Dancing and Detours contributed to Zac and Laurence's elimination on 'The Amazing Race'

Dancing and Detours contributed to Zac and Laurence's elimination on 'The Amazing Race'
by: Sheri Block

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Zac Sunderland accomplished a near impossible feat by being the youngest person to ever sail solo around the world but learning medieval dancing on “The Amazing Race” was another story. 

The 19-year-old, who was eliminated this week with his father Laurence, struggled with a Roadblock challenge where he had to perform three dances from the Renaissance era in a period costume.

“That was definitely my least favourite (Roadblock) of the show. When I originally signed up I thought it was going to be more jumping out of planes and stuff. I did the best I could but it took me a little longer than normal to get the choreographed dancing down I’d say,” says Zac, who doesn’t have any plans to further his skills.

“Medieval dancing in tights and a ponytail? It’s not really something I’ll be going back to anytime soon.”

The leg of the ‘Race’ actually started off as a promising one for the father-son adventure team, when they took a gamble on a different flight out of Malawi that got them into Copenhagen more than two hours earlier than all the other teams.

But when they got to Vor Frelsers Kirke Tower, they found out it didn’t open until the next morning at 7:30 a.m., allowing all of the other teams except Amani and Marcus (who took a later flight) to catch up.

After the tower opened, the teams had to climb to the top in order to find out the name of their next destination, which was Frederiksborg Castle.

Once there, Zac got suited up in costume to learn the dances and even though he and his father were one of the last teams to leave, they were able to make up some time at the Detour challenge. But another delay ensued when they found out they had been U-turned, which meant they’d have to complete both sides of the Detour, by grandparents Bill and Cathi Alden.

But even still, Laurence says there are no hard feelings.

“I did give them a bit of a guilt complex when I saw them next. I said, ‘So you guys U-turned a struggling father of eight?’” he says with a laugh. “No, that was all in jest . . . It’s a game at the end of the day with very high stakes and you’ve got to be prepared for the good, the bad and the ugly.”

After completing both tasks, Laurence and Zac then got lost for about an hour and a half on the way to the Pit Stop.

All of these factors ultimately sealed their elimination.

“Any one of those things could’ve sent a team out but four in a row was a little much,” says Laurence. “But it wasn’t an embarrassing exit. I think we gave it all we had and it was just unfortunate at the end of the day.”

Zac was only 17 when he completed his journey of sailing around the world in July of 2009 -- a feat his younger sister Abby also tried to accomplish at the age of 16 last summer. But the younger Sunderland had to be rescued when her mast was destroyed by a massive wave in the Indian Ocean. Zac says there were definitely some things he learned from his experience, where he faced everything from mechanical breakdowns to pirates, that helped him on the ‘Race.’

“Sleep deprivation and learning how not to be a tourist in different cultures, just jumping in head first and making things happen,” he says.

“The thing about the Race was you always knew you were going to be safe to some extent . . . my trip around the world was 13 months and two days of adventure, months at sea and different things, so a bit different but a lot of the things kind of carried over to one another.”

He adds that it was nice to do an adventure with his dad and that they bonded over the experience.

“We’ve done a lot of different travels around the world before that and it was kind of cool to be able to put it to a race and see how we did,” says Zac, who is working on his captain’s license and is already planning his next sailing trip around the world.

Laurence concurs and says he is so proud of his son.  

“Zac’s done an amazing amount for a young man and running the ‘Race,’ I couldn’t have thought of anyone better to run it with. He’s fit, he gets on with it, we tried to stay away from any drama or conflict and just knocked out the challenges and enjoyed it.”



About SheriSheri Block has been covering entertainment for CTV.ca since 2008. In addition to covering Will and Kate’s Royal Wedding in London, Sheri’s highlights have included going on tour with “Canadian Idol,” being a stand-in on “Canada’s Next Top Model” and meeting Colin Farrell at the Toronto International Film Festival.Follow her on Twitter!


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