When it comes to The Challenge finals, you never know what to expect. The grueling race for the top prize usually lasts two days, has some kind of sleep deprivation/overnight portion, and involves gross eating challenges that result in more puking you'd think the human body can produce in one sitting. The Challenge finals have exhausted even the best of the best competitors over 40-plus seasons, and despite previous experiences on Survivor, Big Brother, The Amazing Race, and Love Island, no one on The Challenge: USA has ever done anything like this before.
But if you ask Survivor winner Tyson Apostol, he's not feeling anxious at all about what's coming in Wednesday's two-hour season finale. "If I can't finish, then nobody will be finishing, so I'm not too worried about that," he tells EW on set in Buenos Aires, days before the final. "And if they design something that hard, then that doesn't make for great TV."
Standing in the Challenge: USA compound the morning after the nighttime mini-final challenge (which viewers will see in the first hour of the season finale), Apostol is feeling even more confident that he has no real competition going into the final. "I'm the only one that's walking normal today, which is crazy," he says. "Ben [Driebergen] can barely stand on two feet and his arm is falling off. Dom [Abbate] has herniated 14 discs in his back, which I don't even know if there's that many discs in there to begin with. Enzo [Palumbo], I mean he's been hurt since long before this show even started. And Danny [McCray] is good at football, which I don't think is going to be the final. If the final is football, then I'm in trouble."
Jonne Roriz/CBS Tyson Apostol on 'The Challenge: USA'
Those are big words from someone who's never competed in a Challenge final before, but Apostol knows he's the favorite to win. "I think if the final is truly 100 times harder than the mini-final was yesterday, then my biggest competition is myself," he says. "Because I don't want to take second to myself. That would suck. But also then I would also win."
But not every cast member shares his confidence. Big Brother alum Alyssa Lopez has one massive fear going into the final: "I think I would be most worried about any type of eating challenge," she says. "I would just be throwing up a s--- ton, so I'm a little worried about that just because I can get nauseous easily if someone is throwing up next to me. I'd say I'm going to eat it, but I don't know what it is until it's on the plate, so eating part of a final is what I'm most worried about."
Survivor winner Sarah Lacina thinks her career as a cop means she'll be ready for anything during a final, but she and Lopez have one thing in common (despite being on opposite alliances). "I mean, I face scary stuff all the time at work," she says. "Being a police officer, you constantly have to adapt and overcome, so there's not a lot that I was really worried about — except I really hate the gross food eating. Literally if you made me eat a tomato, I would throw up, so just fingers crossed we don't see any of that."
Survivor winner Driebergen is definitely suffering some consequences from pushing himself during the two-hour mini-final, and that's got him worried about what he'll be able to handle in the upcoming race. "What am I most worried about if I make the final? Honestly, my body," he admits with a laugh. "It's getting to the end of the season, I've got a lot of bumps and bruises, but I'm a 'green light, go!' kind of guy and I know once we get into the motion of everything, I'm going to be my own worst enemy. So as long as I have a good attitude, a good drive, I think I can win this thing."
Survivor runner-up Abbate is on the same page as Driebergen. "My biggest fear in the final is that my body falls apart," he says. "I'm a little bit hurting the day after this mini-final. And if T.J. [Lavin, the host] is telling the truth that this actual final's going to be 100 times harder, I am in for some trouble, but I'm going to rest up, stretch, get the body right so that when the time comes, I'll be ready to go."
With the way some of the men are struggling after the mini-final, Love Island winner Justine Ndiba isn't feeling great about getting paired with them during the final if they won't be able to keep up. "There's no holding back now; I didn't come this far just to wimp out at the last minute, so I feel good. I feel ready," she says. "If there's anything I'm worried about in this final is if we potentially have to work with some people because I know what I'm capable of, I know what I'm able to push myself to do, but I don't know about other people."
What's on The Amazing Race finalist Cayla Platt's mind before the final is the fear of not learning from her past blunder. "I'm most worried about being stumped on something in a final — I'm not worried about the physicality, I'm not worried about the endurance," she says. "I lost Amazing Race and came in second because of a very dumb mistake, and I'm just most afraid that I will repeat the same mistakes."
Jonne Roriz/CBS Host T.J. Lavin on 'The Challenge: USA'
Despite dominating in the daily challenges all season long, Big Brother alum Angela Rummans knows that even the smallest mistake in a puzzle could set her back in the final, so she's keeping her expectations realistic. "I was a professional pole vaulter, I was a level 10 gymnast, I've done stunt training before, so I feel I'm very prepared in the physical sense," she says. "I'm hoping there's not too many great equalizers because that might be somewhere that I do struggle in… I still have no clue what to expect out of the final."
But Survivor alum McCray is in high spirits. As a major Challenge fan, he wants to get "one of those classic two-day challenges" to show everyone that he's not "a one-trick pony."
"Just being a nice guy and being likable is not the only thing that I can do," he says. "And my body feels great." Of course, he's still a little worried about what's coming in the final. "Long swims absolutely suck. And give me an easy puzzle, maybe some equations, some math and I'll be fine. But tangrams and jigsaw puzzles, that's not for me."
Check out what else the competitors said about the upcoming final in the video above. The two-hour finale of The Challenge: USA airs Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.
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