Emily Bushnell and Molly Sinert were on their last leg in more ways than one on Wednesday’s “The Amazing Race 34” finale. Emily had been nursing her injured left leg halfway through the race, and, it turns out, injured the right one running the final leg in Nashville. The long-lost twins, who reunited in March 2021, were the underdogs of the final three and had a brief lead at the start of the leg until their navigation issues reared its head again. But they managed to climb catch up at the final memory task and ultimately finish second.
Find out why the duo had so much trouble getting around and what you didn’t see that also cost them some precious time.
Gold Derby: Congratulations on second. I know it’s not $1 million, but I feel like second is appropriate since you’re twins. Do you agree?
Molly: [Laughs] I mean, $1 million would be great too!
Gold Derby: What was it like watching it with everyone at the watch party last night?
Molly: Oh, it was so much fun. It was very loud, so my voice is very scratchy. The other racers that didn’t run the final leg, they didn’t know how it went down, so it was cool to see their reactions and hear everyone cheering for all the teams.
Emily: It was fun to be reunited. The last time we saw each other, we had just finished the leg in Nashville and we were exhausted and tired and had to get on a plane very early the next morning, so it was nice to have an opportunity to reconnect in person.
Gold Derby: I feel like you were the people’s champions. A lot of fans were rooting for you to win. You were so gritty – the perseverance with your leg, Emily. Did you feel that love from fans?
Emily: I did. I posted on Instagram. It is so overwhelming and it is so unexpected to have all the love and support of America. I’m still blown away by it. Thank you to all. It’s incredible.
Molly: Never thought in a hundred years that people would cheer us on. We’re just normal girls living this life. It’s incredible to know we’ve been able to bring some joy to people’s lives and make them smile, and so we’re just really grateful for the whole experience.
Gold Derby: How is your leg? What was the exact injury?
Emily: What is the official — you say it so beautifully.
Molly: She had bilateral stress fractures. Stress fractures in her tibia and both of her knees.
Emily: Thank you. My left leg was fractured. It was a deeper fracture. I dunno if deeper is the right word, but it was a bigger fracture. [Laughs] I think the right leg was fractured in Nashville because I didn’t have any pain until I got home the next day. It was a lot. My bones are fully healed. It took about eight weeks. I’ve been in physical therapy. I hope to get back up and running within the next month.
Gold Derby: You really went all out on the last leg then. On your literal last leg.
Emily: She was yelling at me.
Molly: [Laughs] We could’ve won if you had run faster!
Gold Derby: Were you guys ever close to withdrawing?
Emily: There was a moment when we finished in Toulouse. We woke up the next morning and I literally could not move. I could not get out of bed to go to the bathroom. I had to lean against the wall and hop on my right foot. At that point, I immediately thought we’re done. … We got on the bus – they got me a wheelchair – and Phil [Keoghan] said, “We actually have an extra rest day.” I was encouraged by a lot of people not to give up and see how things will be the next few days. I had round-the-clock care. The medics were giving me anti-inflammatories. I had ice. I stayed off my feet 100 percent when we were at the Pit Stops, only getting up for the bathroom. I was able to get myself into a stable enough position at the start of each leg to start. [Laughs] If at any point my body said, “No way,” I would’ve backed out, but it was only that one moment in Toulouse when I couldn’t walk.
Gold Derby: It didn’t seem like you had that much trouble scaling the bridge.
Emily: The bridge was actually pretty easy. The difficulty that I had was with the pounding and the running. It was the hard impact. With the bridge, I was able to take slower, careful steps. It was a lot more rolling my heel as opposed to just pounding, pounding, pounding on the pavement. I know a lot of fans were worried about the high wire and the bicycle, but those were actually things that lent themselves well to my injury.
Gold Derby: And I’m sure the ice cold water in Iceland helped.
Emily: Oh, yeah!
Gold Derby: You were so good at the tasks, but you were often tripped up by navigation and finding places. Why did you have trouble?
Molly: [Laughs] We for some reason could not communicate with what I was seeing or my directions to her driving. I hate to say it, but she’s very, like, go with the flow.
Emily: Don’t hate to say it. It’s true.
Molly: I felt like I was intentionally looking for signs and things and I was supposed to be telling her to turn, but she was like, “Oh, the parking’s over there.” Like, “Yes, it’s over there! You should’ve turned!” [Laughs]
Emily: We were past it by that point. There was no way. We were two lanes away.
Molly: But you could’ve ripped it over.
Emily: I know, but I don’t like to break rules. [Laughs] … I think there’s a disconnection, like Molly was saying. She’s looking at the map and signs, and I’m just driving and I guess I am a little uptight. I’m in a foreign country, I don’t really know the road signs. I couldn’t remember, for the life of me, the names of the roads we were supposed to be turning on.
Molly: Claire’s technique of the Post-It notes and handing them to Derek was really smart. I think that was part of it. I would say turn on Circus Road and she’d be like, “What street?” And I’d be like, “That one that just passed.” [Laughs]
Gold Derby: How much time did you lose missing the turn to the bridge and then driving the wrong way after the Roadblock?
Molly: If you combine two, probably 15 minutes. … I think that was the difference [between first and second]. It did affect it, not just the temporal aspect but the mentality. We were not thinking as as clearly.
Emily: We did continue to make mistakes after that as well. You just didn’t see it.
Gold Derby: What happened?
Molly: When we go the ticket to the auditorium, in my mind, it was a ticket to go into that bar, where there’s a stage and there was a show. So I’m in line waiting to give this guy my ticket and he’s like, “I can’t do anything with this.” Like, oh, my God, we have to go somewhere else. That probably added another three minute.
Emily: Yeah. Should we share about the locked doors? When we got to the memory challenge, there were 15 doors and all of them were locked except one. We each pulled a door that was locked, we were like, “Oh, my God, we’re in the wrong place.” We didn’t think to open every single door, which duh! We ended up going around the building. We were going slow, we weren’t running. We were defeated at that point.
Molly: You were! I wasn’t! [Laughs]
Gold Derby: But it had to feel good when you saw the other two teams were still there.
Molly: Oh, yeah. In my head, I knew we just had to get there because we could do well at the memory challenge and we really did. It was like a bright light seeing them there, thinking, “Yeah, we can still win.”
Gold Derby: Emily, how difficult was the piano task with the pounding and having to do it in the 11-second timeframe?
Emily: Getting it in all in the timeframe was tough. Molly was kind enough to take the side of the keyboard that was more spread out. But we have short legs, so jumping from one key to another was challenging. We had the right keys in the right order.
Molly: Just executing the accuracy of the steps was difficult. They showed me a couple times — I’d hit one key and I’d go a grapevine to the next one whereas Derek and Claire could just step and go. It was a fun challenge. The orchestra up top — it felt very much like “We Are the Champions.” [Laughs]
Gold Derby: You saw Derek and Claire leave. Did you think you could catch up when you finished?
Emily: Definitely. You just never know.
Molly: Especially when we ripped the clue and it was figure out what building this is and figure out how to get there. Those are opportunities for someone to get tripped up or go to the wrong building. That’s why I was telling her to run, like they can make a mistake and we can get there first.
Gold Derby: I liked when you asked for directions and told that guy, “We can win $1 million” and he was like, “OK.”
Emily: [Laughs] He was like, “But not me.” He was not ready to give us his phone.
Gold Derby: What were some of your favorite memories?
Emily: It’s hard to pick just one. Certainly from a race perspective, all the things we got to do in Iceland were just incredible. That was a magical day. But my favorite memories were not on camera. It was the time we got to spend with each other at the Pit Stops.
Molly: Absolutely. Giggling, playing card games, watching videos, lamenting about how poorly we did on the previous leg. It was all good fun.
Gold Derby: Have you put together another Ducati since Italy?
Emily: No, but I think I need one. [Laughs]
Molly: And a stick shift. I have not put together a Ducati. I have not really put together anything. I just put up a big Christmas tree in the house. My husband celebrates Christmas, so we decorated it. That was interesting because it was 10 feet tall and I’m 5 feet, so did that.
Gold Derby: I love how in the premiere you said your twinergy was off since you’d recently met, but by the premiere you were finishing each other’s sentences.
Molly: That was so weird.
Emily: People kept telling us through the whole [production] that we’d answer questions in the same way. I didn’t even realize it. So it’s really fun to watch it back and see us say “oh, my God” at the same time.
Molly: There were also multiple moments where we’d be running and we’d be in step with one another. It’s so bizarre to see that.
Gold Derby: What else did you learn about each other going through this?
Molly: We learned that we are capable of a lot more than we thought, just watching her overcome challenges and power through her injury. I think if it were me, I’d be like, “Wow, I’m not performing. I’m not doing well.” I’m just cheering her on and I should be that cheerleader for myself.
Emily: I wouldn’t have been able to do it without her. We provided each with the nurturing and the support that we’ve been lacking for one another.
Molly: Didn’t know it was missing until we actually got together.
Gold Derby: What are you up to now? How often to you get to see each other and hang out? You’re coming up on your second anniversary of meeting soon.
Molly: Yeah, March is our second anniversary. We’ve seen each other twice since the race, including yesterday. I got to attend Emily’s brother’s wedding, so that was the first family even that we got to participate in a celebration together. Ideally in the future we’d like to plan holidays. Obviously we won our trip to Sydney, so we’ll do that and maybe travel to Korea in the next year or so.
Emily: Not maybe. Definitely traveling to Korea. [Laughs]
Molly: Well, maybe not next year, but definitely traveling to Korea. We’ve got busy lives and life gets in the way of living sometime, so we really gotta make a commitment to it, even just having a longer, deeper conversation on the telephone every once in a while.
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