After traveling for 25 days over five continents, through 10 countries and more than 30,000 miles, the hockey brothers Bates and Anthony were the first team to reach the finish line on "The Amazing Race" and were therefore crowned the million-dollar winners.
As they reunited with the original ten teams at George Washington's home Mount Vernon, Anthony seemed thrilled he'd be able to buy new fake teeth and credited team work and his perfect partner for the win. Bates philosophized, "It's not so much the destination [as it's] the journey. To experience the world, that's priceless. I don't remember the last time I felt like this. It hasn't come from hockey in a long time."
Their win wasn't shocking by any stretch of the imagination, but they did have to come from behind and stay ahead of two other strong teams: the roller moms and the newlyweds, who had placed first three legs in a row. Here's a look at how the brothers Battaglia wound up champions.
Sink or swim?
At the start of Round 11, the teams caught a train and then a ferry from Scotland to Belfast, Northern Ireland. Once they arrived in the land of leprechauns, they had to find a Ford in a warehouse and drive it to Peatlands Park where they found a Roadblock waiting for them.
One teammate had to participate in a bog-snorkeling competition (a bizarre sport conceived over a pint of beer, of course), which was comprised of suiting up in flippers, mask, and snorkel, cannonballing into a muddy pit, and swimming a 100-yard lap through the bog in under four minutes.
Hockey finished first with a time of 2:18, mentioning that the hardest parts were squeezing into the wetsuit and dealing with mud in his nose. Katie was quick on his heels with a 3:10 time, even though she prefers tanning to swimming. Claustrophobic Mona freaked out the whole way through, but still managed to complete it on one attempt.
But singer Jen was a straight mess. She panicked, took unnecessary steps, couldn't breathe, aborted one lap by pulling herself up the bank, and threatened to quit. Partner Caroline had to pep-talk her back in the water and, with the help of a prayer, Jen finished on attempt three.
But the misstep, plus getting directions to some Celtic crop circle instead of the Thing With A Ring on a bridge where the next clue was hidden, proved too hard to bounce back from.
Country singers should write a song entitled 'Bog Blues' #amazingrace— PMarlin (@zgator66) May 6, 2013
Service without a smile
The Detour gave the teams the choice of Tray It or Spray It. The newlyweds, hockey brothers, and roller moms all chose Tray It, which sent them to the dry dock where the Titanic was built. One player had to pick and plate each of the five courses while the other ran up and down the stairs to serve the food in the right order to the right people.
To make it a little more challenging, the seating chart only referenced the two plates each. The courses where no option was given were marked on the menu that was outside the kitchen tent. All of the teams were confused by this to varying degrees.
Katie caught it before making a single trip to the dining tent, Anthony figured it out after he'd sent Bates downstairs with one wrong course, and the poor roller moms didn't catch on until the other two teams had practically finished the task. The runners had a hard time reeling in their frustration, especially Beth, which led this viewer to wonder:
I'd like to see what happened to a waiter who said "oh crap" after serving the wrong course to first class Titanic passengers #amazingrace— Tom Fisher (@thfisher) May 6, 2013
It was also an issue that no one seemed to know what color chartreuse is. Plus, Anthony dropped a tray trying to deliver it to his very frustrated (and showing it) sibling. Yet they still came in to the pit stop at Ulster Hall, a venue that has hosted everyone from Charles Dickens to Led Zeppelin, only a minute after the newlyweds hit Phil's mat and won a trip to the Dominican Republic.
The singers were the only ones to choose Spray It, which asked them to find a skate park and then finish the second half of a piece of graffiti art, using spray paint and a photo only. They made quick work of it, but it was too little, too late, and they were sent packing at the pit stop.
Pinting for home
The final trio hopped the same ferry for Liverpool and then went on to London, where they had to find a certain pub and order a pint of beer. The next clue explained that they should head to Washington, D.C., to where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his "I have a dream" speech. The playing field was equalized once again when they all got on the same plane to the U.S.A.
The brothers, who were third to find the bar, were actually the third duo to arrive at the spot where the civil rights leader recited those famous lines at the Lincoln Memorial. That clue promised that a secret service agent at 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue would escort teams inside to meet the president.
This sent the teams into tailspin mode, especially Max the "unapologetic Republican," as well as the audience. Viewers were quite vocal about Obama not having time to hand out clues on reality TV, like this tweeter:
I was going to be pissed off if Obama was actually on #AmazingRace. I don't pay that man to appear on reality tv.— Jaci Greggs (@jacigreggs) May 6, 2013
But the egg was on their gullible faces when they realized security had delivered them to a novelty photo shop and they digitally had their face time with POTUS. It also put the moms a little behind, because they attempted to meet with the president at his house, which is on the 1600 block of Pennsylvania.
Spies like us
After they found a marked car at the tidal basin and gave the secret knock, the twosomes were given a suitcase to exchange in a Roadblock Switchback.
Bates, Max, and Beth wandered around trying to find the one in 50 agents who would give the correct secret answer to their secret question and exchange briefcases with them, as well as give them a clue on how to decipher the combination. Bates was first to find his guy and as he'd taken copious notes, he had no issues opening it and figuring out that he had to make his way to Nationals Stadium. It was also on this task that they secured a big enough lead over the other two that they ensured victory, barring a big screw-up.
On the field, one player got to zipline across the stadium in mid-air, dropping balls for their partner who needed to catch one in order for them to get the next clue. And they had to do it while wearing a very unbecoming and unwieldy inflatable baseball mascot's uniform, complete with giant baseball cap/mask.
While it took a few tries, the hockey brothers completed this task and were on their way to Hains Point for the next challenge before either of the competitors showed. Max took a few more throws (or, should we say, drops) to be successful, while the moms struggled and needed 17 attempts.
More balls were in store in the next phase. This time, a contestant had to jump in a giant pit of blowup globes to find ones that had each of the 10 countries they visited highlighted. The other contestant then had to line them up sequentially.
Anthony did the fishing and Bates the stacking. Despite Indonesia giving them a hard time once again, they completed the task before another team arrived, and the clue sent them on their merry way to the aforementioned Mount Vernon.
Folks in the Twittersphere seemed mostly happy with the outcome, even if it was only because it meant Max and Katie couldn't get their claws on the cheddar.
SO happy a GOOD KIND FUNNY team won the #Amazingrace and not some mean nasty despicable team that didn't deserve it! ahem...(max katie)— KC Crawford (@Charly871) May 6, 2013
Congrats to my old Leafs liney Bates Battaglia and his bro Anthony on winning the Amazing Race! Way to go Bates!— Boyd Devereaux (@wakingsound) May 6, 2013
Even ex-opponents ended the season on a good note:
Bates and Anthony were our boys, so if we couldn't win, we sure were happy they did! Love the whole Amazing Race cast & family! What a trip!— Caroline Cutbirth (@TXSweetCaroline) May 6, 2013