NBC moved the Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge Season 2 semi finals to Sunday night as a two-hour special. However, as many of you know by now, the program turned out to be the news as NBC producers chose to let NASCAR complete the final lap. Hopefully, this was no indication of things to come as I finally got to watch the replay on NBC.com.
Semi-Final Heat One
Unfortunately, that replay joined the show in progress, leaving only 1:12 left to watch. So we joined heat one in progress at the Human Ladder with Heart of Texas, Stunt Junkies, and the Mathletes. Team HoT was well in the lead as they got to Timber Drop. SJ and the thong crew were tied one obstacle behind.
HoT had one new team member after a quarter-final shoulder dislocation caused a dropout. I lost confidence in the Mathletes as their mutual bonding thong thing was not in the cards this week. But good for them anyway as their one team member’s shoulder dislocation did not stop her from competing tonight.
HoT still led as the other two teams remained tied at the Sled Drag. One-thousand pounds of rock and steel is no joke against five team members. HoT hit the Slip Wall first as SJ and Thong Thing was hot on their heels. But the perfect technique of HoT brought them up and over the wall and across the finish line first. The wild card decided at the Slip Wall as the Stunt Junkies took it in 18:19:40.
Semi-Final Heat Two
Heat two included the Ninjas, Strike a Pose, and Commanding Officers. SaP took the early lead with the Barrel Roll. Table Tilt showed that SaP had learned every technique and they executed flawlessly. Not so for the Ninjas as one of the girls got kicked in the face. SaP sprinted over to the Human Ladder. The Ninjas were in second and on the ladder by the time the CO’s arrived. Ninjas managed to get ahead of SaP but all three teams had dismounted most of their members to exit the obstacle in a near three-way tie.
The Pendulum Carry was the new obstacle this race. A 300-lb weight was navigated across, over, and into various obstacles. Strike a Pose kept up the fast pace and first place going into Timber Drop. They raised the pole in 17.5 seconds, the fastest of the season. The Ninjas and CO’s really struggled on the pole. Meanwhile, SaP moved on to the Spear Throw with a lot of lungs left.
The CO’s were nearly finished the Timber Drop by the time the Ninjas finally got their pole up and over. The Strike a Pose lead shrunk at the Spear Throw with a lot of misses. Veteran elite Spartan Robert Killian nailed his throw, killing 1:13 off the lead. Nevertheless, team SaP seemed hardly sapped as they sprinted through the Sled Pull and slid under the Dunk Wall. They made it to the Slip Wall unchallenged. It seemed only the wild card was in contention at this point.
Again SaP performed flawlessly. Who would have expected any less from models? The CO’s had about 1:30 to steal the wild card. They did it with 7 seconds to spare.
Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge Season 2 Finale
The finals matched up Strike a Pose from heat two, Heart of Texas from heat one, and the wild card Commanding Officers. As the host said about the CO’s, “They lost every battle, but will they win the war?” The smart money was on the undefeated Strike a Pose who never lost a heat.
Apollo Ohno said he looked forward to this race and did not want to see it end. However, it seemed NBC did as they combined the semi’s and finals into one two-hour special on a Sunday night. They left all of about twenty minutes of coverage by the time they got through the human interest stories and got on with the race.
I expected a whole different set of obstacles for this finale but instead, it started with the Barrel Roll with SaP taking the typical lead. In fact, it was a massive lead. The CO’s and HoT were left in the dust as SaP entered Table Tilt.
The Mud Humps was a full-on assault by everybody. No crawling here. Very impressive.
The Tire Swing got a lot more difficult with an added four feet of leaping distance. Team HoT managed to stick the first landing. All the splashes slowed everyone down a lot. But SaP kept up the pressure and made it to the Human Ladder in the lead. The CO’s and HoT were still on the Tire Swing with at least two members each still to make the leap (or should I say “splash”).
Strike a Pose picked up their Pendulum and kept the pace through the mini obstacles. HoT finished the ladder just as the CO’s got on. SaP’s execution on the Timber Drop was again flawless. HoT started showing they were winded at the Timber Drop with a distant second place. But they had the chance to catch up at the ever challenging Spear Toss.
That didn’t happen and SaP started up the Totem Climb alone in first place. Team captain Ian started to smell a repeat victory. Brandon of HoT was the team mainstay nailing two of the three spears which kept them in a solid second.
The Puzzle Pole did not slow down Strike a Pose. They had the I-beam overhead by the time Heart of Texas started assembling. SaP was alone again in the Army Crawl. This onslaught of obstacles was clearly taking its toll on all the teams. Huge kudos to everyone. This was just plain old tough, tough, tough grit, get in the zone, and get it done though. Brandon B. of team HoT commented on my earlier post that we would see this in the semis and finals. These athletes definitely delivered. This competition demanded the fittest, the strongest hearts, and the mentally toughest athletes on the circuit.
SaP was still alone as they got on the Slip Wall. But HoT was close enough behind that SaP had to strike another perfect 10 for technique in order to win. And they all made the final plunge before HoT even got on the wall. Strike a Pose struck hard, fast, and furious throughout this series. They slammed their shield home in celebration. Heart of Texas jumped with hands joined to earn a strong second place. The Commanding Officers finished third.
Seriously? Did Swisher have to drop the mic and take a speechless plunge at the end? I was not entertained.