It’s official: gay couples are back on top in Canada. Boyfriends Sam Lambert and Paul Mitskopoulos triumphed in a competitive final leg of The Amazing Race Canada Season 5, squeaking out a victory over ultimate dudebros Kenneth and Ryan a.k.a. Team Give’r. Best friends Korey and Ivana rounded out the top three teams, all hailing from Ontario. Sam and Paul were the team to beat heading into the finale, having won 5 of 10 legs to that point, including the last 4.
Same-sex couples have now won back-to-back seasons of The Amazing Race Canada. Girlfriends Steph LeClair & Kristen McKenzie won a star-studded finale in season 4 that included former Big Brother Canada contestants Jillian and Emmett as well as Mrs. Universe 2015 winner and Indigenous icon Ashley Callingbull.
Steph and Kristen were fan favorites who charmed audiences with their affectionate and supportive relationship. They’ve remained in the public eye this past year, documenting their travels on Kristen’s popular YouTube channel and hosting the Amazing Race Canada online segment Backseat Drivers. Never shying away from LGBT+ issues, they also organized a meetup with fans at Toronto Pride 2017.
The winners of seasons 4 and 5 share a mutual admiration. In their racer bio, Sam and Paul agreed Steph and Kristen were the team they most related to from previous seasons. Meanwhile, in the latest episode of Backseat Drivers, Steph said Sam and Paul “really deserved the win” with all their consecutive victories in the recent legs.
“They were on a crazy roll,” agreed Kristen, shortly before they picked up the new winners, their special guests in the episode.
The couple’s victory is especially sweet for Paul, who was closeted up until last year. “This race really has changed my life,” he said on the final mat. “Even six months ago, I didn’t want to tell people I was gay. I told my family and friends, but just being in front of all these people and being comfortable with that, being able to talk to everyone and show them ‘this is my boyfriend that I’m in love with,’ I just feel like a different person, I feel liberated. It’s the best feeling.”
“I think the biggest thing that we’ll both take away [from this experience] is that Canada is such an amazing place,” reflected Sam at the conclusion of the season’s aftershow. “It’s a place where you can be exactly who you want to be, no matter what you might think separates you from everyone else, so we’re just thankful to be a part of this amazing country and all the great people within it.”