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Posted: 5:23 p.m. Monday, Dec. 9, 2013

Post-mortem: Nicole and Travis Jasper talk about 'Amazing Race' third-place finish 

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Nicole Travis Jasper finale
CBS
Nicole and Travis Jasper of Atlanta read the clue to the final roadblock, which Nicole took 21 tries to land a sack of flour 150 feet high onto a target going 60 miles per hour.

By Rodney Ho

Travis Jasper, an Atlanta ER doctor, makes no bones about the fact he's really competitive. So when he watched his wife Nicole struggle on multiple roadblocks near the end of the just concluded season of CBS's "The Amazing Race," he got upset. He became a little verbally nasty.

Viewers who liked the couple early soured on Travis.

In a follow-up interview today, Travis admitted he got a wee bit upset at times because he didn't have control over Nicole's inability to finish roadblocks in a timely fashion. But he said with one exception, he managed to get to the mat where host Phil Keoghan stood with a smile on his face. As you may have noticed last night, Nicole was more upset at the finish line than Travis was. His philosophy: "Play hard but when the game is over, move on."

He also said the purported rivalry between them and the "Afghanimals" Leo and Jamal was vastly overstated, though it appeared to them after the fact that Leo and Jamal were stoking it. Nicole said after each leg, the producers would ask them about Leo and Jamal and they would talk about how the pair would lie and how that was not cool.

The repetitiveness of their message (courtesy of the editors) came across as sanctimonious and self righteous, especially since they themselves didn't play a 100% clean game. (Travis one time pressed all the buttons on an elevator to slow another team down.)

Travis said he was very complimentary toward Leo and Jamal to their faces. His beef: they are a good team. Why lie and create mischief? It was unnecessary!

I was wondering: if Travis was so upset with Nicole's recent performances on the roadblocks, why did he let her do the final one? They were aware that in previous finales of the show, the producers would throw out two roadblocks. They figured this particular one was not physical so Nicole should do it. (Notably, the other two teams thought the same thing and placed the women in the planes.).

They wanted to save Travis for a more rigorous roadblock that never came.

While Amy was able to drop the sack of flour from 150 feet at 60 miles per hour onto a target on her second try, Nicole couldn't do it until her 21st time. That placed them an hour behind the other couples and effectively ended their shot at $1 million, especially since the next two challenges did not involve much luck.

"That's the thing about 'The Amazing Race,' " said Nicole, a true super fan of the show. "There are variables you can control and those you can't. There is a lot of luck involved in the game. But you still try to strategize. I was trying to time the drop based on speed and height. I just couldn't do it for a long time."

Ultimately, $1 million winners Amy and Jason were able to finish that leg one hour ahead of runners up Tim and Marie and two hours ahead of Travis and Nicole.

"We knew these teams were good. This was not a time for them to mess up. Unfortunately, that deficit was too big for us to close the gap," Nicole said.

Travis also messed up his hand accidentally punching the glacier on the next challenge, which made the final challenge even tougher, he said. This was not shown on screen, probably because in the end, it didn't matter.

They did gut through all the challenges, saying the goal was to get to the finish line even with the knowledge they weren't going to win."I was doing everything in my power not to pass out before I stopped trying," Travis said.

"It was unusual," Nicole noted. "In past legs, we'd be a few seconds apart, a few minutes apart. The widest gaps we had were in this final leg."

One thing was for sure: Nicole and Jasper became very close friends with the winners Amy and Jason. They even had Thanksgiving dinner together in Atlanta and Nicole and Travis have flown up to Providence, R.I. to visit. "We will be life-long friends," Nicole said. "This race was just the catalyst that brought us together." 

Amy's most altruistic move was helping Nicole with the robot in the second-to-last leg before moving on.

"We said we would always do whatever we could to help each other," Nicole said. "They followed through on their word. We did, too. They're a great team."

While in the race, she said, it was hard to put the whole challenge in perspective.

"This is just a race," she said. "We're going back home. We have families. We have our lives. We have our careers. Although this did not end the way we wanted, we still did really well. We are really proud of that."

So was Travis proud of wearing that red speedo in Tokyo to jump into a phone booth filled with water and goldfish?

"No comment," he said, with a chuckle.

Rodney Ho

About Rodney Ho

I cover local radio and TV for both the print and online editions. I write a blog on the same topics.

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