The first challenge of the show involved having the 16 contestants run one mile, with the winner of the race gaining immunity from the first elimination. It would be hard enough for a lot of out-of-shape folks to run a mile, so the fact that these people (some of them weighing over 400 pounds) completed the race was pretty impressive. But the accomplishment didn't come without a few small disasters. Two of the runners ended up having to be hospitalized at the end of the race, including one of the NC contestants.
Tracey Yukich, a Raleigh native, started the race really strong, sprinting to the lead. Another North Carolinian, Daniel Wright, was perplexed that she was outrunning him, since he'd been working out for the past year and she had not exercised at all. But Tracey soon fell behind and collapsed near the finish line (Daniel won). Unable to stand (she said her legs felt like jelly) Tracey crawled a bit and was eventually helped to the end. That's when she appeared to pass out. We never found out exactly what happened to her, but she was unresponsive and had to be air lifted to a hospital, where she remained for the rest of the week.
Another older contestant, Coach Pops, who has 6 children and 5 grandchildren, also felt light-headed after finishing the race (I probably would have too) and was hospitalized overnight.
Because Coach Pops and Tracey were not present when teams were picked, they ended up on the same team. When Coach arrived at the workouts late, it was up to him to singlehandedly keep their team in the game for another week. And he did. In fact, all of the NC people did really well and will be back next week.
All of the contestants have compelling stories, but nothing really matches the story of Abby, who has to be a fan-favorite already. Abby made everyone break down several times (even that mean ass trainer Jillian) talking about losing her husband and both of her children in a recent car accident. Abby is not only sympathetic, she is extremely likable. She doesn't wallow in self-pity, she somehow seems very strong and determined to take control of her life.
Also this season, one of the other contestants has claimed the dubious honor of being the heaviest person ever on "Biggest Loser" -- Shay, weighing 476 pounds. Shay is on the team with Daniel, so she had immunity this week. But she didn't need it. She lost 17 pounds and Daniel lost 12 pounds, so they came in just over the yellow line.
The losing team was Julio and Alexandra. They each lost 13 pounds and had the lowest combined percentage of weight loss, so one of them had to go. Alexandra felt since Julio weighs 100 pounds more than her, that he should have lost more weight and that he should be the one to go home (I agreed with her). But ultimately, the fact that Julio was 40 years old with little kids helped sway most of the other contestants to keep him. The ones who voted for Alex said they felt she had "a spark" and could finish the job on her own at home. And she's doing well so far -- she's halfway to her goal weight already.
TVGrapeVine has a nice breakdown of the weigh-in weights and losses with percentages if you're into the stats.
Starting next week, our "Biggest Loser" correspondent will be helping us out with recaps. Michelle Aldrich, who also works here at the N&O, is recovering today from a TiVo mishap which caused her to miss last night's show. Our condolences to her and her TiVo.