Pop Culture

‘Biggest Loser’: Players train like Olympians

After six weeks of careful workouts under the guidance of trainers Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels, the “Biggest Loser” contestants are stronger, faster and fitter than they’ve been in years. To prove how far they’ve progressed, the contestants were flown east to spend a week working out at the official U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

“These people have done amazing things, so for us to just be here is the chance of a lifetime,” marveled the Pink team’s Sherry when the contestants toured the facility and met with Olympic athletes.

But the new venue also brought new challenges. Host Alison Sweeny explained that this week there would be no teams; everyone was competing as an individual. The player who lost the smallest percentage of body weight at week’s end would fall below a red line and be automatically eliminated. Two additional players would fall below a yellow line and one of them would also be leaving the competition.

For their first challenge, the competitors were introduced to a slideboard, which allowed them to glide back and forth like speed skaters. The first, second and third players to complete 500 slides were promised advantages at the next challenge. Although the Red team’s Melissa had the early lead, she fell, allowing Sam, of the Gray team, to snatch the victory and win a gold medal. Melissa placed second, scoring a silver medal, while the Yellow team’s Sunshine came in third and won the bronze.

At Garden of the Gods State Park in Colorado Springs, the contestants learned that their final challenge would be a running and shooting biathlon. Each time the players finished a lap on the outdoor course, they could shoot at targets marked with their fellow players’ names. Anyone whose target was hit five times was out of the challenge. The last person standing won immunity.

As the first-, second- and third-place winners of the first challenge, Sam, Melissa and Sunshine were each awarded free shots before the contest began. However, when the women teamed up to point all their free shots at Sam, he returned the favor by shooting Melissa’s and Sunshine’s targets. “Our advantage has become a disadvantage,” said Melissa.

But she was in good company, because all of the strongest competitors seemed to have marks on their backs. They were the first players eliminated by the others. The final two players standing were Yellow’s O’Neal and Black’s Darrell, but O’Neal was faster and won immunity from elimination.

Back in California at the ranch, the players sweated through a grueling last chance workout before they weighed in as individuals. A few players continued to exceed expectations: The Orange team’s Daris lost another 9 pounds and set the record for the highest percentage of weight loss in six weeks this season. Green’s Miggy, still recovering from an emergency appendectomy, managed to pull off a 7-pound loss. Gray’s Koli, after suffering a crisis of confidence, still dropped 9 pounds.

On the other end of the scale, Red team’s Melissa, who in the past weeks varied at her weigh-ins so much that trainers Bob and Jillian insisted she was cheating, gained 1 pound this week. As the only player to fail to lose any weight, she fell below the red line and was immediately asked to leave. “I’m going home,” Melissa told her husband and Red team partner Lance tearfully. “Don’t follow me.”

Additionally, the Black team’s Darrell lost just 5 pounds and the Orange team’s Cheryl dropped 3, putting them both below the yellow line. The pair was asked to participate in a final elimination challenge to determine which of them would be going home. Tune in to the next new episode of “The Biggest Loser” to find out whether Cheryl or Darrell was sent home.

Now do you believe that Melissa’s struggle to drop weight consistently was genuine? Weigh in!