The former Grand Slam tennis champion was the first to be eliminated this season

By Gabrielle Olya
September 13, 2014 08:00 AM
Trae Patton/Getty

Tennis superstar Zina Garrison is used to being in charge.

Formerly the world’s No. 1 junior tennis player and a Grand Slam champion, Garrison – whose starting weight was 263 lbs. – has focused her efforts on coaching others since retiring from the sport. Letting go of control is a lesson she will take with her from her time on The Biggest Loser, even though her stay on the show was brief after being eliminated the first week.

“Coming off from being a coach and being in control of everything, I learned that in order for me to really get my weight under control, I had to rely on the professionals on this show,” she told reporters on Friday. “That was a big thing.”

Garrison, 50, failed to complete the first challenge – a volleyball-inspired obstacle course – and collapsed just feet short of the finish line.

“I remember looking over and seeing [trainer] Jessie [Pavelka] and just trying my best to get to him,” she said. “I looked over and noticed that the hoop that I needed to put the ball in was way to the right, and I kept hearing everybody say, ‘Don’t let the ball fall!’ The next thing I knew, the doctors were around me.”

After losing the challenge, Garrison was sent to Comeback Canyon along with fellow contestant Vanessa Hayden, where she continued training with Biggest Loser veteran Bob Harper.

“I was excited to go to Comeback Canyon, and also to see Bob,” said Garrison. “I never really watched the show that much, but I did know Bob was on it, so I was excited about that!”

At the Comeback Canyon weigh-in, Garrison lost only 8 pounds while Hayden lost 14, and Garrison was sent home for good. However, just because she’s off the show doesn’t mean she hasn’t remained committed to her weight loss.

“I had gotten to the point, from [ages] 40 to 50 when I gained all my weight, that I stopped moving. Bob, Jen [Widerstrom] and Jessie, they all were like, ‘Just keep moving, just keep moving!’ I wear the Garmin that we wore on the show every day. I notice how many steps [I’m taking], how much exercise [I’m doing], and that’s keeping me on track.”

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