By DERRIK J. LANG
LOS ANGELES — LaKisha Hoffman and Jennifer Hoffman rode past the Harlem Globetrotters to win “The Amazing Race.”
The sisters, both coaches originally from Chicago, crossed the finish line first to win the CBS reality series’s $1 million grand prize. Despite never landing on the mat first on any leg of the around-the-world race’s 18th edition, the sisters overcame Globetrotter teammates Nathaniel “Big Easy” Lofton and Herbert “Flight Time” Lang to win the final leg that aired Sunday.
“The only time it matters winning a leg is this last leg,” LaKisha Hoffman said.
The athletic teams battled for the top spot after traveling from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to Miami, Fla. The Hoffmans said in a phone interview after Sunday’s finale that the most influential part of their win was a Miami taxi driver named Louis, who helped them decipher clues with his smartphone and guided them along the route to the finish line.
“Our cab driver was an angel sent from heaven,” said Jennifer Hoffman, who added that she wanted to find him to tip him some of their $1 million prize.
That wasn’t the case for father-and-daughter duo Gary and Mallory Erwin, who lingered in third place after their driver got lost on the way to a dry dock boat challenge. The race’s outcome was clear during the final task: setting up a trailer. The teams worked side by side so their trailer encampments mimicked a photo in a mobile home brochure.
“I’m gonna be livin’ in one of these if I don’t win this,” Mallory Erwin teased.
In visibly windy conditions, the Hoffmans constructed their trailer first and charged past the Globetrotters on tricycles to the finish line at the other side of the Seven Mile Bridge. Lofton and Lang, who came in first during the previous two legs of the competition, realized on the bridge that they wouldn’t be able to catch the Hoffmans.
“We got beat out by a couple girls, but that’s OK,” Lang joked at the finish line.
The Hoffmans’ win marks the second time in the race’s history an all-female has taken the top spot.
LaKisha Hoffman, a social work graduate student, said Sunday that she would use part of her winnings to pay off her student loans, while Jennifer Hoffman said she would use her money to contribute to several charities. They called their win “the best Mother’s Day present ever” for their single mother.
The 18th edition of “The Amazing Race” featured 11 teams of veteran contestants who had never won the show’s grand prize. The race began at a wind farm in Palm Springs, Calif., and included stops in Australia, Japan, China, India, Austria and Liechtenstein.
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