Phil’s shocking adventure
A well-travelled Phil Keoghan has been rocked by natural disasters, writes Colin Vickery
PHIL Keoghan is in a state of shock. The New Zealandborn host of The Amazing Race had just returned home to the US from earthquake-ravaged Christchurch when news of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami broke.
The tsunami terror was so widespread an alert sounded in Santa Monica on the California coast, the other side of the Pacific, and Keoghan evacuated with his wife Louise and daughter Elle.
The 43-year-old is still shaken when I talk to him.
‘‘ I woke up to a helicopter going over the front of where I live (near the ocean) with a loudhailer asking everybody to move back (to higher ground),’’ Keoghan says.
‘‘ I had somewhat of a plan in terms of evacuating and I got my daughter and my wife and we were out of the house in 15 minutes.
‘‘ It’s interesting the things you worry about in that moment. When you have a choice between protecting each other
‘‘ I’m still trying to digest the footage I’ve seen from Japan and I don’t know how to describe what I saw,’’ Keoghan says. ‘‘ The destruction — I can’t comprehend it. It’s of biblical proportions.
‘‘ If there is anything positive to come out of these disasters, it is the resolve of the people — their resilience and determination. I’m amazed how, in both places, people have decided, ‘ You can knock over a building but you can’t knock over our spirit’.’’
The current series of The Amazing Race — the 18th — is titled Unfinished Business.
In it 11 teams of two, who were in previous series, are given a second chance to win the $1 million prize.
Australia featured in the second episode with a stop at Manly’s Oceanworld.
Returning teams include Zev and Justin from season 15, who were eliminated when they lost their passports.
LaKisha and Jen, from season 14, lost out after a badly timed restroom break.
Kent and Vyxsin, from season 12, ran into trouble in Tuscany as they didn’t know how to drive a manual car.
‘‘ We said, ‘ OK, you guys have been pitching a lot of excuses. You want another chance? We’ll give you another chance’,’’ Keoghan says.
‘‘ That means there is a lot of pressure on them all.’’
Planning for the 19th series has begun but Japan, facing a radiation scare, is off the list and the recent uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt (featured in series five and six) would seem to rule them out as well.
As recent events have shown, the world is a constantly changing place. Keoghan is proud The Amazing Race tries to present a balanced view of the countries it visits.
‘‘ When you see countries on the news, they are often depicted in a negative way because of political unrest, a disaster or people suffering,’’ Keoghan says. ‘‘ It’s a very different representation of the world that we are able to show — where people are loving and there is kindness and humour and fun.
‘‘ We show the world off — celebrate the world in a way that is unusual for network prime time television.’’ The Amazing Race, 7mate, Sunday, 6.30pm
says host Phil Keoghan.
Try again: Racers get a second chance in the new series of Amazing Race,