Dramatic ‘Amazing Race’ Finale: And The Winner Is…

by | May 7, 2012 at 10:42 AM | The Amazing Race

An 'Amazing' Finish for Rachel and Dave (Photo: CBS)

The Amazing Race” fans sweated out a dramatic conclusion to Season 20, where for the first time in race history, one team crossed the finish line thinking they’d won — but were turned away for what could have been a million-dollar mistake!

After traveling 40,000 miles in 22 cities and five continents, it was an exciting race to the finish in Hawaii on Sunday’s edge-of-your-seat season finale. The final four teams hopscotched from Cochin, India, to Hiroshima, Japan, and finally on to Honolulu, as they endured challenges like a Japanese game show task involving rubber chickens and a treadmill — Watch Some Brutal Wipeouts in the Clip Below! — as well as a frightful, height-defying Tower climb and rappel, an ice-shaving Detour, and Hawaiian sledding (which isn’t as fun as it sounds).

Army officer Dave and his wife Rachel reached the finish line first, as all the eliminated teams lined the million-dollar mat and excitedly cheered the winners to the big finish.

But wait, host Phil Keoghan is scowling! And this time, the host known for his fake-outs, wasn’t kidding. Phil informed the dazed and confused duo that he could not declare them the winners because they had skipped the Roadblock entirely! The screw-up sent Rachel and Dave back into the game, and they must have been in shock since they barely reacted to the anti-climactic moment.

In its 20 seasons, the Emmy-winning reality show has never had that happen, and even Phil couldn’t believe he had to deliver the bad news.

But the race was theirs to lose all along, and in the end, it didn’t matter. The team that was ahead of them — Art and J.J. — were foiled by the sloppy sled slide (Art wanted to strangle the narrow sled after nearly 20 very costly failed attempts), as Rachel breezed through the final challenge. She and Dave then hoped back on their paddleboards, sailing their way to the win for real this time.

And so, Dave and Rachel Brown ended up being the first couple to cross the finish line twice and ultimately won the $1 million prize. They beat unpopular “Big Brother” couple Brendon and Rachel, who finished second and border patrol agents Art & JJ, who came in third (dating divorcees Vanessa and Ralph were eliminated earlier in the episode).

“‘Operation Amazing Race’ has been a success,” Dave said after all the excitement. The Army couple’s first-place finish also marked another moment “Race” history — Dave and Rachel now hold the record for the most wins in a season by coming in first for eight legs of the race.