Reality TV

‘Amazing Race 26’ Cast Revealed: NKOTB Member, Olympic Medalist, More

CBS has officially announced the 11 teams that will compete to win the $1 million dollar prize for the 26th Season of The Amazing Race. However, there is a major twist at the heart of this season — with “heart” being the operative word. Six of the duos will be couples who’ve been together for some time, and who’ve had a long-lasting relationship. Meanwhile, the remaining five duos will be comprised of blind daters meeting for the very first time at the starting line.

“Usually we have people who know each other really well. In this particular case, we have five blind dates and six regular dates,” said Bertram van Munster, Co-Creator and Executive Producer of The Amazing Race. “Going on a blind date to a restaurant is one thing, but going on a blind date around the world is like rolling the dice in a big way.”

Further details via the official press release:

The preexisting dating teams traveling around the world include New Kids on the Block member Jonathan Knight and his partner Harley Rodriguez, and Olympic medalists Aly Dudek and Steven Langton. Dudek won bronze at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics in short track speed skating and Langton won two bronze medals at the 2014 Sochi Olympics in bobsledding. Those being set up on the blind dates of a lifetime include a Navy physician and a registered nurse and two lawyers.

The couple’s relationships will be tested right from the starting line as they navigate a muddy obstacle course before jetting off to Tokyo, Japan. The course will continue through Bangkok, Namibia, Monaco, and more, spanning five continents, eight countries and more than 35,000 miles.

The dating teams will also have an opportunity throughout the race to win the all-new “Date Night” reward. This allows one lucky couple to enjoy a one-on-one romantic activity, such as a steamy evening at a hot springs resort in Nagano, Japan, or star-gazing at the Bavarian Public Observatory in Munich, Germany.

Among those competing this season are New Kids on the Block member Jonathan Knight, who will be running the race with longtime boyfriend Harley Rodriguez, and Olympic Bronze Medalist Aly Dudek, who will be competing alongside Olympic Bronze Medalist boyfriend Steven Langton.

The Amazing Race 26 will premiere with a special 90-minute episode on Wednesday, Feb. 25 (9:30-11:00 PM, ET/PT), following the premiere of Survivor: Worlds Apart (8:00-9:30 PM, ET/PT). After the premiere, The Amazing Race will move back to its regular time slot on Friday, Feb. 27 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT).

Check out the complete cast listing below. But first, check out the cast reveal in this video:

'Amazing Race 26' Cast Revealed NKOTB Member, Olympic Medalist, More

Credit: CBS

The Preexisting Dating Couples:

Aly and Steven

Name: Aly Dudek
Age: 24
Hometown: Milwaukee, Wis.
Relationship Status: Dating
Occupation: Olympic Athlete
*won bronze at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics in short track speed skating

Name: Steven Langton
Age: 31
Hometown: Boston, Mass.
Relationship Status: Dating
Occupation: Olympic Athlete
*won 2 bronze medals at the 2014 Sochi Olympics in bobsledding

Length of relationship: 7 months

Harley and Jonathan

Name: Harley Rodriguez
Age: 41
Hometown: New York, N.Y.
Relationship Status: Dating
Occupation: Group Fitness Trainer

Name: Jonathan Knight (@JonathanRKnight)
Age: 46
Hometown: New York, N.Y.
Relationship Status: Dating
Occupation: Entertainer (New Kids on the Block member)

Length of relationship: 7 years

Jeff and Lyda

Name: Jeff Magee
Age: 57
Hometown: McCall, Idaho
Relationship Status: Dating
Occupation: Airline Pilot

Name: Lyda Grawn
Age: 49
Hometown: Scottsdale, Ariz.
Relationship Status: Dating
Occupation: Flight Attendant

Length of relationship: Known 20 years, dating 4 years

C.J. and Lebya

Name: C.J. Harris
Age: 26
Hometown: Tuskegee, Ala.
Relationship Status: Dating
Occupation: IT Technician

Name: Lebya Simpson
Age: 25
Hometown: Tuskegee, Ala.
Relationship Status: Dating
Occupation: Medical Support Assistant

Length of Relationship: Known for 15 years, dating for 10

Matt and Ashley

Name: Matt Cucolo
Age: 30
Hometown: Scarsdale, N.Y.
Relationship Status: Dating
Occupation: Hairstylist

Name: Ashley Gordon
Age: 28
Hometown: Scarsdale, N.Y.
Connection to your teammate: Dating
Occupation: Hairstylist

Length of Relationship: Known 10 years, dating 3 years

Rochelle and Michael

Name: Rochelle Nevedal
Age: 29
Hometown: Kalkaska, Mich.
Relationship Status: Dating
Occupation: Contract Engineer

Name: Michael Dombrowski
Age: 26
Hometown: Traverse City, Mich.
Relationship Status: Dating
Occupation: Truck Stop Manager/Pro Wrestling Promoter

Length of Relationship: 2 years

The Blind Date Couples:

Hayley and Blair

Name: Hayley Keel
Age: 28
Hometown: St. Petersburg, Fla.
Relationship Status: Single
Occupation: Registered Nurse

Name: Blair Townsend
Age: 31
Hometown: Jacksonville, Fla.
Relationship Status: Single
Occupation: Navy Physician

Jackie and Jeffrey

Name: Jackie Ibarra
Age: 27
Hometown: Las Vegas, Nev.
Relationship Status: Single
Occupation: Professional Dancer

Name: Jeffrey Weldon
Age: 26
Hometown: Tampa, Fla.
Relationship Status: Single
Occupation: Account Executive/Sales

Laura and Tyler

Name: Laura Pierson
Age: 29
Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.
Relationship Status: Single
Occupation: Talent Booker

Name: Tyler Adams
Age: 26
Hometown: Santa Monica, Calif.
Relationship Status: Single
Occupation: Mobile App Developer

Jenny and Jelani

Name: Jenny Wu
Age: 32
Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.
Relationship Status: Single­­
Occupation: Blogger and Lawyer

Name: Jelani Roy
Age: 32
Hometown: New York, N.Y.
Relationship Status: Single
Occupation: Lawyer

Bergen and Kurt

Name: Bergen Olsen
Age: 23
Hometown: Sunnyvale, Calif.
Relationship Status: Single
Occupation: Human Resources Project Manager

Name: Kurt Jordan Belcher
Age: 24
Hometown: Butler, Ky.
Relationship Status: Single
Occupation: Pageant Consultant

For individual team profile videos, check out The Amazing Race’s Official YouTube Page.

So what do you think about the cast? Any early predictions for winners or early eliminations? Sound off in the comments!

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