Over the course of more than 30 seasons, The Amazing Race has featured many memorable teams who won the global race and went home with a comfy million dollars. Some of those who made it across the finish line earned a place in viewers’ hearts and turned into instant favorites, while others became unforgettable for the wrong reasons. A million dollars came and go, but a positive or negative reputation can last forever!
Time to get racing! Here’s a look back at the race’s most and least deserving champions.
10 Most Deserving: Uchenna and Joyce
Uchenna and Joyce may be the most popular underdogs to ever participate in the race. After an unremarkable first half, the couple made their presence known when Joyce shaved her head to win the eighth leg’s Fast Forward. From then on, the two beat seemingly impossible odds, like begging for money to pay for the taxi fare, to make it to the finish line. Due to their popularity, the duo returned in the All-Stars edition and are the only former winners to do so.
9 Least Deserving: Dana and Matt
Due to the high stakes on the line, arguments between couples in the race are common. That being said, they rarely get as heated as the ones between Dana and Matt. The 28th race’s winners became the season’s signature fighting couple, with their constant confrontations overshadowing their otherwise strong performances. Dana infamously had one of the show’s biggest meltdowns, which ended with her threatening to quit. The two mended ties and eventually won, though fans have had a hard time forgetting what transpired before their victory lap.
8 Most Deserving: Rachel and Dave
When it comes to winning the most in the race, no one can beat Rachel and Dave. The two won eight legs of the race — a series record that has yet to be beaten. Due to his military training, Dave was at times needlessly tough on Rachel, who retaliated with her biting sass. The two were able to settle their disagreements to become the show’s 20th champions. This couple serves as an example of two rather different people using their strengths to compliment the other's weaknesses.
7 Least Deserving: Eric and Danielle
Expectations were high for Eric and Danielle since they were former race contestants, but their past experiences did little to help them. Tensions were always high between the two who obviously didn’t want to work together, with Eric showing little of the skills he had in season nine. The two always narrowly escaped elimination and never won a leg before the finale, making their overall victory feel undeserved to audiences. The fact that they beat fan-favorite duos in the All-Stars race did little to help their case.
6 Most Deserving: Dave and Connor
No other team in the race made a comeback like the ones that the father-son team of Dave and Connor pulled off. The cancer survivors were doing quite well in season 22 but were forced to withdraw due to health concerns. Sadly, life often gets in the way of The Amazing Race.
They returned for the All-Stars edition, which they won after making controversial alliances that irked some viewers. Though they lost some popularity in their second race, the two still remain as one of the show’s most popular teams.
5 Least Deserving: Flo and Zach
The first co-ed team to win didn’t receive much love from viewers thanks to how unlikeable Flo was. As Zach carried the pair, Flo repaid him by constantly screaming while flirting with Drew. After the race, Flo and Drew got romantically involved before breaking up in 2009. Flo has since admitted that the race brought out the worst in her, citing this and Zach’s absence as her reasons for declining the chance to return in the All-Stars season. If nothing else, The Amazing Race seemed to serve as a growing opportunity for Flo. You know, along with winning all that cash.
4 Most Deserving: BJ and Tyler
Dubbed “The Hippies,” the fan-favorite duo reminded audiences that The Amazing Race was a global game to enjoy. As other teams lost their tempers and suffered meltdowns, this fun-loving team always kept their cool and had a joke for every occasion. Their endearing optimism and unwavering sense of humor made their win in season nine even sweeter than it already was. With so much being on the line, couples often end up losing sight of the bigger picture, turning the experience into a bad memory rather than one to be cherished.
3 Least Deserving: Scott and Brooke
No team attracted more heat than the winners of the 29th race, where their victory sparked an intense backlash from fans who threatened to boycott the show in retaliation. Brooke received the most flak for being “annoying,” as she complained about every leg of the race and relied on others to finish challenges for her. Scott didn’t help matters by barely helping his partner, though some praised his patience. To viewers, the heavily disliked pair rode on the coattails of other better teams to make it to the finish line.
2 Most Deserving: Nat and Kat
In a show known for explosive fights and arguments, doctors Nat and Kat broke the mold by quite possibly being the only team to go through the entire cross-country race without fighting each other or anyone else. The race’s first all-female and interracial team champions were also known for their polite attitude and friendliness, making them instant favorites among fans and their fellow contestants.
1 Least Deserving: Freddy and Kendra
While considered to be average-at-best players, the season six champions became the race’s most hated winners by being culturally insensitive at best and outright racist at worst. When in Senegal, Kendra tactlessly complained about how she couldn’t “deal with the poverty” and wondered out loud why the Senegalese wouldn’t stop “breeding.” Later in Berlin, Kendra proclaimed that the German capital was “better than the ghetto third world.” Neither of the two has apologized for these comments.