.S. Dollars regardless of the current location of the race. The amount varies from leg to leg, ranging from one dollar to hundreds of dollars. (In Season 1 teams were allocated nothing during one of the legs, and in Season 4, teams were given only one dollar for each of the final two legs.) During the race, all expenses (food, transportation, lodging, attraction admission, supplies) must be purchased from this allowance. The exception to this is the purchase of airline tickets (and, in Season 8, gasoline), which the teams pay for using a credit card supplied to them by the show. Any money left over after a leg of the race can be used on subsequent legs.

Starting in Season 5, there was a penalty for teams coming in last on a non-elimination leg. Teams were forced to surrender all collected money, would not be given any on the subsequent leg, and needed to start the next leg with zero dollars to their name. For more on this penalty, see Non-elimination Legs.

If a team spends all of their money or has it taken away in a non-elimination round, they may try to get more money in any way that doesn't violate the local laws. This includes borrowing money from other teams, begging from locals, or selling their possessions. One rule that was clarified in Season 7 is that teams may not beg for money at US airports.

Route Markers

Route Markers are the flags that mark the places where teams must go. Most Route Markers are attached to the boxes that contain clue envelopes, but some may mark the place where the teams must go in order to complete tasks.

Route Markers are always colored yellow and red, with the following exceptions:


  • The original Route Markers used in Season 1 were colored yellow and white. The current colors were adopted in subsequent seasons so that the teams would have an easier time spotting them.
  • During Season 3, the production visited Vietnam; while there, the flags used were a solid yellow, to avoid confusion with the flag of Vietnam (this change was not seen when production visited China in Season 6, though, where the national colors are similar).
  • Season 8's Route Markers were colored yellow, white, and black.

Clues

Route Information

Route Info clues instruct the teams where to go next. The clue usually only provides the name of the team's next destination; it is up to the teams to figure out how to get there. However, the clue may make specifications about how the teams have to travel. For example, the very first clue of the race specifies which flights teams may take. In addition, teams may be required to take public transportation, drive a marked car, or walk, according to the clue's instructions.

The Route Info clues can instruct teams to go to several types of locations, including a specific location in another city or country, another location within the team's present city, the Pit Stop of the leg, and the finish line of the race.

Detour

A Detour is a choice between two tasks, each with its own pros and cons. Teams must successfully complete one of the tasks described on the clue in order to receive their next clue. One task is typically an easier option that takes more time to complete, while the other is usually a difficult or frightening option that can be finished quickly. In later seasons, the trend has been towards Detours which offer less clear-cut choices. Often, there may be some degree of luck involved with the "easier" option, such that a team may accomplish the task faster than if they had taken the quicker, harder, riskier option. Should a team choose to switch Detour tasks part-way through, there is no penalty, other than naturally lost time.

Roadblock

A Roadblock is a task which only one team member may perform. Before heading into a Roadblock, teams read a vague clue about the task to come, i.e., "Who's really hungry?" (for an ostrich-egg eating challenge), or "Who wants to get down and dirty?" (for a task involving making mud bricks). Often, a team may figure out the specific task by observing their surroundings, using common sense, or even seeing other teams already performing the Roadblock task. They then must decide which team member would be best suited to complete it. Once a choice has been made, the teammates cannot switch roles.

Beginning in Season 6, each team member may only complete a maximum of six Roadblocks throughout the entire race. Since there normally are twelve Roadblocks in the Race, this rule forces each team to split the Roadblocks equally between the two members (unless a team uses a Fast Forward to skip one Roadblock, in which case the split can be 6-5). In contrast, Season 5 featured three teams that split the Roadblocks 11-1 or 10-1. The six-Roadblock limit was dropped for Season 8; additionally, that season's four-member-team format required some Roadblocks to be completed by two people. A Roadblock is featured (although, in some episodes, not aired) in every leg except the first one. In Season 1, even the first leg had a Roadblock, but it was not originally aired; it was included in the DVD release.

Fast Forward

Gary and Dave (Season 2) win the Fast Forward at Wong Tai Sin Temple, Hong Kong

The Fast Forward allows the first team that finds it to skip all remaining tasks on that leg of the race and proceed directly to the Pit Stop. To find the Fast Forward, the team must perform the task described on the Fast Forward clue, which is found along with a regular clue at one of the Route Markers.

Only one team may use each Fast Forward. Any team that is beaten to the Fast Forward will have wasted their time and must go back and pick up where they left off. Since each team may use only one Fast Forward during the whole race, they must decide when it is most advantageous to use it. A Fast Forward usually results in the team arriving at the Pit Stop first, but does not guarantee it. In the history of the show, two teams who earned a Fast Forward still arrived last at the Pit Stop. Joe and Bill during Season 1 arrived last but were not eliminated due to a penalty to Nancy and Emily. Dennis and Andrew during Season 3 were eliminated. Similarly, NFL wives Monica and Sheree of Season 4 earned the Fast Forward but only placed 4th in the first leg (behind a three-way tie for first, the only time this has ever happened on the race).

Yield

The Yield, which was introduced in Season 5, allows any one team to force another team to stop racing for a predetermined amount of time. To do this, a team places the picture of the team they wish to yield onto the Yield sign (found near one of the Route Markers). When the yielded team arrives at the Yield, they must turn over an hourglass found on the Yield sign and wait for all the sand to drain before continuing.

Like the Fast Forward, each team may use only one Yield during the game, and only one team may use each Yield. However, each team may be Yielded by other teams an unlimited amount of times. Starting in Season 6, the number of Yields was reduced from one on every leg to only three in the entire race. Also starting in Season 6, teams are warned about an upcoming Yield in the clue immediately preceding it. In the family edition, the show said there were only two Yields, but there was another Yield on Leg 1 that didn't make it to air.

The Weaver family in Season 8 was the first team in the history of the Amazing Race to be yielded twice, once by the Paolo Family, and another time by the Linz Family.


Pit Stops

Pit Stops are the final destination in each leg of the race. Each Pit Stop is a mandatory rest period which allows teams to eat, sleep, and mingle with each other. The production staff provides food free-of-charge to the teams at the Pit Stops (food during the legs must be purchased with the money the teams receive). During the Pit Stop, teams are also interviewed to provide commentary and voice-overs for the completed leg.

Phil Keoghan greets teams at the Pit Stop on The Amazing Race 5

Teams depart for the next leg of the race at the time they arrived plus twelve hours. While a team arriving at 12:00 PM will depart at 12:00 AM, the total amount of rest time may be more than twelve hours, in which case the pit stop will be extended by 24 hour increments--such as one day and twelve hours (36 hours).

The last team to arrive at the Pit Stop is eliminated, unless that leg of the race is one of the predetermined non-elimination legs (see below). In some legs, the first team to arrive wins a prize such as a vacation or camera, which they receive at the end of the race. In Season 6, prizes were given to the winners of every leg. In Season 7, cash and automobile prizes were awarded for the first time on some legs; unlike season 6, however, at least two legs did not have a prize awarded. The winners of the third leg in Season 8 won free gasoline for life, from BP and ARCO (specifically, $1200 of gasoline a year for 50 years, which is $60,000 per winner).

Teams normally complete all tasks and check in at the Pit Stop before they are eliminated. Occasionally, on an elimination leg, if all other teams have checked in and the last team is very far behind, Route Markers may instruct them to go directly to the Pit Stop without completing the rest of the leg (Peggy and Claire, Shola and Doyin, Mary and Peach, all from Season 2, Michael and Kathy and Andre and Damon in Season 3). Alternately, host Phil Keoghan may go out to the team's location to eliminate them if they can't/won't finish a task (Marshall and Lance, Season 5, Lena and Kristy, Season 6). The record for the shortest amount of time that Phil waited for the last team to arrive was around 10 minutes on the 11th leg of the 7th season. (Despite a flat tire, Uchenna and Joyce only finished 10 minutes behind the #1 team Ron and Kelly.) The longest amount of time Phil waited at a pit stop for the last team to arrive was more than 24 hours, due to the last team having flight problems and missing their departure time at the previous pit stop - see Season 2.

Season 6 introduced the first double-length leg shown over two episodes. The televised episode ended without a Pit Stop with a 'To Be Continued' message. The second half of the leg featured a second Detour and second Roadblock. Season 7 had another, this time with teams meeting host Phil Keoghan on the usual Pit Stop mat at the halfway point, only to have him hand them the next clue instead of checking them in. Season 8 also had a double-length leg, which worked the same as Season 7's; in addition, the 2-hour finale took place over a double-length leg.

Non-elimination Legs

Each race has a number of predetermined non-elimination legs, in which the last team to arrive at the Pit Stop is not eliminated and is allowed to continue on the race. Racers are not told in advance which legs are non-elimination legs. In Seasons 1-2, the clue preceding the Pit Stop ended with the statement, "The last team to arrive will be eliminated," except in non-elimination legs. In Seasons 3-4, the clue preceding the Pit Stop ended with the statement "The last team to arrive will be eliminated" in the first few legs, and "The last team to arrive may be eliminated" after a certain point. Beginning in Season 5, the statement "The last team to arrive may be eliminated" has been used on every leg with the exception of the first.

Season 5 introduced a penalty to the team arriving last at a Pit Stop in a non-elimination leg. These teams are required to turn over all the money they accumulated throughout the race. Additionally, the last team to arrive begins the next leg with zero dollars to their name, meaning they do not receive the money given to the other teams at the start of the leg and may not collect money during the Pit Stop. Teams generally beg from locals or even the other teams during the Pit Stop to rebuild their cash reserves.

Starting in Season 7, the penalty for arriving last during a non-elimination leg became more severe. In addition to being stripped of all their money and starting the next leg without an allowance, teams were forced to surrender all their possessions, except for their passports and the clothes they were wearing, for the remainder of the Race. This usually results in teams who believe they are coming in last checking in at the pit stop wearing every single article of clothing they have just in case it's a non-elimination leg, making for a rather comical sight in some cases.

Final Leg

Three teams compete in the last leg of the race. This first part of the leg includes intermediate destination(s) where the teams must travel to complete a series of tasks (Alaska, United States Seasons 1 and 2; Hawaii, United States, Seasons 3, 4, and 6; Calgary, Canada, Season 5; Puerto Rico, United States, Season 7; Montreal and Toronto, Canada, Season 8). The second part of the leg has teams traveling to a final destination, usually located in a major U.S. city. Remaining teams must complete one or more tasks before receiving the clue directing them to the Finish Line. At the Finish Line, host Phil Keoghan and all the eliminated teams wait for the remaining teams to arrive.

The first team to reach the Finish Line wins the race and $1 million. All other teams win lesser amounts of money on a sliding scale based on their finishing order, as follows:

Ideally, all three remaining teams arrive at the Finish Line within a reasonable amount of time. On occasion, the third place team has fallen so far behind the other two teams that they cannot finish the race in a timely manner. In this case, after the other two teams finish, they are informed that the race is over at their next Route Marker (Joe and Bill, Season 1; David and Jeff, Season 4).

Rules and Penalties

All teams must abide by the rules set at the beginning of the race. Failure to do so can result in time penalties, which can negatively affect finishing position in that leg of the race. While the complete set of official rules has not been released to the public, certain rules have been revealed during the various editions of the race:

Rules

  • Teams must purchase economy class tickets for airfare. Teams are allowed to be upgraded to first or business class by the airline, as long as they only paid an economy fare (Frank and Margarita, Season 1; Reichen and Chip, Season 4; Ray and Deana, Season 7).
  • Teams are not allowed contact with known friends, family, and personal acquaintances during the race. However, teams are allowed to stay in contact with and receive help from people they meet during the race, such as travel agents. (One exception to this rule occurred in Season 3. Teams were offered a cellular phone after completing a detour. As CBS's website explains, "They had the option of making one phone call to their loved ones back home before driving to the chateau. Teams could talk on the phone as long as they wanted, but had to end the call before getting in their cars.")
  • When stated, teams may not help other teams in challenges. (Uchenna said this when he wanted to help Meredith with the boat in Season 7.) Otherwise, teams may assist one another in completing tasks, as seen in Season 8, where many teams had help setting up their tents, and the Linz and Godlewski teams cooperated to complete a Detour.
  • Racers are prohibited from smoking during the race. This results in the sometimes cantankerous attitude of some contestants, such as Ian (Season 3) who quit smoking just prior to the race.
  • For filming purposes, team members are generally required to stay within 20 feet of each other, unless one person is performing a Roadblock.
  • Teams may be forced to submit their backpacks and possessions to searches by production staff at any time.

Penalties (and Time Credits)

  • The standard penalty for minor rule infractions is 30 minutes plus the time advantage gained (if any) by disobeying the rule. This penalty is known to apply in the following cases:
    • Using a prohibited form of transportation. For example, a team that takes a taxi when the clue specifies that they must walk would receive a penalty (Frank & Margarita and Joe & Bill, Season 1; Heather & Eve, Season 3; Reichen & Chip, Season 4).
    • Taking a shortcut when the clue specifies that a marked course must be followed (Andre & Damon, Season 3).
    • Taking more than one clue from the clue box (Freddy and Kendra, Season 6).
    • Driving away in another team's car (Don and Mary Jean, Season 6).
    • Speeding. If a clue specifies a maximum speed, a team that exceeds that speed receives a penalty (Gary and Dave, Chris and Alex, Season 2).
  • There is a larger penalty for quitting a task voluntarily. In Season 6, Hayden and Aaron quit a Roadblock and received a 4-hour penalty. In Season 7, Rob and Amber, Ray and Deana and Meredith and Gretchen also quit a Roadblock and received a 4-hour penalty that did not start until the next team arrived at the task.
  • In Season 1, Nancy and Emily voluntarily quit a Detour and received an even larger penalty: 24 hours. As no other team has quit a Detour since then, it is unknown whether that larger penalty still exists.
  • A team that skips a Route Marker or performs a task incorrectly usually does not receive a penalty; rather, the racers will not be able to check in at the Pit Stop and will be told by host Phil Keoghan to complete the missed tasks. One exception to this was during Season 1, when Dave & Margaretta missed the cluebox at the base of the Eiffel Tower. Through lucky guessing and help from other teams, they were able to reach the Pit Stop, but were assessed a 1-hour penalty.
  • If a team's vehicle breaks down through no fault of their own, they may request a replacement vehicle without receiving a time penalty. However, no time credit is given for their wait in this unlucky situation. (See The Amazing Race 2 Trivia).
  • Sometimes, teams are delayed by production difficulties. In early seasons, several teams were awarded time credits because of such difficulties. However, in Season 8, two teams were stopped because of drained batteries and did not receive time credits. The exact conditions that determine whether or not a time credit is awarded are unknown.

Countries and locales visited

Countries that The Amazing Race has visited are shown in green.

° Vatican City fielded a Fast Forward in Season 1; however, it was neither used nor shown.

Note: The table does not include airport stopovers, such as Japan. It only contains countries that fielded actual route markers, challenges or finish mats.

Trivia

  • Each team is accompanied by a cameraman and soundperson throughout the race. When purchasing tickets, teams must also buy them for their camera crew. On the program, teams are only shown requesting two tickets, so that they don't break the fourth wall.
  • Also, for similar reasons, the show makes the point of not actually showing the crews to the point where crewmen have occasionally been digitally removed from the picture in post-production. [2] Occasionally, race personnel are shown to viewers, most notably during Season 7 where Brian and Greg's cameraman was shown lying on the ground after suffering minor injuries in an auto accident.
  • The camera and sound crews rotate teams after each leg.
  • Host Phil Keoghan is known to take the same flight as the teams on various legs of the race.
  • Eliminated teams are often sent to "sequesterville", a foreign location on the race where they get to relax and do some sightseeing until the race is over.
  • Teams receive monetary compensation for the time away from their jobs back home. Even after the race has aired, however, the amount is still required to remain confidential.
  • The opening credits feature scenes and locations from past and current seasons of the race.
  • Teams need to receive travel visas ahead of time for the countries that they will be visiting. However, to keep things as much of a surprise for the teams as possible, production will obtain visas from more countries than are actually on the race itinerary. In doing so, the final destinations still remain a secret.
  • Before the race actually begins, the teams are filmed running from the starting line several times, in order to get different close-ups and angles of all the teams.
  • Due to the rather obvious nature of the crossing of the finish line, in later seasons several "decoy runs" have been done where teams from the final four are filmed crossing individual finish lines, to deter people from learning the identity of the winning team.
  • In Season 1, check-in mats for pit stops were representative of local cultures. In Season 2 and Season 3, they were black with a yellow border. Beginning in Season 4, they would feature an ornately decorated world map. In season 8 the mats were yellow with a black and white border. (For an exception, see The Amazing Race 6 In-Race Trivia.)The finish line mats are an elevated red carpet with The Amazing Race logo enlarged on it.

Public Reception

The Amazing Race is notable in that it is one of the few reality shows to grow substantially more popular in subsequent seasons. Even with extensive critical praise the show faced low Nielsen Ratings for the first several seasons, facing cancelation a number of times. Reportedly, it was saved by calls to CBS President Les Moonves from celebrity fans including Sarah Jessica Parker. Thanks to word-of-mouth and the Emmy wins, popularity of The Amazing Race has recently surged, and is now one of the most-watched reality shows on the air.

TARCon is a convention and viewing party held after the evening of the season finale. The event is held in New York City and is organized by Television Without Pity, a popular television website. TARCon gives fans an opportunity to meet past and present racers and host Phil Keoghan.

The popularity of the series has also spawned local races [3] [4], some which have been mistaken for actual filming of the television program.

Criticisms

Despite The Amazing Race's recent surge of popularity, the show is not without its share of criticism and controversy. Main problems include:

Jonathan's behavior shocked fellow racers and viewers
  • Bunching, where teams are constantly grouped together due to bottlenecks such as chartered flights and pre-planned hours of operation of businesses that the teams must use to complete tasks. While all versions of the Race have suffered such problems, many fans feel that recent seasons (and Season 6 particularly) had more than usual or, perhaps, necessary. Nevertheless, bunching teams also adds to the unending suspense that many feel some of the earlier seasons lacked.
  • The confrontational, and sometimes abusive behaviour presented by certain players, most notably Jonathan (Season 6) and Colin (Season 5).
  • The stunt casting of teams where producers have tended to cast models, actors, and more recently past reality show stars. For example, Season 5 featured only one past reality show contestant (Alison was on Big Brother) and Season 7 featured three past reality show contestants (Brian was on Fear Factor; Rob and Amber had been on multiple editions of Survivor). In fact, many teams had connections to the producers or past contestants, trivializing the standard application process. For example, Dennis and Erika (Season 5) had known previous racers John Vito and Jill (Season 3) for many years.[5]
  • The watering down of the clues in subsequent seasons. For example, in Season 1 the majority of Route Markers contained clues about the next location, not specifically stating the location itself. In recent seasons, there have been few actual clues for teams to decipher. What had been clues are now more like simple directions in many cases; they remain more challenging in the final legs.
  • Design of challenges, especially food competitions. Recent seasons have emphasized gross-out extreme eating contests reminiscent of Fear Factor, rather than focusing on the cultural aspect of the challenge.
  • Repetition of tasks in different seasons. Season 7's Fast Forward task in Leg 8 featured the same hair-shaving task as Season 5, although Season 5's was not taken.
  • The implementation of the Yield has been criticized as taking away from the virtually unique ability of teams to control their own destiny in a reality series rather than being at the mercy of opponents as shows such as Survivor. The one other reality series that possesses this trait is The Mole.
  • The implementation of the non-elimination penalty is generally criticized by fans basically into two camps. One, is that the penalty is not sufficiently harsh enough. The second is that it is embarrassing to see Americans beg from people of Third World countries. In the latter reason however, in the case of a leg being in a poor country, penalized teams usually beg from tourists or from other teams.
  • Recent betting scandals. In the two most recent seasons, Season 7 and Season 8, the winners were revealed in online betting scandals well before the airing of the final episode.
  • Fans, critics, and racers were lukewarm over the format changes implemented in the family edition. The main issues were the lack of international travel and watered down challenges tailored to families. The expanded cast also made it more difficult to develop individual story lines. Entertainment Weekly commented that "Half the fun of The Amazing Race has always been watching the inter and intra-couple bickering that goes with being chronologically late and lost in a foreign land. Seeing parents yell at their children in exotic New Jersey? Not so fun." [6]. USA Today shared similar opinions, adding that "the idea of being trapped in the back seat for a forced cross-country family drive comes closer to a nightmare relived than a dream come true." [7] Racers were also disappointed that they did not have a chance to travel to more exotic locations; in one episode Marion Paolo commented "Why are we going to Phoenix, Arizona for? I want to go to New Zealand!"
  • Excessive product placement, particularly in recent seasons. Season 7 featured a gnome-hunting challenge, with the gnome featured being a Travelocity Roaming Gnome. Season 8 had teams driving around in GMC Yukons, visiting a BP gas station that fielded no challenge in particular, receiving clues from AOL inboxes (done in Season 6 also), and completing a challenge with Buick luxury golf carts. In an article according to Backstage.com, both "The Amazing Race" and "The Amazing Race: Family Edition", separately, were among the top 10 television shows with the most product placement in 2005.

Broadcasters

The Amazing Race is broadcast on various international television networks. Its is also shown in syndication within the United States.

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Its is also shown in syndication within the United States. Nevertheless, today a rock which deviates from a straight line is said to curl. The Amazing Race is broadcast on various international television networks. One possible derivation is that it came from the old verb "curr" which describes a low rumble, a sound that is strongly associated with the game (curling is often called the roaring game). Main problems include:. It was first used in print in 1630 in Perth, Scotland. Despite The Amazing Race's recent surge of popularity, the show is not without its share of criticism and controversy. The origins of the word "curling" are not known.

The popularity of the series has also spawned local races [3] [4], some which have been mistaken for actual filming of the television program. In the early history of curling, the rocks were simply flat-bottomed river stones which were sometimes notched or shaped; the thrower had little control over the rock, and relied more on luck than skill to win. TARCon gives fans an opportunity to meet past and present racers and host Phil Keoghan. Curling probably does not take its name from the motion of the stones. The event is held in New York City and is organized by Television Without Pity, a popular television website. Curling is the provincial sport of Saskatchewan, home of one of the most famous curlers, the late Sandra Schmirler, who led her team to what was believed, until 2006, to be the first ever gold medal in the 1998 Winter Olympics. TARCon is a convention and viewing party held after the evening of the season finale. However there are many young teams who turn heads, and junior curling is quite popular, with national finals being televised nationwide in Canada.

Thanks to word-of-mouth and the Emmy wins, popularity of The Amazing Race has recently surged, and is now one of the most-watched reality shows on the air. Because accuracy, strategy, skill, and experience are more valuable in curling than traditional sports virtues of speed, stamina, and strength, most competitive curlers are older than their counterparts in other sports. Reportedly, it was saved by calls to CBS President Les Moonves from celebrity fans including Sarah Jessica Parker. Curling survives as a people's sport, making its Winter Olympic Games debut in 1998 with men's and women's tournaments (some sources also include the competition held in 1924 as an official Olympic tournament). Even with extensive critical praise the show faced low Nielsen Ratings for the first several seasons, facing cancelation a number of times. While Canadian bonspiels (tournaments) offer cash prizes, there are no full-time professional curlers. The Amazing Race is notable in that it is one of the few reality shows to grow substantially more popular in subsequent seasons. The first ever world title was won by the Canadian team from Regina, Saskatchewan skipped by Ernie Richardson.

It only contains countries that fielded actual route markers, challenges or finish mats.. The first world curling championship in the sport was limited to men and was known as the "Scotch Cup" held in Falkirk and Edinburgh, Scotland, 1959. Note: The table does not include airport stopovers, such as Japan. The Tournament of Hearts and the Brier are contested by provincial and territorial champions, and the world championships by national champions. ° Vatican City fielded a Fast Forward in Season 1; however, it was neither used nor shown.. Despite its small population, the Brier has been won by the province of Manitoba more times than any other province. While the complete set of official rules has not been released to the public, certain rules have been revealed during the various editions of the race:. Improvements in ice making and changes in the rules to increase scoring and promote complex strategy have increased the already high popularity of the sport in Canada, and large television audiences watch frequent curling telecasts, especially the Tournament of Hearts (the national championship for women), the Brier (the national championship for men), and the women's and men's world championships.

Failure to do so can result in time penalties, which can negatively affect finishing position in that leg of the race. Curling is most popular in Canada, but is played in other countries including the United States, Scotland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark and even Japan, all of which, with other countries, compete in the world championships. All teams must abide by the rules set at the beginning of the race. If no independent officials are available, the thirds measure the distances. In this case, after the other two teams finish, they are informed that the race is over at their next Route Marker (Joe and Bill, Season 1; David and Jeff, Season 4). An independent official then measures the distances using a specially designed device that pivots at the center of the button. On occasion, the third place team has fallen so far behind the other two teams that they cannot finish the race in a timely manner. In tournament play the most frequent circumstance in which a decision has to be made by someone other than the third is the failure of the thirds to agree on which rock is closest to the button.

Ideally, all three remaining teams arrive at the Finish Line within a reasonable amount of time. No players other than the third from each team should be in the house while score is being debated. All other teams win lesser amounts of money on a sliding scale based on their finishing order, as follows:. However, all scoring disputes are handled by the third, or vice-skip. The first team to reach the Finish Line wins the race and $1 million. Most decisions about rules are left to the skips. At the Finish Line, host Phil Keoghan and all the eliminated teams wait for the remaining teams to arrive. Scoring without the hammer is commonly referred to as stealing, or a steal, and is much more difficult.

Remaining teams must complete one or more tasks before receiving the clue directing them to the Finish Line. This is called a blank end. city. If only one point is possible, the skip will often try to avoid scoring at all in order to retain the hammer until the next end, when two or more points may be possible. The second part of the leg has teams traveling to a final destination, usually located in a major U.S. Naturally, it is easier to score points with the hammer than without; in tournament play, the team with the hammer generally tries to score two or more points. This first part of the leg includes intermediate destination(s) where the teams must travel to complete a series of tasks (Alaska, United States Seasons 1 and 2; Hawaii, United States, Seasons 3, 4, and 6; Calgary, Canada, Season 5; Puerto Rico, United States, Season 7; Montreal and Toronto, Canada, Season 8). In the event that neither team scores, the hammer remains with the same team.

Three teams compete in the last leg of the race. (In tournaments, this is typically assigned, giving every team the hammer first in half of their games.) In all subsequent ends, the hammer belongs to the team that did not score in the preceding end. This usually results in teams who believe they are coming in last checking in at the pit stop wearing every single article of clothing they have just in case it's a non-elimination leg, making for a rather comical sight in some cases. Before the game, teams typically decide who gets the hammer in the first end by coin toss or similar method. In addition to being stripped of all their money and starting the next leg without an allowance, teams were forced to surrender all their possessions, except for their passports and the clothes they were wearing, for the remainder of the Race. The last rock in an end is called the hammer. Starting in Season 7, the penalty for arriving last during a non-elimination leg became more severe. This is often accompanied with saying "Good game!" Hands are also shaken before the game and is accompanied by saying "Good curling!" to the opposing team.

Teams generally beg from locals or even the other teams during the Pit Stop to rebuild their cash reserves. When a game is ended by normal means, both teams will shake hands as well. Additionally, the last team to arrive begins the next leg with zero dollars to their name, meaning they do not receive the money given to the other teams at the start of the leg and may not collect money during the Pit Stop. This may occur at any point during the game, but usually happens near the end. These teams are required to turn over all the money they accumulated throughout the race. When a team feels it is impossible or near impossible to win a game, they will shake hands with the opposing team to indicate surrender. Season 5 introduced a penalty to the team arriving last at a Pit Stop in a non-elimination leg. This is called a blank end and the end number usually goes in the furthest column on the right in the row of the team who has the hammer (last rock advantage).

Beginning in Season 5, the statement "The last team to arrive may be eliminated" has been used on every leg with the exception of the first. However, some confusion can exist if no team gets points in an end. In Seasons 3-4, the clue preceding the Pit Stop ended with the statement "The last team to arrive will be eliminated" in the first few legs, and "The last team to arrive may be eliminated" after a certain point. This scoreboard works because only one team can get points in an end. In Seasons 1-2, the clue preceding the Pit Stop ended with the statement, "The last team to arrive will be eliminated," except in non-elimination legs. If they score two more in the second end, then a two will be placed beside the five in the red row indicating that the red team has five points in total (3+2). Racers are not told in advance which legs are non-elimination legs. If the red team scores 3 points in the first end (called a three-ender), then a one (indicating the first end) is placed beside the number three in the red row.

Each race has a number of predetermined non-elimination legs, in which the last team to arrive at the Pit Stop is not eliminated and is allowed to continue on the race. The numbers placed are indicative of the end. Season 8 also had a double-length leg, which worked the same as Season 7's; in addition, the 2-hour finale took place over a double-length leg. It is set up in the same way, except the numbered row indicated points not ends, and it can be found between the rows for the team. Season 7 had another, this time with teams meeting host Phil Keoghan on the usual Pit Stop mat at the halfway point, only to have him hand them the next clue instead of checking them in. The other form of scoreboard is the one used in most curling clubs (see photo). The second half of the leg featured a second Detour and second Roadblock. The number of points each team gets in an end is marked this way.

The televised episode ended without a Pit Stop with a 'To Be Continued' message. Below this are two rows — one for each team. Season 6 introduced the first double-length leg shown over two episodes. On this scoreboard the ends are marked by columns 1 through 10 (or 11 for the possibility of an extra end to break ties) plus an additional column for the total. (Despite a flat tire, Uchenna and Joyce only finished 10 minutes behind the #1 team Ron and Kelly.) The longest amount of time Phil waited at a pit stop for the last team to arrive was more than 24 hours, due to the last team having flight problems and missing their departure time at the previous pit stop - see Season 2. One is the baseball type scoreboard, which is usually used for televised games. The record for the shortest amount of time that Phil waited for the last team to arrive was around 10 minutes on the 11th leg of the 7th season. There are two different types of scoreboards used for curling.

Alternately, host Phil Keoghan may go out to the team's location to eliminate them if they can't/won't finish a task (Marshall and Lance, Season 5, Lena and Kristy, Season 6). The score is usually marked on a scoreboard of some sort. Occasionally, on an elimination leg, if all other teams have checked in and the last team is very far behind, Route Markers may instruct them to go directly to the Pit Stop without completing the rest of the leg (Peggy and Claire, Shola and Doyin, Mary and Peach, all from Season 2, Michael and Kathy and Andre and Damon in Season 3). Since the bottom of the rock is rounded, a rock just barely in the house will not have any actual contact with the ring, which will pass under the rounded edge of the stone, but it still counts.) The winner is the team with the highest score after an even number of ends — usually in high-level curling this is ten; however, at club play it is usually eight, or less. Teams normally complete all tasks and check in at the Pit Stop before they are eliminated. (A rock is considered in the house if any portion of its edge is over any portion of the 12-foot ring. The winners of the third leg in Season 8 won free gasoline for life, from BP and ARCO (specifically, $1200 of gasoline a year for 50 years, which is $60,000 per winner). Rocks that are not in the house (further from the center than the outer edge of the 12-foot ring) do not score even if no opponent's rock is closer.

In Season 7, cash and automobile prizes were awarded for the first time on some legs; unlike season 6, however, at least two legs did not have a prize awarded. After both teams have delivered eight rocks each, the team with the rock closest to the button is awarded one point for each of its own rocks that is closer than the opponent's closest rock. In Season 6, prizes were given to the winners of every leg. While a sound strategy, this made for an unexciting game. In some legs, the first team to arrive wins a prize such as a vacation or camera, which they receive at the end of the race. The team with the hammer could peel rock after rock, which would blank the end, keeping the last rock advantage for another end. The last team to arrive at the Pit Stop is eliminated, unless that leg of the race is one of the predetermined non-elimination legs (see below). This rule, a relatively recent addition to curling, was added in response to a strategy of "peeling" opponents' guard stones (knocking them out of play at an angle that caused the shooter's stone to also roll out of play, leaving no stones on the ice) that skilled teams leading a game would employ to prevent their opponents from "stealing" an end (scoring without having the last rock, or hammer) by placing guard stones and later trying to draw around them and using them for protection.

While a team arriving at 12:00 PM will depart at 12:00 AM, the total amount of rest time may be more than twelve hours, in which case the pit stop will be extended by 24 hour increments--such as one day and twelve hours (36 hours). This rule is known as the four-rock rule or the free-zone rule; some people and leagues play with a three-guard rule, where the rule is in place until three rocks are played. Teams depart for the next leg of the race at the time they arrived plus twelve hours. If they are removed, they are replaced and the opponent's rock is removed from play. During the Pit Stop, teams are also interviewed to provide commentary and voice-overs for the completed leg. Until four rocks have been played, guard rocks left in the area between the hog and tee lines, excluding the house — known as the free guard zone — may not be removed by an opponent's stone. The production staff provides food free-of-charge to the teams at the Pit Stops (food during the legs must be purchased with the money the teams receive). A player in the house, either the skip (captain) or vice-skip (also known as the third), will often coach the sweepers as to when they should sweep.

Each Pit Stop is a mandatory rest period which allows teams to eat, sleep, and mingle with each other. On each shot, two players are equipped with brushes or brooms with which they can vigorously sweep the ice in front of the rock so as to alter its trajectory or increase the distance of travel. Pit Stops are the final destination in each leg of the race. When throwing the rock, it must be released before the near hogline is reached (players usually slide while releasing their shots) and must cross the far hogline; otherwise it is removed from play.
. In each end each player on each team throws two rocks in turn, the players on each side alternating shots. The Weaver family in Season 8 was the first team in the history of the Amazing Race to be yielded twice, once by the Paolo Family, and another time by the Linz Family. A competitive game usually consists of ten ends, while recreational games are more commonly only eight or even six ends.

In the family edition, the show said there were only two Yields, but there was another Yield on Leg 1 that didn't make it to air. Curling is played between two teams of four curlers. Also starting in Season 6, teams are warned about an upcoming Yield in the clue immediately preceding it. Brooms are also used by some curlers as a balancing aide during delivery of the stone. Starting in Season 6, the number of Yields was reduced from one on every leg to only three in the entire race. Today, brushes have replaced traditional corn brooms at every level of curling, but are universally referred to as brooms. However, each team may be Yielded by other teams an unlimited amount of times. Brushes were used primarily by elderly curlers as a substitute for corn brooms.

Like the Fast Forward, each team may use only one Yield during the game, and only one team may use each Yield. In earlier days, brooms were made of corn strands and were similar to household brooms. When the yielded team arrives at the Yield, they must turn over an hourglass found on the Yield sign and wait for all the sand to drain before continuing. The skip will also hold the broom at the opposite end of the rink from the delivering player to show the deliverer where to aim the rock. To do this, a team places the picture of the team they wish to yield onto the Yield sign (found near one of the Route Markers). The broom can also be used to clean debris off the ice, and is also used by the skip to show where she or he wants the rock to go. The Yield, which was introduced in Season 5, allows any one team to force another team to stop racing for a predetermined amount of time. Agressive sweeping in front of the rock momentarily melts the pebble, which lessens the deceleration of the rock, and also straightens the trajectory of the rock.

Similarly, NFL wives Monica and Sheree of Season 4 earned the Fast Forward but only placed 4th in the first leg (behind a three-way tie for first, the only time this has ever happened on the race).
. The curling broom is used by the sweepers to sweep the ice surface in front of the rock. Dennis and Andrew during Season 3 were eliminated. Another piece of equipment is the curling broom. Joe and Bill during Season 1 arrived last but were not eliminated due to a penalty to Nancy and Emily. This piece of equipment is needed when a player is sweeping, and needs traction with both feet. In the history of the show, two teams who earned a Fast Forward still arrived last at the Pit Stop. This is also usually made of rubber.

A Fast Forward usually results in the team arriving at the Pit Stop first, but does not guarantee it. An additional piece of footwear is the gripper, which can slide on and off the shoe with the slippery surface. Since each team may use only one Fast Forward during the whole race, they must decide when it is most advantageous to use it. The other foot has a thin layer of rubber, to maximize traction on the ice. Any team that is beaten to the Fast Forward will have wasted their time and must go back and pick up where they left off. Left-handed curlers have this special shoe on their right foot, while right-handed curlers have it on their left foot. Only one team may use each Fast Forward. This enables curlers to slide out of the hack when delivering a rock.

To find the Fast Forward, the team must perform the task described on the Fast Forward clue, which is found along with a regular clue at one of the Route Markers. Inexpensive sliders can be purchased that can be attached to any shoes by means of an elastic band. The Fast Forward allows the first team that finds it to skip all remaining tasks on that leg of the race and proceed directly to the Pit Stop. The sole of one shoe has a thin strip of Teflon or another type of smooth surface, called a slider. In Season 1, even the first leg had a Roadblock, but it was not originally aired; it was included in the DVD release.
. When curling, players need to wear special shoes. A Roadblock is featured (although, in some episodes, not aired) in every leg except the first one. The two remaining players follow the rock and assist in guiding its trajectory by sweeping the ice before the rock, usually under direction from the skip and their own instincts for the weight of the rock, as well as stopwatch split timing.

The six-Roadblock limit was dropped for Season 8; additionally, that season's four-member-team format required some Roadblocks to be completed by two people. Thus, each time a rock is thrown, there is one player throwing the rock, and another player at the far end. In contrast, Season 5 featured three teams that split the Roadblocks 11-1 or 10-1. While the first three players throw their rocks, the skip remains at the far end of the ice to guide the players; while the skip is throwing, the vice takes this role. Since there normally are twelve Roadblocks in the Race, this rule forces each team to split the Roadblocks equally between the two members (unless a team uses a Fast Forward to skip one Roadblock, in which case the split can be 6-5). The lead for each team throws first, followed by the second, third (vice skip or vice or mate), and the skip who is the team captain; this order is not mandatory, and some prominent teams (for example, Randy Ferbey's) reverse the order in which the skip and third throw. Beginning in Season 6, each team member may only complete a maximum of six Roadblocks throughout the entire race. The team members are named according to the order in which they throw in each end.

Once a choice has been made, the teammates cannot switch roles. Curling is a team game, played between two teams of four curlers each. They then must decide which team member would be best suited to complete it. Because of the particular rarity of Ailsite, costs for curling stones can reach as much as $500 (CAD). Often, a team may figure out the specific task by observing their surroundings, using common sense, or even seeing other teams already performing the Roadblock task. Most curling stones are made from this granite. Before heading into a Roadblock, teams read a vague clue about the task to come, i.e., "Who's really hungry?" (for an ostrich-egg eating challenge), or "Who wants to get down and dirty?" (for a task involving making mud bricks). The Scots in particular believe that the best quality curling stones are made from a specific type of granite called "Ailsite", found on the Ailsa Craig, an island off the Ayrshire coast.

A Roadblock is a task which only one team member may perform. Lights at the base of the handle indicate whether contact was sustained past the line or not. Should a team choose to switch Detour tasks part-way through, there is no penalty, other than naturally lost time.
. The handle is coated in metallic paint; the circuitry detects the relative charge of the thrower's hand contact to determine if they are still in contact, and a linear field is established at the hog line to indicate its location to the internal sensor. Often, there may be some degree of luck involved with the "easier" option, such that a team may accomplish the task faster than if they had taken the quicker, harder, riskier option. A special handle has recently been developed for high-level tournament play, which integrates electronics to ensure a rock is released before it crosses the hog line. In later seasons, the trend has been towards Detours which offer less clear-cut choices. According to the Canadian Curling Association Rules of Curling, "The use of a curling aid commonly referred to as a 'delivery stick' which enables the player to deliver a stone without placing a hand on the handle is considered acceptable.".

One task is typically an easier option that takes more time to complete, while the other is usually a difficult or frightening option that can be finished quickly. This allows the game to be played by handicapped players, as well as those unable to crouch comfortably. Teams must successfully complete one of the tasks described on the clue in order to receive their next clue. Such a stick is designed to attach to the handle so that it can be released without requiring the player to place a hand on the handle in a crouched position. A Detour is a choice between two tasks, each with its own pros and cons. Although the rock is designed to be delivered by players grasping the handle as they slide down the ice, a special "delivery stick" may be used by players incapable of delivering the rock in this fashion. The Route Info clues can instruct teams to go to several types of locations, including a specific location in another city or country, another location within the team's present city, the Pit Stop of the leg, and the finish line of the race. Ice on which the rocks curl well is said to be swingy.

In addition, teams may be required to take public transportation, drive a marked car, or walk, according to the clue's instructions. The degree of curl depends on several factors, including the preparation of the ice and the flattening of common paths to the house during the game. For example, the very first clue of the race specifies which flights teams may take. On properly prepared ice the rock's path will bend (curl) in the direction the front edge of the rock is turning, especially toward the end of its trip. However, the clue may make specifications about how the teams have to travel. This small running surface allows the pebble applied to the ice to have an effect on the action of the rock. The clue usually only provides the name of the team's next destination; it is up to the teams to figure out how to get there. A special feature of the rock is that its bottom is not flat, but concave and the actual running surface of the rock is only ¼ to ½ inch (6 to 12 mm) wide on the rim of the concave bottom.

Route Info clues instruct the teams where to go next. If the handle is rotated away from the body, the shot is said to be an in-turn, and if rotated across the body, it is an out-turn.
. The curling stone or rock used in the game weighs a maximum of 44 lb (19.96 kg) and is fitted with a handle on top allowing it to be rotated as it is released. Route Markers are always colored yellow and red, with the following exceptions:.
. Most Route Markers are attached to the boxes that contain clue envelopes, but some may mark the place where the teams must go in order to complete tasks.
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Route Markers are the flags that mark the places where teams must go. A single moveable hack may also be used. One rule that was clarified in Season 7 is that teams may not beg for money at US airports. On indoor rinks there are usually two fixed hacks, rubber-lined holes, one each side of the centre line with the inside edge no more than three inches (7.6 cm) from the center line and the front edge on the hack line. This includes borrowing money from other teams, begging from locals, or selling their possessions. The hack is a device used to provide traction to the curler making a shot; the curler places the foot he or she will push off with in the hack. If a team spends all of their money or has it taken away in a non-elimination round, they may try to get more money in any way that doesn't violate the local laws. Twelve feet behind the junction of the centre and tee lines, the centre line is crossed at right angles by the hack line.

For more on this penalty, see Non-elimination Legs. more than 12 feet from the centre) is not in the house and therefore does not score. Teams were forced to surrender all collected money, would not be given any on the subsequent leg, and needed to start the next leg with zero dollars to their name. The inner rings are merely a visual aid for judging which stone is closer to the centre; they do not affect scoring; however, a stone that is not at least touching the outside of the 12-foot ring (i.e. Starting in Season 5, there was a penalty for teams coming in last on a non-elimination leg. They are usually distinguished by colour. Any money left over after a leg of the race can be used on subsequent legs. The rings that surround the button are defined by their diameter as the four-foot, eight-foot, and twelve-foot rings.

The exception to this is the purchase of airline tickets (and, in Season 8, gasoline), which the teams pay for using a credit card supplied to them by the show. Two other lines, the hoglines, are drawn parallel to each backboard and 37 feet (11.3 m) from it. (In Season 1 teams were allocated nothing during one of the legs, and in Season 4, teams were given only one dollar for each of the final two legs.) During the race, all expenses (food, transportation, lodging, attraction admission, supplies) must be purchased from this allowance. The two lines are the centre line, which is drawn lengthwise down the centre of the sheet, and the tee line, drawn 16 feet (4.9 m) from the backboard and parallel to it. The amount varies from leg to leg, ranging from one dollar to hundreds of dollars. The centre of the house, marked by the junction of two lines which divide the house into quarters, is known as the pin, tee, or spit. Dollars regardless of the current location of the race. On the rink, a 12 foot (3.7 m) wide set of concentric rings, called the house, is painted near each end of the rink.

This money is usually given in U.S. The curling action of rocks/stones changes during a game as the pebble evens out from wear. At the beginning of each leg of the race, each team receives an allowance of cash with their first clue. As the bottom catches on the pebble, it turns to the inside or outside, causing the stone's path to 'curl'. The various relationship dynamics between the team members under the stress of competition is one focus of the show. The pebble creates friction with the bottom of the stone. Both teammates must also arrive at each Pit Stop together in order to clock in. A key part of the preparation is the spraying of fine water droplets on the ice to create what is called pebble.

If one teammate becomes injured and is unable to finish the race, the team must forfeit (for example, Marshall and Lance during Season 5). The curling arena is a sheet of ice 146 feet (45.5 m) long by 14 feet 2 inches (4.32 m) wide, and is carefully prepared to be absolutely level and to allow the "rocks" or "stones", as the polished granite is called, to glide with as little friction as possible. Teammates must race the entire race together; they cannot split up or continue on without each other. . (Nicole actually beat Christie for the title of Miss Texas USA in 2003.[1]). Curling was on that occasion played outdoors. Several contestants from Season 5 had previously competed against one another in the beauty pageant circuit. Previous opinion had been that all sports then had been demonstration events.

For example, Kris and Jon from Season 6 were long-distance daters for only a year. In February 2006 the IOC included the winning curling teams in the 1924 Winter Olympic Games, originally called Semaine des Sports d'Hiver ("International Winter Sports Week"), as medal winners in an official Olympic tournament. However, producers have shown more leniency and changed these rules in recent installments of the race. Curling has been an official sport in the Winter Olympics since the 1998 Winter Olympic Games. In addition, racers from different teams could not have previous acquaintances with one another. Today, curling is played all over Europe and has spread to Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and even China and Korea. Originally, the race required team members to have a pre-existing relationship and to have known one another for at least three years. The first curling club in the United States began in 1832, and the game was introduced to Switzerland and Sweden before the end of the nineteenth century.

All contestants are at least 21 years of age, except for Season 8, which featured some children and teenagers. The Royal Montreal Curling Club, the first sporting club of any kind in North America, was established in 1807. Past team relationships include: long-time married couples, siblings (including twins), parent/child, friends (roommates, fraternity brothers, platonic friends, high school friends, lifelong friends etc), romantic partners (both heterosexual and homosexual), and couples who are separated or formerly dating. The game is currently most firmly established, however, in Canada. The teams represent a wide demographic of different ages, races, sexual orientations, and personal relationships. Whatever the truth of the matter, outdoor curling was very popular in Scotland between the 16th and the 19th centuries when the climate was cold enough to ensure good ice conditions every winter, and as a result the international governing body for curling, the World Curling Federation, is based in Perth, Scotland. Season 8 of the race featured teams of four, but Season 9 will return to the two-person team format. The game is generally believed to have been invented in 16th century Scotland, although two paintings by Pieter Brueghel the Elder depict Dutch peasants curling.

Each of the eleven teams (twelve in Seasons 3 and 4, ten in Season 8) on The Amazing Race is composed of two individuals who have some type of relationship to each other. Curling is a precision sport similar to bowls or bocce, but played on ice with polished heavy stones rather than plastic balls. . The ninth season will begin airing on February 28, 2006. It has defeated competitors including CBS' Survivor (which was the first reality show to win an Emmy), Fox's American Idol, and NBC's The Apprentice.

For three consecutive years, (2003 to 2005), The Amazing Race was awarded the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality/Competition Program. Teams must then follow clues and instructions and make their way to checkpoints in places around the world, eventually racing back to the finish line in the US. The race starts in a US city. The race resembles a treasure hunt in amateur rally racing.

The race utilizes progressive elimination similar to Survivor; the last team to arrive at a designated checkpoint leaves the game. It was created by Bertram van Munster. It is produced by Jerry Bruckheimer for CBS and Touchstone Television (technically making it partially a Disney show) and hosted by New Zealander Phil Keoghan. The CBS program has been on-air since 2001 and is currently in between seasons.

The Amazing Race is a reality game show normally broadcast in one-hour episodes in which teams of two or four race around the world in competition with other teams. In an article according to Backstage.com, both "The Amazing Race" and "The Amazing Race: Family Edition", separately, were among the top 10 television shows with the most product placement in 2005. Season 8 had teams driving around in GMC Yukons, visiting a BP gas station that fielded no challenge in particular, receiving clues from AOL inboxes (done in Season 6 also), and completing a challenge with Buick luxury golf carts. Season 7 featured a gnome-hunting challenge, with the gnome featured being a Travelocity Roaming Gnome.

Excessive product placement, particularly in recent seasons. USA Today shared similar opinions, adding that "the idea of being trapped in the back seat for a forced cross-country family drive comes closer to a nightmare relived than a dream come true." [7] Racers were also disappointed that they did not have a chance to travel to more exotic locations; in one episode Marion Paolo commented "Why are we going to Phoenix, Arizona for? I want to go to New Zealand!". Seeing parents yell at their children in exotic New Jersey? Not so fun." [6]. Entertainment Weekly commented that "Half the fun of The Amazing Race has always been watching the inter and intra-couple bickering that goes with being chronologically late and lost in a foreign land.

The expanded cast also made it more difficult to develop individual story lines. The main issues were the lack of international travel and watered down challenges tailored to families. Fans, critics, and racers were lukewarm over the format changes implemented in the family edition. In the two most recent seasons, Season 7 and Season 8, the winners were revealed in online betting scandals well before the airing of the final episode.

Recent betting scandals. In the latter reason however, in the case of a leg being in a poor country, penalized teams usually beg from tourists or from other teams. The second is that it is embarrassing to see Americans beg from people of Third World countries. One, is that the penalty is not sufficiently harsh enough.

The implementation of the non-elimination penalty is generally criticized by fans basically into two camps. The one other reality series that possesses this trait is The Mole. The implementation of the Yield has been criticized as taking away from the virtually unique ability of teams to control their own destiny in a reality series rather than being at the mercy of opponents as shows such as Survivor. Season 7's Fast Forward task in Leg 8 featured the same hair-shaving task as Season 5, although Season 5's was not taken.

Repetition of tasks in different seasons. Recent seasons have emphasized gross-out extreme eating contests reminiscent of Fear Factor, rather than focusing on the cultural aspect of the challenge. Design of challenges, especially food competitions. What had been clues are now more like simple directions in many cases; they remain more challenging in the final legs.

In recent seasons, there have been few actual clues for teams to decipher. For example, in Season 1 the majority of Route Markers contained clues about the next location, not specifically stating the location itself. The watering down of the clues in subsequent seasons. For example, Dennis and Erika (Season 5) had known previous racers John Vito and Jill (Season 3) for many years.[5].

In fact, many teams had connections to the producers or past contestants, trivializing the standard application process. For example, Season 5 featured only one past reality show contestant (Alison was on Big Brother) and Season 7 featured three past reality show contestants (Brian was on Fear Factor; Rob and Amber had been on multiple editions of Survivor). The stunt casting of teams where producers have tended to cast models, actors, and more recently past reality show stars. The confrontational, and sometimes abusive behaviour presented by certain players, most notably Jonathan (Season 6) and Colin (Season 5).

Nevertheless, bunching teams also adds to the unending suspense that many feel some of the earlier seasons lacked. While all versions of the Race have suffered such problems, many fans feel that recent seasons (and Season 6 particularly) had more than usual or, perhaps, necessary. Bunching, where teams are constantly grouped together due to bottlenecks such as chartered flights and pre-planned hours of operation of businesses that the teams must use to complete tasks. (For an exception, see The Amazing Race 6 In-Race Trivia.)The finish line mats are an elevated red carpet with The Amazing Race logo enlarged on it.

In season 8 the mats were yellow with a black and white border. Beginning in Season 4, they would feature an ornately decorated world map. In Season 2 and Season 3, they were black with a yellow border. In Season 1, check-in mats for pit stops were representative of local cultures.

Due to the rather obvious nature of the crossing of the finish line, in later seasons several "decoy runs" have been done where teams from the final four are filmed crossing individual finish lines, to deter people from learning the identity of the winning team. Before the race actually begins, the teams are filmed running from the starting line several times, in order to get different close-ups and angles of all the teams. In doing so, the final destinations still remain a secret. However, to keep things as much of a surprise for the teams as possible, production will obtain visas from more countries than are actually on the race itinerary.

Teams need to receive travel visas ahead of time for the countries that they will be visiting. The opening credits feature scenes and locations from past and current seasons of the race. Even after the race has aired, however, the amount is still required to remain confidential. Teams receive monetary compensation for the time away from their jobs back home.

Eliminated teams are often sent to "sequesterville", a foreign location on the race where they get to relax and do some sightseeing until the race is over. Host Phil Keoghan is known to take the same flight as the teams on various legs of the race. The camera and sound crews rotate teams after each leg. [2] Occasionally, race personnel are shown to viewers, most notably during Season 7 where Brian and Greg's cameraman was shown lying on the ground after suffering minor injuries in an auto accident.

Also, for similar reasons, the show makes the point of not actually showing the crews to the point where crewmen have occasionally been digitally removed from the picture in post-production. On the program, teams are only shown requesting two tickets, so that they don't break the fourth wall. When purchasing tickets, teams must also buy them for their camera crew. Each team is accompanied by a cameraman and soundperson throughout the race.

The exact conditions that determine whether or not a time credit is awarded are unknown. However, in Season 8, two teams were stopped because of drained batteries and did not receive time credits. In early seasons, several teams were awarded time credits because of such difficulties. Sometimes, teams are delayed by production difficulties.

(See The Amazing Race 2 Trivia). However, no time credit is given for their wait in this unlucky situation. If a team's vehicle breaks down through no fault of their own, they may request a replacement vehicle without receiving a time penalty. Through lucky guessing and help from other teams, they were able to reach the Pit Stop, but were assessed a 1-hour penalty.

One exception to this was during Season 1, when Dave & Margaretta missed the cluebox at the base of the Eiffel Tower. A team that skips a Route Marker or performs a task incorrectly usually does not receive a penalty; rather, the racers will not be able to check in at the Pit Stop and will be told by host Phil Keoghan to complete the missed tasks. As no other team has quit a Detour since then, it is unknown whether that larger penalty still exists. In Season 1, Nancy and Emily voluntarily quit a Detour and received an even larger penalty: 24 hours.

In Season 7, Rob and Amber, Ray and Deana and Meredith and Gretchen also quit a Roadblock and received a 4-hour penalty that did not start until the next team arrived at the task. In Season 6, Hayden and Aaron quit a Roadblock and received a 4-hour penalty. There is a larger penalty for quitting a task voluntarily. If a clue specifies a maximum speed, a team that exceeds that speed receives a penalty (Gary and Dave, Chris and Alex, Season 2).

Speeding. Driving away in another team's car (Don and Mary Jean, Season 6). Taking more than one clue from the clue box (Freddy and Kendra, Season 6). Taking a shortcut when the clue specifies that a marked course must be followed (Andre & Damon, Season 3).

For example, a team that takes a taxi when the clue specifies that they must walk would receive a penalty (Frank & Margarita and Joe & Bill, Season 1; Heather & Eve, Season 3; Reichen & Chip, Season 4). Using a prohibited form of transportation. This penalty is known to apply in the following cases:

    . The standard penalty for minor rule infractions is 30 minutes plus the time advantage gained (if any) by disobeying the rule.

    Teams may be forced to submit their backpacks and possessions to searches by production staff at any time. For filming purposes, team members are generally required to stay within 20 feet of each other, unless one person is performing a Roadblock. This results in the sometimes cantankerous attitude of some contestants, such as Ian (Season 3) who quit smoking just prior to the race. Racers are prohibited from smoking during the race.

    (Uchenna said this when he wanted to help Meredith with the boat in Season 7.) Otherwise, teams may assist one another in completing tasks, as seen in Season 8, where many teams had help setting up their tents, and the Linz and Godlewski teams cooperated to complete a Detour. When stated, teams may not help other teams in challenges. Teams could talk on the phone as long as they wanted, but had to end the call before getting in their cars."). As CBS's website explains, "They had the option of making one phone call to their loved ones back home before driving to the chateau.

    Teams were offered a cellular phone after completing a detour. (One exception to this rule occurred in Season 3. However, teams are allowed to stay in contact with and receive help from people they meet during the race, such as travel agents. Teams are not allowed contact with known friends, family, and personal acquaintances during the race.

    Teams are allowed to be upgraded to first or business class by the airline, as long as they only paid an economy fare (Frank and Margarita, Season 1; Reichen and Chip, Season 4; Ray and Deana, Season 7). Teams must purchase economy class tickets for airfare. Season 8's Route Markers were colored yellow, white, and black. During Season 3, the production visited Vietnam; while there, the flags used were a solid yellow, to avoid confusion with the flag of Vietnam (this change was not seen when production visited China in Season 6, though, where the national colors are similar).

    The current colors were adopted in subsequent seasons so that the teams would have an easier time spotting them. The original Route Markers used in Season 1 were colored yellow and white.

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