'Challenge: Spies, Lies & Allies' Winner Reveals Why They Split the Final Prize the Way They Did

Longtime Challenge host T.J. Lavin told the winning duo that they would have to decide how to divvy up the $1 million among the finalists

Kaycee Clark The Challenge 35
Photo: Riccardo Giardina/MTV

No more spies, lies or allies — just money.

Challenge vets Kaycee Clark and Chris "C.T." Tamburello took home a large chunk of the $1 million prize on Wednesday's finale of The Challenge: Spies, Lies and Allies.

After competing solo and in two cells, Clark, 33, picked Tamburello, 41, to run with for the last leg of the final. The Big Brother season 20 winner got to choose her partner after defeating girlfriend Nany Gonzalez in the last elimination of season 37.

"I've competed my whole entire life and when I compete, it's no mercy. I turn a switch on. I'm hyperfocused and I will rip that person apart," Clark tells PEOPLE. "For this one, I was like, 'There's no way I'm going to try and sabotage her or rip her apart.' It was just the weirdest feeling."

Clark ultimately eliminated Gonzalez, 32, and proceeded to battle the final pairs — Kyle Christie and Tori Deal as well as Emy Alupei and Devin Walker-Molaghan — with five-time champ Tamburello. Clark and Tamburello found themselves neck and neck with Christie, 29, and Deal, 28 at the very end when it came down to putting in a combination and unlocking a black diamond worth $1 million.

"I wasn't thinking about them. We saw them right behind us, but I knew that I knew my half of the code and I knew C.T. knew his. It was just about catching our breaths and getting these numbers in," Clark recalls. "Tori and Kyle were right behind us, but I knew we had to focus on us and get these numbers in. And we did. It was wild."

After taking first place, Clark and Tamburello had to decide how they would divvy up the $1 million pot among themselves and the other two pairs. They generously decided to give each couple $100,000 and keep $800,000 to split between themselves.

"I wouldn't feel right if I were to take the money," Clark tells PEOPLE.

Below, Clark reflects on overcoming an injury to win season 37, playing with the Big Brother alliance and where her relationship with Gonzalez stands since filming wrapped.

Kaycee Clark, CT Tamburello
Riccardo Giardina/MTV (2)

How does is it feel to win after exiting last season's final early with an injury that resulted in requiring surgery?
This meant everything. Coming back after the devastating injury and just working my ass off trying to get this win, it feels really good. I'm proud that my body was able to withstand everything and make it through without getting injured again.

Did you have to train differently for this season because of the injury?
Going into this season, it was four-and-a-half months after surgery. I knew I had to come back and come back even stronger, so I did everything in my power. I did so much research. I did collagen powder. I did red light therapy. I did magnesium. I did therapy two, three times a day. I'm not 100 percent healed, still right now. Usually, for this injury, it takes probably two years to fully get back. My main priority is to continue to rehab my knee, continue to take care of my body so then I can perform for the challenges. I was like, "I don't want to waste my time. I want to be here for a reason and I want to make it to the end and win." And I did just that. It's mental, too.

You stayed a little under the radar this season, but you were always seen as a major competitor. Was that gameplay a choice or is it just how things worked out?
Nany and I spent a lot of time together and we were in our own little world a lot of the time. It was the first time that we were really able to explore our connection and it was amazing. It was definitely different than the past couple of seasons on The Challenge. And so just to have someone in the house while you're experiencing this and go through this unique experience of all the stress and everything that's going on, it was awesome to have her in there. That had a lot to do with a lot of laying under the radar because we just hung out a lot. It was fun.

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Kaycee Clark
Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty

You did work with the Big Brother alliance, but that fell apart early on when Amber Borzotra entered the game. Do you see that group working together in the future?
For me, trust is everything. Actions speak louder. And I know I can trust Fessy [Shafaat] and Josh [Martinez] 1000 percent. Now with Amber, I had to gain her trust and I wasn't seeing it fully from the beginning. I kind of had to walk on eggshells with her. But the Big Brother alliance? Well, me, Josh and Fessy, we're so solid. We hang out outside of the show as well. There's a lot of times where I've been really mad at Josh, really mad at Fessy, and we just all fight like siblings. They're like my little brothers. I know they'll always have my back and I'll always have theirs. We're good.

You were also part of the veteran alliance, which, while it had its hiccups, worked to get almost all vets, with the exception of Emy, to the final.
We're just like, "You know what? We have to stick together, get the rookies out and then it's a free for all." It was crazy how we were always able to stick together. No one wanted to take that first shot against the vets. I know some people were like, "Oh, well, it's predictable." It was predictable sitting on the couch and watching it. But when you're in it, you don't know. Like, "Who can I trust? Who can I not trust? Are they going to stick with the plan?" The stress always continues. And we were able to make it happen.

Was there anyone you were surprised to have worked with?
There's a couple. So Devin, in the beginning … Josh was always telling me, "Look, we can trust him." I'm not going to just trust someone because someone tells me to. Actions speak louder. I even told Devin, "Hey, I want to trust you. Josh is telling me to." And he's like, "I totally understand." But as time went on, he showed me and I trust Devin. He grew on me. Tori grew on me too, and I trust Tori. It was cool, the transformation of how I felt about Devin in the beginning and then at the end. Tori, she's a huge competitor and we'd rather work together than against each other.

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Did you consider picking Devin for that final leg or was it always going to be C.T.?
C.T. for sure. I absolutely respect Kyle and how he competes. And same with Devin. But I knew that me and C.T. have talked about it before while we're playing pool. Like, "Hey, how cool would it be if we were partners?" And to have that opportunity where I was able to pick, I'm like, "Why would I not take the legend, right?" It was cool to be partnered up with him for the last leg. It was perfect.

Did it help to have Nany by your side for that first half of the final?
Yeah, it helped to have her by my side the whole entire season. To be able to play this game with someone that you care about and that you love, it's a whole other level. Our main goal was just to make it to the very end and cross the finish line together, and that didn't happen. But we were the only two girls that did not have to see elimination the whole entire season. Being able to run the first day of the final with her, it's awesome. We worked so well together in the house and now outside of the house. She's awesome.

What went through your head when host T.J. Lavin told you were going to have to compete against Nany?
At the very moment when we were sitting back-to-back against each other, I was like, "I care about this girl. I want her to continue. I want her to win. She hasn't won yet. I know she can finish strong and win this whole entire thing." And she felt the same for me. And I'm just thinking in my head, "I already won Big Brother. I want you to take this. I want you to take this." So, we were literally just going back and forth. I took the first one. She got the second one. And in my head, I'm literally still debating what I'm going to do. It was frustrating, but everything happens for a reason. And after that, it lit a fire up under my behind because I was angry that that had to happen. I was like, "I have to finish this strong. And there's nothing that's going to stop me." And yeah, I did just that.

Kaycee Clark and Nany González
Nany González/Instagram

Speaking of frustrating, how annoyed were you with Nelson during that square puzzle challenge?
I love Nelson so, so much. That is my guy. But when we're racing for $1 million dollars we're talking about basic shapes here, I'm like, "Look, we got to get it together, my friend." There's nothing but love for Nelson, but it starts to get frustrating. That was funny but frustrating at the same time, because our team was in last. That puzzle was holding us behind. It was frustrating. But what can you do?

How did you feel the moment you got your hands on the black diamond?
First of all, I thought I was going to pass out because the adrenaline literally takes over. You see me laying on the ground. C.T.'s trying to talk to me and I'm like, "I can't breathe. I don't even know if I'm going to be able to enjoy this money because I'm about to pass out here." I was excited but I wasn't able to cry. I couldn't feel the emotion. And I think it's because I was just shocked. Because I remember when I got second place for the girls in my first season in the final and I got $0, I was so emotional.

Why did you and C.T. decide to divide the money how you did?
You put your heart and soul into a game and you make it to the very end and you don't win and you get $0. Not a good feeling. We both came to the decision to share this money because it is a group of people that we all worked together the whole entire season and made it to the end together. So, how do you not share it? I don't think they thought that we were going to share that amount. It felt really good.

What's going on for you and Nany outside of the show?
She's amazing. People say if you can withstand going through a couple of months in a crazy pressure cooker and playing a game like The Challenge — and come out to the real world and still continue — that speaks volumes. We're good. We're together. We moved in together. We're so alike in so many ways. She's just so real, so down to earth, so caring. We go on a lot of adventures.

Can you tease what fans can expect from the upcoming Challenge reunion?
Of course, you got to have the Big Brother alliance drama. But you'll have to wait and see. It's going to be a good one!

The Challenge airs Wednesday (8 p.m. ET) on MTV.

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