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'The Amazing Race' exit interview: Jamal and Idries

Newsflash: The delivery men actually can swim

By Diane Vadino Feb 26, 2013 4:59PM

Twin brothers Jamal and Idries Abdur-Rahman seemed destined for a good run in the race -- until a swimming challenge undid them. When we spoke to them, we found out that they actually can swim -- just not with much confidence in the open ocean -- and got their kids' take on their dads' resilient effort. 

Bing: 'The Amazing Race' | Phil Keoghan

MSN TV: I'm sure you guys were nervous from the get-go about challenges involving water. When did you realize that you were really in trouble? I'd think maybe as early as the plane ride to Bora Bora. 

Jamal: Honestly, believe it or not, I wasn't that worried about facing a water challenge. I guess that I underestimated the fear I might feel when I was faced with being in the water. I know how to swim, and I'm not uncomfortable being in pools, but I've never really spent any significant amount of time in large bodies of water. Being in a deep, vast body of water for someone who has never really spent time in bodies of water like that is intimidating. 

When's the first time (if it happened) that one of you said to the other, This might not go well?  

Idries: On leg two, when we got the initial clue and it was laminated, we knew that we were not leaving Bora Bora, and we knew that water would again be involved.    

Can you talk me through a bit of your decision making process? The way we saw it at home, it seemed quite binary: either finishing the pearl-diving challenge or taking the penalty. Did you not talk about the possibility of the table-setting option earlier? 

Jamal: Our decision-making process was fatally flawed, and looking back now I can only attribute our flawed approach to fear. I was so intimidated by the task at hand -- the pearl-diving challenge -- that tunnel vision set in, and I honestly never even considered doing the table-setting challenge. It's so amazing to me now that that actually happened.

What had been your plan of attack for swimming challenges? 

Jamal: Since we can actually swim, my brother and I didn't think that we needed to devise a specific plan of attack for any swimming challenges. We did take some refresher swimming courses at the YMCA leading up to the race, just to make sure that we were as ready as we could be. Our issue was a lack of comfort in the open water, and unfortunately there aren't enough YMCA swimming classes in the world to prepare you for that. 

Did you watch last season's episode with Brent (a non-swimmer) in the pool in Moscow and wonder if you were headed for a similar challenge? 

Idries: I did watch that episode, and I did feel his pain. Honestly, though, I hoped that if we did have a water challenge on the race, it would be something like that. I'm no synchronized swimmer by any means, but I can swim end-to-end in a pool, and I hoped that if we had to have a water challenge, it would be in a setting like that.

What was your kids' reaction to seeing you struggle with the challenge but stick in there? 

Idries: I would love to say that my kids were proud, but being between the ages of four to 14 for me and two to 11 for Jamil, they were just embarrassed seeing their dad and uncle on TV without shirts.  I hope that in the future they'll see the situation for what it was -- besides two flabby, shirtless guys struggling in the water.


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"The Amazing Race" airs Sundays on 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.