The final four braved Beijing for a leg filled with massages, meltdowns and a swim meet.
Unfriendly Skies: Teams had to fly more than 1000 miles to the capital of China. The sisters left first but encountered traffic, which allowed Margie and Luke to beat them to the airport. While they waited in line, Jen asked for another salesperson’s help. When she didn’t respond, the sisters got nasty, remarking about the “dumb look patented in China” and compared the Chinese to zombies. As Margie finished booking tickets, she was told she had to go to another desk to use an international credit card. That’s when the sisters cut in front, disregarding the unspoken “respect arrival order” Race rule. Meanwhile Tammy used her language advantage for evil by requesting seats closest to the front and suggesting that other teams be put as far back as possible. (How is this not sabotage?) No Pain, No Gain: The cheerleaders had taxi luck for the first time. Their driver, who was the only driver not to get lost, sped past the other teams and arrived at the flagged massage parlor first. One teammate had to endure two cups of yucky medicinal tea and a 10-minute traditional curative foot rub that walked the line between pleasure and pain. If the player cried uncle or requested a timeout, the clock was reset. Cara teared up and cussed and decided that “having a baby had to be easier.” Tammy took deep breaths and held Luke’s hand. Luke bit his cap. All writhed in pain but no one bailed out early. The first two teams out the door wandered around unable to communicate with the cabs or find someone who knew how to get to the Guangcai Natatorium until the legal team started asking in Chinese. Victor asked one guy who said yes and the cheerleaders snagged that ride. The legal team still had a leg up as they could request drop-off at the correct entrance.
Water Babies: Teams could choose sync or swim. In sync, they had to master synchronized diving from a three-meter height, hit the water in perfect unison and score 5 from two judges. In swim, teams had to don Speedo laser suits and swim eight lengths of a giant pool (aka, a 400-meter relay). Each member had to complete 200 meters while having their time compared to Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps’s individual time. The cheerleaders finished swimming first. Margie and Luke were the last to arrive but finished with the best time (slightly more than double Phelps’s record) and were second out the door.
The legal team thought diving might be easier as new swimmer Tammy was feeling incompetent. Their first attempts were awful. (Victor looked like he simply fell off the edge a few times.) They improved each time, but switched to swimming when it seemed futile. They quickly realized they should have chosen the option originally as they had more trouble with Victor’s leg cramps (and probably bellyflop burn).
Jen was an even worse swimmer and extremely frightened of water. They chose diving, but froze once on the board and switched to swimming. Kisha completed two laps by dragging herself along the floating lane markers but Jen chickened out so they went back to the diving board. They got off the platforms twice and almost sunk twice, causing Jen to really freak out, start crying, retreat to the hallway and beg to go home. Kisha coaxed her to “finish strong,” go back to swimming and muddle through.
To Be Continued: The cheerleaders were practically hyperventilating over getting to Drum Tower pit stop first as they had never placed No. 1, but Phil had bad news when at the mat. It was the dreaded double leg. No prize for them and no conclusion to the leg for us. – Carrie Bell
Tell us: Should requesting worse seats for another team be considered sabotage? What looked easier – sync or swim? Would you rather massage gross stranger feet or endure the painful rub seen on TV?Stephen Lovekin/Getty