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A career of standing at the top of halfpipes all over the world prepared freestyle skiers Jen Hudak and Kristi Leskinen for this: Sorting through piles and piles of dead fish.
No fear or revulsion. They just rolled up their sleeves and went to work.
And that's why these two friends are still going on the 30th edition of the CBS show "The Amazing Race." Their nickname is "Team Extreme" and they've finished in the top three of all five episodes that have aired. In all, there are 12 legs, which are compressed it into eight weeks.
The challenges have so far taken them to Iceland, Belgium, Morocco and France. There were 11 teams that began the competition, including some familiar names: Competitive eaters Joey Chestnut and Tim Janus ("Team Chomp"), former NBA players Cedric Ceballos and Shawn Marion ("Team Slam Dunk") and IndyCar racers Conor Daly and Alexander Rossi ("Team IndyCar").
"It's wild," Leskinen said. "It's the ride of your life."
Better than competing at Winter X Games or the world championships?
Both are decorated athletes in their field. Hudak is a five-time Winter X medalist, including two golds, while Leskinen has a bronze. Hudak is on hand this week at Winter X as an analyst for the women's events, while Leskinen is here to simply watch the action.
"We were the best in the world at this (the halfpipe) and we're proud of our accomplishments," Hudak said. "But 'The Amazing Race' is an incredible and unique opportunity."
So this is how they wound up on the show: Hudak applied to be on "Survivor" a few years ago and made it far into the process. She wasn't brought onto the show, but they told her to stay tuned.
Then, she got the call to be on "The Amazing Race." The next person she called? Why, her good friend Leskinen.
"She's like, 'What are you doing next week?' I said, 'I booked a flight to see my mom in Pennsylvania,'" Leskinen recounted. "Jen's like, 'Do you want to be on 'The Amazing Race' and I was like, 'My plans have changed.Yes!'"
The filming for the show took most of October. Don't ask for too many details about future shows, though, because, well, they're sworn to secrecy.
To date, they're crushing it, which is no surprise given their background. The rooting around in dead fish challenge was difficult _ for others. While some were losing their lunch, they just treated it like business as usual.
"We're up to our elbows in fish, it's splattering all over the place," Leskinen said. "Just experiencing those crazy situations (in freestyle skiing) has made us stronger to get through that kind of stuff. We're immune to it."
This stung, though: In one challenge, they won the race by about 30 minutes, but had to play a game like petanque _ similar to bocce ball _ in a head-to-head match. They ended up losing, along with $10,000.
"It was awful," Leskinen said. "We were crushing it."
— The Amazing Race (@AmazingRaceCBS) January 25, 2018
Both Hudak and Leskinen helped pioneer freestyle skiing, but never got their Olympic moment. The ski halfpipe event was only added to the Olympics at the 2014 Sochi Games.
"The fact they have a chance to compete in the Olympics now, when we watch that, it brings us a sense of joy and pride," Hudak said. "It's really cool."
— The Amazing Race (@AmazingRaceCBS) January 18, 2018