ShareThis Page

Fayette County native leads her 'Amazing Race' team through African environs

| Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018, 12:36 a.m.

Fellow contestants on "The Amazing Race" have called Western Pennsylvania's Kristi Leskinen and her partner, Jen Hudak, the team to beat.

Wednesday night's episode — which featured the six remaining racing pairs, who had to do a partner swap for the first half — took competitors from their last stop in Prague to the African nation of Zimbabwe. Leskinen — a retired pro skier from Hopwood, Fayette County — and fellow skier Hudak of Utah came in first in last week's episode; in the two-hour episode this week, the team settled for second place.

In the first half of the show, the teams arrived in Harare, Zimbabwe, then took a train out to the African wilderness where elephants, lions, zebras and other savanna wildlife roam. Leskinen and Hudak, giddy on the way to the wilderness, also knew the stakes were higher, as a result of several weeks of elimination.

"Now, there's less and less room for error," Leskinen told the cameras.

The contestants started by racing to be the first to set up their tents. Then, when show host Phil Keoghan told the racers they would be swapping partners for the first adventure, paddling a small boat through water, contestants appeared floored and fearful. Pair Cody Nickson and Jessica Graf, champions of the show "Big Brother," immediately claimed Leskinen and Hudak, called Team Extreme; Nickson paired with Hudak, and Graf paired with Leskinen. Team Big Brother members said the skiers really knew what they were doing, and serious competitors.

Challenges on the first half of the episode included searching the grasslands for clues about poachers who have been killing wildlife, driving through mud and water in SUVs, and digging up big water jugs. Hudak and Nickson won this portion of the race, but Leskinen and Graf came in last. Still, new adventures awaited in the second half, when racers reunited with their usual partners and returned to the city.

"Fortunately, we're back in the race and we're still here," Leskinen said.

Once back in the city, contestants completed challenges including rolling tires through the streets to a hardware store, and delivering packages to people in a tall building. The highlight culminated with a quirky dance and singing challenge; contestants had to learn lyrics in Zimbabwe's language and an ethnic dance. Team Extreme had to try several times until the local judges approved their performance. This slowed Leskinen and Hudak down significantly, but they still managed to finish in second place.

Hudak joked that she loved performing as a skier.

"However, I was very good at skiing," she said. "I'm definitely less good at singing."

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me