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spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer May 21, 2009

NTID students inspired by first deaf competitor on ‘Amazing Race’


Luke Adams, an RIT/NTID graduate, and his mother, Margie, competing in a Hawaiian luau challenge during the final leg of this season's The Amazing Race.

Photo courtesy of CBS

RIT/NTID alumnus Luke Adams ’08 (criminal justice) and his mother, Margie, came up short in their quest to win the hit CBS reality drama The Amazing Race. The outcome, which had the pair finishing the race in third place, was revealed May 10 during the program’s season finale.

Adams, 23, of Monument, Colo., became the first deaf contestant in the show’s history. He and Margie were among 11 teams to race during the series’ most recent season, which began airing Feb. 15.

“The first deaf person on The Amazing Race, I’m very proud of that,” said Adams during a post-race interview. “I think deaf people think, oh, a deaf person on The Amazing Race means other deaf people can do the same as me. No matter what, deaf people can do anything.”

Luke and Margie Adams led the remaining teams during the final leg of the competition, which took place in Hawaii, but difficulty with the final challenge, which required teams to match symbols that represented various stages of the race, cost the pair their advantage.

Tammy and Victor Jih, sibling lawyers from California, crossed the finish line in first place and claimed the top prize of $1 million. Cara Rosenthal and Jaime Edmondson, friends and former NFL cheerleaders from Florida, came in second.

More than two dozen deaf and hard-of-hearing students watched the race finale on a captioned television in a lounge in Ellingson Hall at a “Luau Party” courtesy of RIT Residence Life. There was an inflatable palm tree and Hawaiian pizza and the students wore colorful leis to keep in the spirit of the race’s end city, Maui.

The students cheered when Adams and Margie were in the lead and groaned as they were passed on the way to the finish line. Roommates Jimmy Michels and Brendan Wolfert watched the show since the season began in February.

“We were rooting for Luke and his mom every week,” Michels said. “It was sad to see he didn’t win, but it was great that he got to the final three. We definitely felt inspired to try to apply for the race together after seeing that Luke could do so well.”

Michels believes Adams’ performance will inspire others as well. “Luke’s appearance was yet another great example of how deaf people can do anything a hearing person can do and possibly even better if you believe in yourself,” Michels said.

Teams began the race on Oct. 31 in California, and taping continued through Nov. 21. The winners traveled 40,000 miles and visited nine countries.

Paul Stella

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