This week was NBC's reminder to us that they are going to be covering the Olympics. The contestants headed to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. They seem to have caught the center at a time when most of the athletes were training or competing elsewhere, because everything looked pretty empty -- the cafeteria looked like a college cafeteria during summer vacation. The contestants will be competing as singles this week, and there will be a Red Line as well as the Yellow Line. One person with the lowest weight loss will be immediately knocked out, and the next two lowest-losing contestants will go to an elimination. All of this will be complicated by the fact that they are traveling, which means different food than they are used to, and that they are at high altitude. I was in Colorado Springs once and as a flatlander, I felt sick the entire time. The players aren't going to be able to work out as hard as they normally do.
The contestants interacted with a few medal-winning athletes, mostly retired ones. Most of these segments were pretty dull, other than the first segment with a Paralympian who was born with only one functioning leg, but whose mother actively encouraged her to do sports from an early age. She competes in both downhill skiing and cycling because she loves sports so much. Jillian says that as "burgeoning athletes," the contestants can learn a lot from people who have devoted their whole lives to physical activity like this athlete. They, of course, have the required Olympic torch ceremony, which seems to be moving for all of them.
Of course, because there are some Olympic and Paralympic athletes around, the contestants get to work out with them. They are led by an injured skater to do a mini-challenge on slide boards. I remember when these were a passing fad in aerobics classes. I can see why they didn't stay popular, because the contestants slipped and fell hard several times. Sam, Melissa, and Sunshine are the top three, and they are told they will each get an advantage in the main challenge this week.
The main challenge is a biathlon-style challenge at the Garden of the Gods, which is introduced by a Paralympic biathlete. The Garden of the Gods is beautiful, but we don't get to see much of it. Instead of cross-country skiing, the contestants run around a circle and then shoot a laser gun at targets. There are five targets for each player, and players get to shoot at other players' targets to knock them out of the competition. The last player with a target left wins immunity. The shooting part seems to be very easy, as we don't see a single contestant miss. Either they were allowed to do it until they hit or they were at such close range that it was easy for them. The advantage that the three winners from the last challenge got is to start any player out with hits on their targets. This turns out to be a bust: Sunshine gets one hit and she starts Sam off with one target down. Melissa follows suit with her two hits. Sam says that he'll give his three hits back to the players who hit him. So all three of them actually start out at a disadvantage rather than an advantage. In a way, this challenge gives an advantage to the players that the other players believe are the weakest, because everyone tries to eliminate the strongest players first. It comes down to O'Neal and Darryl, two of the less-athletic big guys. O'Neal wins by a whisker and has immunity.
We have a few more workouts with Olympians and the requisite Last-Chance Workout at a 24-Hour Fitness facility, but most of the rest of the show is taken up by individual weigh-ins. The weigh-ins are usually interesting for me but I caught myself dozing. Stephanie, one of my favorite players, looked like she was in trouble early on, but then Sherry, Cheryl, and Darryl fall below her so she's safe.
Melissa weighs in last, and I can see that her belly looks bloated again. It seems very odd that she would water-load on a week like this, but she gains a pound. She has a long speech prepared for the occasion about how the players needed to take care of her husband Lance, so it is quite obvious that for some reason, she made the decision to leave this week. I'm not quite sure why, although it seemed obvious from the beginning that she was there only to get Lance to his diving weight again and put him into competition for the big prize. If she and Lance had been up for elimination as a couple, the other players would have seen Lance as the bigger threat and may have chosen to send him home. Melissa was the smallest player on the show and even without weigh-in shenanigans, wasn't going to be able to keep up with the other players' weight loss. As a single, she may have seen this as an opportunity to get herself out of his way. In her "Where Are They Now" video, we see that she has lost another 24 pounds on her own. Not a bad weight loss for someone who never really seemed to have taken this whole opportunity seriously.
There is another twist for the two players below the Yellow Line. Instead of a vote, they compete in The Dumbest Challenge Ever to see who goes home. The contestants have to stand under a lit torch and have to hold the "torch stem" on the top of their heads against the bottom of torch. It doesn't look like these objects are heavy, but both players have to squat to get under the torches, and this seems especially hard for Darryl, who has bad knees. We don't see who is eliminated, but it looks like Cheryl is fairly comfortable. Neither player has gotten much airtime, so I don't have a clear sense of who to root for here. In past seasons with parent-child teams, the child has usually done much better once the parent is eliminated from the show. For this reason, I'd like to see Cheryl go home, because I think that Daris would be able to be more himself without his mom there. It's obvious that she just came on the show to help her son lose weight. Andrea seems to be doing this show primarily to get her dad healthy, so it would be nice if he could stick around for a while. This show ended before either one of them dropped their torch stem, so we will see what happens next week.