People Staff
May 05, 2009 12:00 AM

When you gotta go, you gotta go. Unfortunately for University of Louisville volleyball coach Jennifer Hoffman, 25, nature urgently called during Sunday’s mad dash to the Beijing pit stop on The Amazing Race. She and her sister Kisha Hoffman, a 29-year-old youth program coordinator from the Bronx, New York, talked to about how it was more than a bathroom break that sent them home. They also weighed in on their feud with Margie and Luke and the legal team’s language advantage. – Carrie Bell

You’re the first team to be eliminated because you stopped to go to the bathroom. Looking back, do you wish you had just peed your pants? Jen: In hindsight, we did not lose the race simply because of a bathroom break. I have gotten a lot of e-mails and phone calls and text messages saying, “I would have just peed on myself,” but you never know until you are in the situation. I don’t regret stopping. I had to pee badly and it wouldn’t have been pretty. Kisha: There were more factors than just the pee break that made us come in behind the cheerleaders. They had a fast cab driver. They got dropped off closer. They must have no gag reflex. Cara ate the bugs so fast.

Was it hard to accept going out in this way after you survived the cheese hill, your fear of drowning, bungee jumping, walking around Thailand without shoes?Kisha: It was tough to swallow. When we finished the swimming challenge and my sister overcame her biggest fear, we knew we were last. But when Phil said the leg was continuing, we felt rejuvenated. Thailand was another time when we thought, Oh my gosh, we’re gone. But we survived that too. It was hard but I’m not mad at Jen. She couldn’t help that she had to pee. She played a very strong race and gave it her best shot.

Which of the street treats was the worst?Jen: I threw up a couple of times. They were all gross. The starfish was the worst. When you eat fish, you don’t want it to taste like fish. The starfish tasted like the ocean. If you are ever thinking about ordering starfish off the menu, don’t.

Did you think you had almost gotten through the race without having to face your fear of water? Jen: Oh, heck yeah. But I knew it was coming. I knew there was no way we wouldn’t have to swim at some point because they knew that Tammy and I couldn’t swim.Had it been anybody else other than my sister with me, it would have been a done deal.

It was one of the more special race moments because lesser would have gotten very angry with their partner. Talking her off the ledge must have felt good?Kisha: I have never let her quit before. I knew she would regret it if she quit. It is an athlete thing, a coaching thing and a sister thing. She had been so strong this whole time so it was tough as a sister to see her breaking down. It helps that I am not a yeller. I am pretty patient. I just wanted to do whatever I could to help her push through it. I was proud of her.

Settle the debate: Were you laughing at Luke while he was explaining his side of the fight to Phil?Kisha: No. From the first episode, Mike called me giggles because I was always laughing. It’s something I’ve done my whole life. They were frustrated we came in first. I was disappointed with the way they handled the situation. We were like, “Everything is said and done. Let’s move on.” It was obvious they didn’t feel the same way. I work with kids. I’m a role model. I wouldn’t want any kid I coach to be laughing at someone with disabilities. I actually laughed not at his signing but because his version of the story was so different from ours. Whatever baggage you come into the race with is there for the whole race. I think Margie has always been his support system and protector … and I’m sure there are times he has been made fun of, but I was definitely not laughing at his signing.

It looked like an accidental bump blown out of proportion. Now that you’ve gotten distance from the situation, what are your thoughts on the feud with Margie and Luke?Kisha: It was absolutely blown out of proportion. Jen: I was extremely happy with the way we were edited because that’s how we are in real life. That’s what happened. It’s a competition. There will be feather ruffling and trying to get to the clue box first even if it only knocks off two seconds, but they blew it out of proportion in how they reacted. Kisha: I don’t approve of my sister calling him a b—h, but she took accountability for her actions and apologized. I don’t think they admitted they were guilty.

What did you think about the language advantage that Victor and Tammy had?Kisha: I think there are two sides to that. It was disappointing that there were three legs in China, and they definitely had an advantage there. Like Sunday’s episode, they knew the next clue was right next door while all the other teams were walking around lost with paint burning their face. But even if you speak the language, you could get a taxi driver who doesn’t know where he is going.

The restaurant translations were hilarious. How hard was the U-turn task?Jen: It didn’t take a long as we thought it would. Once we got past being pissed that we were U-turned, we came up with a plan to get through it. It was like Chinese phonics and we only had to do it four of five times. It took like 15 minutes. Think of the irony if Tammy and Victor had chosen to U-turn Cara and Jaime after all the issues they have had with languages on the Race. We didn’t know the extent of her issues, but everywhere we would go we heard her say, “Why aren’t they speaking English?” I was like, “We’re the minority here. They don’t have speak our language.”

Did the experience bring you closer? Jen: I think our relationship got better. It is natural for families to fight and bicker, but we got closer and I felt like the way we were edited is the way we are. Kisha: Our relationship definitely grew from the beginning to the end and I understand her better now. I am glad I did this once-in-a-lifetime experience with my sister. I am proud of how we did. We ran a classy race and we did it as a team.

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