The Amazing Race Introduces Contestant With Asperger’s Syndrome
The last season of The Amazing Race featured the show’s first deaf player, who made it all the way to the final leg. Among this season’s teams will be one with a contestant who has Asperger’s syndrome. Zev Glassenberg, 26, will journey through eight countries in 21 days for a chance at $1 million — a challenge Glassenberg is looking forward to.
“It’s one of my favorite shows and I thought it would be a really, really cool experience,” he tells DisabilityScoop.com. “It’s basically a scavenger hunt around the world and I like to do scavenger hunts, so why not do one around the world?”
His partner will be his longtime friend Justin Kanew, 30, who he says will be there to help him with the aspects of travel that might prove most trying for him. Aspergers, an autism-spectrum disorder, is a condition in which have extreme difficulties understanding or participating in social interactions.
“He’s one of my very, very good friends,” Glassenberg said. “We met at a sports camp in Massachusetts in 2003 where we taught football together. We’re pretty much alike. He’s a little bit older than I am but we both have the same common interests — sports and hanging out and just having a good time.”
Glassenberg says he’d wanted to apply for the show for the last seven seasons and does not think having Asperger’s syndrome should hurt his chances at the $1 million prize. “I’ve had Asperger’s since I was 11. It really doesn’t mean much to my life,” he says. “It’s just something I do and I guess I live with it. I don’t really spend too much of my life on that — it’s just something that’s there.”
Although he admits the social aspects of traveling the world on a reality show competition are “little overwhelming,” the same could be said for any of the teams.
“I thought we had as good a shot as anybody to win the race,” Glassenberg says. “I just wanted to go and be myself and do my thing.”
The Amazing Race premieres Sept. 27 on CBS. –Michael Y. ParkMonty Brinton/CBS